The NBL Weekend Takeover for 26/27 January will see City of Edinburgh Kings take the reins of the NBL Instagram story.
We caught up with Kings' Coach Craig Nicol ahead of their takeover weekend, in our latest Coach Spotlight feature.
Name: Craig Nicol
Team: City of Edinburgh Kings
What brought you into coaching?
I started coaching when I was 16 working with U12s and U14s. I was injured and unable to play for the U18s for a while so our coach got me in coaching so that I was still involved with basketball and it all took off from there!
What were your original thoughts when you moved into coaching?
I realised quickly that I wasn’t very good as a player! Coaching was initially a way for me to stay involved in the game and then as I developed it became a way for me to compete at a much higher level than I ever would be able to as a player.
What did you find most interesting to learn as a coach?
I found that scouting and video work has been one of the most interesting aspects of coaching that I have learned about. Especially with the way technology and software is now the amount of valuable information you can get from doing game review or scouting other teams with different styles and philosophies there is so much to learn.
What was the most rewarding part of your coaching journey so far?
I have been very fortunate to have been able to travel the world to many different countries because of basketball for tournaments and European Championships, but the most rewarding by far must be representing Scotland at Commonwealth Games 2018 in Gold Coast Australia. It was a long term goal for me to make it to the games and I was very proud to represent Scotland on such a stage.
Which parts of coaching do you like the most?
I like the continual challenge of helping develop players to reach their goals. Whether that be from national team representation or simply getting to play more minutes in their individual teams every player has different goals and the challenge to help them get to where they want to be is what I find most rewarding.
Where are you now? How are you using your coaching skills?
I have been coaching with City of Edinburgh Basketball Club for the past 6 seasons. I have also been working with national teams for a very long time now previously with Scotland U16 and U18 teams and since the merge in 2017 have been working with James Vear and the U16 Great Britain team. We have set up the first basketball academy in Scotland at Edinburgh College which allows me to work with our players daily and maximise their time on court training and competing.
What is your coaching niche and why did you choose it?
Our teams have a track record of being amongst the best defensive teams in their respective competitions and I take great pride in being able to formulate plans on defending different actions and styles that we come up against.
What is your coaching vision for the next 2 years?
Our challenge for the next 2 years is to continue to grow within our current environment after our recent promotion to U16 and U18 Premier North competitions. We left Scotland to seek tougher competition and the move south of the border has really helped us develop. We want to establish ourselves in the Premier competition and compete to the highest level that we can.
What is your favourite coaching question from athletes?
I like being challenged by players. If you develop smart basketball players, they are going to ask smart challenging questions. It is hard to say I have any one question that is a favourite but anything that challenges my thought process.
What advice do you have for those coaches currently in training?
Get out and experience as many different coaching environments as you can from youth teams to senior teams both male and female. You will always pick up bits of information that you can use to help shape your coaching style. Don’t try to be anyone else, there is no one specific way to coach. Be yourself and take the best bits from coaches you admire and fit them to your own style.
What legacy would you like to leave behind you?
I would like everyone I have worked with both players and coaches to have enjoyed our basketball experience and hope that I have helped them reach their desired goals.
You can follow Coach Nicol's progress this weekend when City of Edinburgh Kings takeover the NBL Instagram story!