While the Annual Referee and Instructor Clinic on Gran Canaria clinic mainly serves the purposes of "pedestrian Basketball", 2011 was a good time to also involve one of the partner organisations of FIBA Europe, the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation IWBF.
The president of the Technical Commission of IWBF, Norbert Kucera, was present in Gran Canaria and took some time to give his thoughts on the event.
FIBA Europe: What did you like best about the National Instructor and Referee Clinic?
Norbert Kucera: I especially liked how friendly and collegiate I was welcomed to the FIBA Europe family.
Concerning the content of the lectures, everything was of great interest for me. If I had to name anything specifically, I would choose the presentations on Education and Evaluation, the lectures on the teaching materials, "what is coaching" and "Energy and Communication"
FIBA Europe: What do you think are the areas in which you can profit most from the techniques of officiating used in Basketball?
Norbert Kucera: First, there are many new impulses in "pedestrian's" basketball about how to build up structures to improve and maintain the education of referees. We are watching closely and try to adapt some of those for the IWBF.
What is more, the technical developments like the observer programme and the online platform (for referees and instructors) are great tools. My federation will from now on use the observer programme in all big tournaments.
FIBA Europe: On the other hand, are there aspects that you can transfer to FIBA Europe?
Norbert Kucera: Yes, I think so. In terms of referee techniques, we are, for example working with the three person technique since 1997 in all relevant tournaments. Following the tactics of wheelchair basketball, we have to put a lot more attention on off-ball situations. This has to be taught additionally. In basketball the referees tend to be a little too focused on what is happening on the ball.
FIBA Europe: How exactly and with which frequency will you use the observer programme?
Kucera: As the president of the Technical Commission of IWBF I represent the world federation. Thanks to the good relations to IWBF Europe I could attend the clinic of FIBA Europe on Gran Canaria. So basically I was wearing two hats. The observer programme will be used in Europe with immediate effect. as early as in August at the Division C European Championship and at Division A in Israel.
At an instructor clinic taking place in Canada in July, all instructors worldwide will be taught how to use the programme. We will then use it for the U25 World Championship which is taking place at the same time and place.
Looking into the near future, the IWBF will for sure need two licenses and each of the zones (same as in FIBA) will need one in addition. Due to the bigger number of official games in Europe I foresee a much higher need here. I also know about the interest of some national federations like Germany and I suspect that the need for additional licenses will be much higher once the user-friendly but highly effective use of the programme becomes more known.
FIBA Europe: What are the advantages of the programme?
Norbert Kucera: First and foremost the easiness and user friendliness of the programme. You don't need to study informatics to successfully make first steps after only a few minutes.
It is compact and ready to use with only few technical requirements.
Another advantage is the possibility to adapt the programme easily to changing needs by simply adding some more categories. You can see that I am really excited about it.
FIBA Europe: Can the cooperation between FIBA Europe and IWBF be extended?
Norbert Kucera: I really hope so! For a start, we will exactly define our need and then purchase the corresponding number of licenses. What is more I am quite sure that Antonio Ojeda and his team are already working on the development of further tools.