Basketball England is pleased to announce another member of the Team England support staff for next April’s Commonwealth Games in Mark Lloyd, who will take up the post of Team Manager for the Men’s side.
The appointment helps to mark the 20th year that Mark has been involved in the Management and Coaching staff of both England and Great Britain National Teams. During that time, he has had the pleasure of crossing paths with a young Drew Sullivan (as well as being on the bench when he won his 100th GB cap) and current star Dan Clark as he worked his way up through the Performance Pathway.
"I’m both extremely happy and proud to be appointed to the staff of the England Commonwealth Games Team,” said Lloyd. “With the support of Basketball England and Sport England we have been able to put together a programme that will give the players and staff the opportunity to achieve great things at next year’s Games.”
As an often overlooked member of a team’s staff, Mark relished the challenges that come with being at the top end of the sport and helping to support those around him. "A day in the life of a Team Manager is never the same as the last. That is what makes it both so enjoyable and challenging as a job,” he said. “As Team Manager you are always functioning in the present but your mind is focussing and anticipating on what is happening next. You can plan everything from top to bottom, but a curve ball of a trip to the hospital, local embassy, passport office or airline company is never far away!”
Away from his Team Manager duties, Mark is a successful Head Coach for the University of Essex Blades
For Mark, the main challenge he faces each time he takes up a Team Manager position remains the same, “Stay calm under pressure” said Lloyd. “It’s a matter of being able to prepare to 'control the controllable' but having the experience and composure to react to the unpredicted challenges that are thrown at you.
Nothing typifies that more than when the final buzzer sounds at the end of a game, regardless of the result. Mark would say this is one of the most stressful parts of the role, and it isn’t hard to see why. “Once a game ends, you are immediately responsible for people who are going off everywhere! There will be the coach and a player having to go to a press conference, other players will be needed in the general media zone as well. Anti-doping may be taking another couple, the medical team may also be dealing with injuries, other players and coaches are either elated or deflated by the result and will be trying to talk to family and the crowd,” said Lloyd. “There will be demands for autographs and not forgetting the background security aspect to it all (and your phone is probably going off constantly in your pocket with people needing things from back in the UK!). You need to ensure that everybody and all equipment are back at the locker room, don't forget the score sheet and make sure the bus is ready to go back to the hotel!”
Despite the occasional stresses of the job, it is a highly rewarding position. In Mark’s case, he was primed for the role from a young age. “My first management post was twenty years ago. Prior to that my father was an international Team Manager and previous Director of National Teams. I remember as a youngster helping him pack kit and watch him prepare travel documentation and meeting players and coaches. It's been in my blood.”
For anyone wanting to emulate Mark and follow in his footsteps as a Team Manager at the top level, he has some important advice. “You need to develop a knowledge of all the specialist areas of the people you work with so that you can support them in the best way possible. I’m a coach myself but when I switch to being a Team Manager it is imperative that I understand what the coaches are going through at any particular time. It’s the same with medical, strength and conditioning staff, sport psychology support, anti - doping, FIBA and governing body administrators. The more I know, the more I can help.
Mark and the rest of the Team England Men’s side will be heading out to Australia in late March before their first game of the tournament against Scotland on 5 April 2018. They’ll then follow that up with games against India and Cameroon.
Photo credit Basma Alhashimi