Last weekend's 3rd FIBA Europe Seminar for National Federations was a chance for officials from across the continent to get together and share ideas on how to better grow and maintain the sport of basketball across Europe.
One of those on hand was the Secretary General of the Estonian Basketball Federation Karel Loide. After wrapping up the first day of presentations and working groups Mr. Loide sat down with FIBA Europe to answer a few questions.
FIBA Europe: How many seminars have you been to, and what do you learn here that you can take back and use in Estonia?
Mr. Loide: This is my second seminar for national federations. I think you find examples of all topics because it covers a lot, but this year the seminar is a little different if I compare it to the first one (that I attended). The first one gave a lot of examples from outside of basketball, but this year its more exchanging ideas between different federations and it's also good because of course we regularly meet and talk with certain federations close to our region, but we don't have many chances to interact with federations in other parts of Europe.
FIBA Europe: Do you prefer one way of doing things more than the other?
Mr. Loide: Not at all, it's just different, but good. You know it's positive because you learn new things and see things differently, but on the opposite side the countries may be too different. You cannot implement all the ideas that work in other countries. Sometimes the things that work in a big country don't work in a smaller country, but it is still useful because you get a different perspective, and you can pick ideas from both sides and try to use that.
FIBA Europe: What are some of the unique challenges you face in promoting and growing the sport of basketball in Estonia?
Mr. Loide: For us it's, I wouldn't say unique, but a different situation from the other countries. In Estonia basketball is very popular. It is one of the most watched sports, and in the top three that people are participating in. For example the Estonian National League had an average of 1,000 fans per game and that includes some really small cities. The local football league on the other hand has an average of 142 fans.
FIBA Europe: So you don't have to sell the game, people already love it.
Mr. Loide: Estonians really love basketball so the question for us is how to use the limited amount of resources and people we have because we are such a small country to have everyone work towards the same goal. We have discussed it amongst ourselves many times here that in most countries the federations has a long term goal and the teams have a short term goal. It's the fight that we have to consistently battle out to be successful because in some big countries you can have the luxury of not having a really big national team program, but if you have 500,000 or a million people playing basketball some talent will eventually emerge. In a country like Estonia on the other hand the small amount of talent you find has to be polished and grown so it is even more important that we work with the clubs in the same direction.
FIBA Europe: Thanks for sitting down with us and good luck.
Mr. Loide: Thank you.