Interview with Tom Kries, Head coach of our Seniors Girls team. Tom talks about his first impressions of Sparta after he took over in December and shares his opinion of Luxembourgish Girls Basketball. Thank you for your time Tom.
1. How are you spending your basketball-free time during the Corona break and how is the contact with the team?
TK: I didn’t really have a lot of basketball-free time because I was preparing the start of next season, I was looking for new US players, had some phone-meetings with members of the Sparta management. When after all this, I had free time, I was just sitting with my wife on our terrace relaxing and drinking a good glass of wine. With the team I was always in contact on Whats-App. I was sending them individual athletic programs. We started running practice together last week, respecting the sanitary rules.
2. You took over as a coach during last season and finished early. What was your impression of our girls during the last season?
TK: The first impression I had when I took over the team in December was, that they were not organized at all on the floor and that they had no self-confidence. I tried to work on both, and I think we improved. What I have to say is that they always tried to give their best on the floor, during practice and games.
3. What is your goal with the team next season and where do you the Sparta girls on a long term?
TK: Our goal for the next season is trying to make every girl better, to win more games than last season. For the future, our goal is and should be, to build a team that can be in 3-4 years under the top 4 teams in the league.
4. How do you see girls’ basketball in Luxemburg in general?
TK: In general, I have the feeling that the level is getting worse over the last years than it was in the past. The first problem I think, is that we have today too many young girls in our teams, everybody wants to play with 16-17 years in the first team and a lot of girls are mentally and physically not ready for that. The second problem is, that a lot of girls stop playing before 27-28 years. That’s very frustrating in my eyes, because specially girls gonna have their best performance after 28 years and they can perform without problems until 34-35 years. I think in a lot of teams, there is missing the balance between old and young players, experience and youth exchange.
5. Would it be the right way if all the teams would play with only 1 pro player?
TK: For me 2 pro players per team is the best solution.
6. What are your impressions of the development of Sparta girls youth teams?
TK: Not only for the young girls, but also for the young boys from Sparta, the youth development is a big organization with the right idea behind, if you wanna still play in the future in the top league with your 1st Teams. I was impressed to see how the organization works. It’s not just the work on the floor but also behind. The coaches are doing an amazing job on the floor and the management off the court. The downside of this youth development program for Sparta is, that Sparta is probably doing 70-75% of the job for other clubs in Luxembourg because they cannot bring every year 2,3 or 4 players to their 1st teams. So, players gonna leave you to play in different clubs.
7. What skills are important for young girls who want to join the first ladies team?
TK: First of all, for me young players have to have a great work ethic and to understand, that basketball is a team sport and not a one man show. I think that in todays’ basketball, the two most important skills, no matter what position you play, are shooting and athletic ability.
8. Who was the best player you ever coached and why?
TK:The best players I ever coached, on the women’s side, are Kris Bernath and Katie Davis and on the men’s side Mike Feyder and Jarvis Williams. All these players had a great work ethic, were amazing shooters and they were making their teams better.