For our second NBL takeover of the 2018/19 season, Oaklands Wolves will be taking over the NBL Instagram story on Saturday 20 & Sunday 21 October.
We caught up with Wolves' Coach Will Twigg ahead of their takeover weekend, for our latest Coach Spotlight feature.
Name: Will Twigg
Team: Oaklands Wolves - Under 16 Girls (North Premier)
What brought you into coaching?
As a young person I enjoyed playing basketball. However, as I gained experience in the sport I felt my talent and passion was for coaching. It soon become apparent to me that I wanted to make a career in this occupation and my ambition is to work within the NBA organisation. The choice to coach reflects my enthusiasm for working with people, together with the sport I love.
What were your original thoughts when you moved into coaching?
My coaching journey started at the age of 11 where I took up an opportunity to assist with the Under 8 session once a week. From there I gained a passion for helping others to be the best they can be, whilst also helping them to become a good team player. Being a coach is not only having the responsibility of teaching the game but more importantly you are making sure athletes understand the difference between right and wrong, developing both good attitudes and skills that help them in life.
What did you find most interesting to learn as a coach?
My passion for coaching is based on the aspects of problem solving and overcoming challenging situations whether they are from a technical or a people management aspect. These challenges help others, but I also believe help to make me a better coach and person at the same time.
What was the most rewarding part of your coaching journey so far?
2018 has been a rewarding year for me as a Coach. There have been a number of milestone events in my journey this year. Firstly, taking a team of 15 Under 12 Girls and developing their game for the past two and a half years, which culminated in winning a Junior Final Four title.
Last season I also had two great opportunities working over the summer in the USA. These have allowed me to broaden my own experiences and demonstrate my coaching skills with the Cleveland Cavaliers organisation at their academy and at the renowned Don Showalter Snow Valley skills performance camp in Iowa.
I have been extremely fortunate to work with a wide number of coaches from many institutions ranging from Community College to Division One, in addition to members of staff from NBA teams. Networking on this scale is invaluable in sharing and gaining knowledge; I see the links forged will help my future aspirations in my career.
How did your coaching qualifications help you in your coaching?
I was able to take my UKCC Level 2 coaching qualification at the age of 17. I was supported by another qualified coach who sat with me while I was Head Coach for Under 13 boys. This gave me the evidence and experience to achieve this qualification. The qualification has helped with my recognition within the basketball community and has been an important element relating to my opportunities and development as a coach.
At 18 I successfully applied to attend the National Youth Coaching Academy held at Loughborough University which provided a great opportunity to network with other young coaches and practitioners on a larger scale.
This led to me being invited to assist the Head of Coaching Development for Basketball England at Regional Development Tournaments, assisting at the Under 14 BE Together summer camp, presenting at the Youth Sport Trust Talent Camp and coaching at the Under 17 England girls’ training camp.
My experience with regional teams has included the Under 15 Boys East team in 2016 and 2017, and the Under 15 Girls East team in 2018.
Where are you now? How are you using your coaching skills?
I started coaching for Oakland Wolves in 2015 whilst at Hertfordshire University where I successfully completed my Foundation Degree in Sport Studies.
With Oakland Wolves over the past 3 seasons I have had the opportunity to experience the tutorship of Mark Bennet’s PDS coaching system. This is a significant part of my approach to coaching and one which I currently use with my team who will play in Under 16 Girls Premier this season. I will also be working with the WBBL as an assistant coach continuing on from last year.
What is your coaching niche and why did you choose it?
I build my coaching success on two aspects, developing the right culture in the team and setting non-negotiable high standards within the team. This is not just based on the players own performance but ensuring that players hold each other accountable for the overall team performance. My experience has shown this builds bonding and adhesion in the team, developing good attitudes and overall performance.
What is your coaching vision for the next two years?
In the next two years I hope to make further progress by gaining more work experience in the USA and by being part of programs that develop young people in basketball. I want to bring these experiences back to the UK; I believe it will have a positive effect on my coaching practices. While in the USA I will take the opportunity to increase my network to further increase my chances of fulfilling my ultimate goal of coaching full-time in America.
What is your favourite coaching question from athletes?
My most common and favourite question that basketball players ask is ‘How do I improve’. I also believe this is the most important question a player can ask. It is the basis for the beginning of a journey for the coach and player to develop the skills and attitudes that will lead to making them a better player.
What advice do you have for those coaches currently in training?
Being a coach means to me someone who has high values, believes all people have potential and helps them to realise it. Sport is just one medium providing the vehicle to achieve personal goals. Someone who is considering being a coach should always ‘give it a go’ and seriously reflect on the experience to ensure it is right for them. If you make the decision to become a coach and take the leap as an occupation, realise being a coach is always about improving yourself in the role as your own development is a continuous journey.
What legacy would you like to leave behind you?
The legacy I would like to leave behind is twofold: the first is to show that a people with dyslexia do not need to be ‘show stoppers’, instead be persistent and overcome your disadvantage to achieve your ambitions, whatever they may be. Then as a coach that I have had a positive impact in people’s lives and to be remembered for it.
You can follow Coach Twigg's progress this weekend as Oaklands Wolves takeover the NBL Instagram stories!