London Coaches Program: Three lucky coaches enjoy Paris NBA experience

London Coaches Program recruits Filip Fiedorowicz, Rovel Yakobe and Shantell Ayton have been in Paris for a Jr. NBA coaches clinic, hosted in the French capital in the build up to the NBA Paris Game 2024.

The Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers went head-to-head last night (11 January) at the Accor Arena, with Donovan Mitchell scoring a season-high 45 points to help the Cavs beat the Nets 111-102.

From the 8-10 January, the NBA put on a variety of coaching clinics, including workshops from Dan Geriot (Cleveland Cavaliers), Will Weaver (Brooklyn Nets), Vincent Collet and Cathy Melain (French National Team) and Christophe Denis (Paris Basketball), all taking an in-depth look at coaching techniques and team development.

As well as learning from some of the world’s best coaches, Fiedorowicz, Yakobe and Ayton rubbed shoulders with NBA and WNBA superstars, including Mitchell, Ben Simmons, Lonnie Walker IV, Tristan Thompson and Sabrina Ionescu.

“It’s the best way I could have started off 2024,” said Fiedorowicz.

“From ex-pros to current pros to people who work behind the scenes of the NBA, it's been an interesting experience to learn their different stories, where they came from how they got to where they are today. And for me to take that knowledge and to incorporate that into my life and my coaching.

“This week has helped me learn to be a lot more confident in my own voice as a coach. One of the most important elements and hallmark of being a great and successful coach.”

Filip Fiedorowicz with Donovan Mitchell

Love the game of basketball

Yakobe called the London Coaches Program an ‘incredible experience’ that has given him opportunities to meet and work with world class basketball coaches, domestically with the London Lions and now internationally through the NBA.

“I have learnt so much this week in terms of basketball coaching skills, like being a lead coach on the court, which has helped my self-confidence, as well as soft skills that we need in our daily life.

“Coaches are the light for the kids on the court and we need to be positive, have a smile, high five, and always bring that energy and motivation that keeps young kids motivated and playing and loving the game of basketball.”

Shantell Ayton with Sabrina Ionescu, who beat the all-time 3-point contest record for NBA and WNBA

Dreams into reality

Lastly, Ayton said that the clinic has helped her understand how to better communicate and interact with children.

“Being on the London Coaches Program means a lot to me and has allowed me to develop my skills and have great experiences with new people.

“It felt great to meet the WNBA and NBA players because I’ve looked up to them. Meeting them was dreams into reality.”

The three-year program run in conjunction with the NBA and the Mayor of London is delivering development, training, and coaching opportunities for 500 new community coaches in London aged 16-30.

Participants receive a 12-month education and training program, covering all the elements needed to become a great coach both on and off the basketball court.