55 Days to Go

To mark 55 days until the XII FIMBA European Championships in Pesaro, Italy, we sat down with Coach Des Williams to discuss the +55 men’s team.

It’s been a whirlwind two years for +55 Men’s head coach, Des Williams. One minute he’s sat at home gaining weight and getting old, then he found himself playing in Malaga with new friends, then Portugal with even more new friends and now he’s facing his second European Championships, but this time as a coach and not a player.

Coaching the FIMBA GB +55 Men is an honour that I’m still trying to grasp and I’m sure the realisation will happen the moment I take the first game. There are some people that will say International Masters basketball isn’t the same as FIBA International basketball, the Masters community will disagree. I never realised that the Masters game was so large, professionally run and taken so seriously. Once you scratch the surface of the international scene, you soon realise that we are a small selection of the chosen few who can put the shirt on with pride.

Coach Williams

Coach Williams has set himself high standards and expectations and, after watching the Masters World Cup in Croatia, believes that FIMBA GB has one of the best +55 men’s teams. Looking to improve on their 12th place finish at the last Euros in Malaga, Coach Williams admits anything less would be a failure on him rather than the players.

There cannot be any excuses, we represent FIMBA GB and will put our skills on show in front of thousands of people, including our families. Every single player should leave the tournament knowing they put everything into it and got more out of it, in terms of self-development, friendships and fun.

Coach Williams

One of Coach Williams’ biggest takeaways from Malaga was the sense of friendship and togetherness, a group of men that barely knew each other had a great time off court, worked very hard on it and made lifelong friendships. In order to ensure that ethos, culture and feeling spread Coach Williams has joined the +50 and +55 Men training sessions, communication channels and social media, which has led to one BIG balling family.

The atmosphere in training is excellent, with everyone having a drive and desire to improve, have fun and win games.

Coach Williams

As the Europeans get closer, Coach Williams is well aware that some tough decisions will have to be made regarding starting fives, bench rotations etc.

Taking a step back from the social side is hard as they are a great bunch of guys, but our captains are true leaders and I have every faith in their team management skills to settle nerves and frustrations. I live by the maxim that a good coach will not need to poach, beg or plead to recruit players as they will find him and come automatically. The same goes with retaining players, a good coach will always have players wanting to stay. So, the true test for me is not only improving our previous results but seeing how many players stay for the World’s.

Coach Williams

The off-court chemistry and relationships can be just as important to help form the team togetherness and the players have shown great dedication to the team and have travelled around the country to train and play games in preparation for Pesaro. The +55 Men have also played numerous friendlies against teams with a variety of skills sets in preparation for the different styles they will face in Pesaro.

Preparing the players for the high standard that they will face in Pesaro, has been a key focus for the coaching staff. We have used a variety of methods, so the players have been able to prepare for the training sessions as well as the tournament.

Coach Williams