Miguel Vaquero is the new head coach of the British women’s national team. In the Rollt interview, the Spaniard talks about his own professional standards and the professionalism of the British association. The former coach of CD Ilunion Madrid also talks about his plans for next year’s World Cup and his reasons for accepting the job as national coach.
Why did you decide to coach the GB Women?
“I think everyone knows that GB is one of the strongest wheelchair basketball nations in Paralympic sport. I’ve coached at CD Ilunion Madrid, and I had a great time there, facing many challenges and learning a lot. This is now a new chapter in my professional coaching career. I am a person who wants to get better year after year. This project will challenge me and make me a better coach. So basically, this opportunity to go to the UK is a big challenge for me and I would also say it’s a good opportunity to develop as a wheelchair basketball coach.”
What do you hope to bring to the team?
“Mainly my experience and knowledge. This year is my 15th year of coaching wheelchair basketball. I have some experience competing internationally, so I think I can bring a new perspective to wheelchair basketball. Wheelchair basketball changes every year and I feel I can bring new content and new ideas to the game.”
How would you best describe your coaching style?
“I like my coaching to be professional, I always enjoy being in a professional environment, so I will always strive to be professional, act professional, play professional. In terms of basketball on the court, I obviously like defence, but I think we need to work on our offense and attack as well. I like learning about the group of people I’m coaching and drawing from their knowledge. I think with this group, I’ll be working with them on offense, offensive rotation, and aggressive intensity.”
Having been in the job for a few months now, what impressed you most about the GB programme?
“Professionalism. Here it is perfect for coaching. Many people in charge help not only the players, but also the coaches. That’s something we often forget in this process: yes, it’s the players who have to find a way to win the next game, but we also have to help the coaches to be successful. So, what impresses me the most is the way they support coaches and how everyone is involved in delivering results, so the coaches feel good too.”
Time out: Miguel Vaquero with Team GB in Lobbach (Germany) – Photo: Uli Gasper
What plans are there to prepare the team for the upcoming World Championships?
“We have a change as you know the World Championships have been postponed. So, we’re adjusting the plan. We’re fortunate to have more coaching and training time and more than one camp a month to ensure we arrive at the World Championships in the best possible condition.”
What are your hopes for the World Championships?
“To win of course. Basketball is the biggest and greatest sport, but professionally we’re always looking to win. We must have that winning mentality, think about winning, from now on we’re going to focus on winning in every single game, in every single training session and in every single tournament. It’s the only thing we need to keep in our minds.”
How does coaching a national team differ from coaching a professional club team?
“I’ve been coaching every single weekend of my life since I was 15, so maybe this will be the first few months between September and December that I won’t be coaching a game every weekend. I think that’s the biggest difference. Not having a game every weekend is new to me right now. So, I can use the time to focus on preparing for the training camps and following the girls playing on their teams. It also gives me more time to learn from other coaches, learn about different types of coaching and become the best coach I can be.”
Now for some general questions, first of all who has influenced you the most in your coaching career?
“Many coaches have influenced me in my career, for example as a player. But, I’ve been influenced by many coaches everywhere and I can’t say there is one in particular.”
What’s the best advice another coach has given you?
“A coach who was coaching Getafe at the time gave me very good advice that I will always remember: you have to follow what you think is right because you are responsible for what you do. The second-best advice came from my brother: It’s important to know what you want, but even more important to know what you don’t want.”
If you could coach three players you’ve never coached before, who would you choose and why?
- “Phil Pratt, I think he’s a good player, he’s good at picking things up, a player who’s developing a lot.
- Özgür Gürbulak, a good challenge, a good player with a great character. It would be a big challenge for me to coach him and see how he understands and feels the game.
- Rose Hollermann, she is a very good player. I saw her a lot when I was the coach of CD Ilunion. It would be a good challenge to train her at some point.”
Thanks for your time, Miguel, I really appreciate it!
Interview: Dylan Cummings | Foto: Uli Gasper