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Interview #1 Head Coach Pascal Meurs

Pascal Meurs answered some questions during the corona lockdown and speaks about the current situation, the team and the Sparta family.

1) Pascal, can you describe how you are spending your time during this corona break and how is the contact at the moment with your team?

Well, these times are bizar and new to all of us. In the first place I’m making sure my family doesn’t have to leave their houses for groceries etc. But I also breath basketball and can’t go without. So I use these times to catch up with some reading, watching basketball clinics, analyzing games and players.

The contact with the team is limited at this moment. And that’s a conscious choice. All players received an individual S&C program and know that they can reach me at any point, but I won’t take the initiative on a daily base. I know how demanding the season can be in combination with a full-time job and or studies. So I think this period is crucial for everybody to refresh their mind with different people and to prevent any mental fatigue.

2) You joined Sparta in January and won 6 games in a row to start. What did you change to make the team win during that difficult period?

When I arrived, there was very little time to turn everything upside down. I reminded them why they fell in love with the most beautiful game in the world. And in return they showed to be a very hungry team that wants to work hard every practice. And we discovered that the key to success is playing together, with a defined role for everybody on the court. The credit for the winning streak goes completely to the players. They proved to be able to turn this difficult situation around. And that’s an important lesson for the future for this young group.

3) What are your goals with the Senior Team next year?

First of all, I’m proud to be part of a club that wants to think on the longer term. We have a young and talented team with players that have been in the club for a longer time. In the first place our biggest goal for the upcoming season is to make a next substantial progression, for each player individual but also as a team. It’s too soon to translate this goal into a number of victories, since our roster isn’t finalized yet and we don’t know yet how the league will look like upcoming season. But for sure, our main focus will be on our own team and on the progression we can make. Every single day we want to become a little bit better.

4) Chris Wulff will join you again as an assistant coach next season. Some words about your work together with Chris?

Chris and I were already a tandem for two seasons and I know what he brings to the table. Therefore I’m very delighted to team up with him again. His comeback to Sparta is very positive for the future of the club, for the youngsters that want to make the next step towards the Total League and last but not least also for the Men A team.

5) How would you describe your basketball philosophy? What is the most important for you as a coach?

As a coach, I want to install the type of basketball that I like to watch as a fan. Offensively, I like fast paced style where the ball moves fast and the danger can come from everybody. At any point, I want to give up a good shot for a better shot with an extra pass. All five players on the court have a role, and I don’t like the ball to be isolated in the hands of one player. But even more important is that everybody shows the hardest working version of himself from the moment he steps in between the lines. Give everything you have on both sides of the floor. Don’t hold back to play the full 40 minutes, because we have a teammate ready for you to sub in.

6) What is your first impression of Sparta as a club and structure? (Seniors-youth-fans-volunteers-…)

Whenever you walk into the gym of Atert, you feel the love for the game. I love to see so many kids and young adults with a smile on their face around a basketball court, every single night. That’s only possible because of the hard work of so many volunteers behind the scenes. All those kids dream to play one day for the first team of Sparta. And because of the longer term philosophy of the club, they will have their chance if they put in the work. I also had the pleasure to experience how the Spartinaikos fans boosted our team. Together with our guys we’re hyped up to give something back to all those volunteers, fans, kids, … Our common goal is to show a fighting spirit that will fill Atert even more!

7) What are the most important skills that a young player needs when he joins the Senior team?

Probably there’s no club in the country that gives you a better opportunity to make it to the Total League than Sparta. But a player has to earn it, it’s not given. And that doesn’t go without commitment, on and off-court. There’s no key player in the league that made it by cutting the corners, by choosing the easy way, through using excuses.

Defensively, this commitment should translate in being the best version of yourself in every drill, in every possession. Be the hardest worker in defense in the gym, day by day.

Offensively, youngsters should focus first on making the ball move and being able to knock down the open shots. It’s still the most important skill on the court: shooting. No matter which position you play on the court.

As a final message, I do want to wish the whole Sparta family to stay healthy and safe! I’m excited to see each one of you very soon, near or on the court! GO SPARTA!

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