By Kimiya Shokoohi
It’s not about coming in with a big white board – the technical strategies scribbled in red.
It’s about letting those strategies develop accordingly with your players, said Dan Nayebzadeh, Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s new women’s basketball coach.
“My on-court system all depends on the player,” Nayebzadeh said about his coaching style. “I guess I’m kind of like ‘you can reshape and mould me to whatever the team is.’”
Nayebzadeh’s concentrated style stems from his own experience on the sports field.
The North Shore native grew up with soccer and basketball. Somewhere along the way, Nayebzadeh found a new life passion: teaching. While in the education program at UBC, he was required to plug volunteer hours. There, he was reacquainted with his love of sport.
“I decided to coach a little bit of basketball and I got hooked,” Nayebzadeh said. And he stayed hooked. Nayebzadeh has now been coaching for 13 years.
“It’s the ability to shape athletes that really intrigues me,” Nayebzadeh said about the allure of the job. “I love using basketball as a stage to develop character.”
The certified NCCP level 3 coach started his career at North Vancouver’s Sutherland Secondary School.
There, as head coach, he led the senior girls’ basketball team to a record 200 wins and 40 losses over eight seasons.
Then, in 2009, Nayebzadeh was granted the role of assistant coach with the BC Titans Minor League Professional team. Following that, he was selected as head coach by the Basketball BC Elite Development Program for the U-16 provincial team. The list goes on. He assisted the Canadian national team at the Canadian Centre for Performance and Regional Training. His latest stint saw him as the assistant coach of the women’s basketball team at Simon Fraser University.
If there’s any inclination as to the success of his coaching style, the SFU team shows it. The women have won two national titles within the last two year alone. Then came Kwantlen.
“It was very detailed – very meticulous,” Nayebzadeh said about the interview process. “There were a whole lot of interviews.”
Nayebzadeh was in the process of applying for a coaching position with the men’s basketball team when the position for the women’s opened up. He was advised to apply for both. He was granted the latter.
“I think they found a very good candidate,” Nayebzadeh said about the University’s choice to go with Stefon Wilson as coach for the men’s team. “It worked out for the best, for both of us.”
“I can’t wait,” he said about coaching the varsity women’s basketball program. “It’s going to be a great journey.”
As it stands, the team is still being constructed – recruitment season in full view. As Kwantlen holds its identification camp April 17, for female basketball athletes grade 11 and older, Nayebzadeh heads into the selection process looking for players who meet the standards.
“The number one thing that I look for is character,” he said. “They have to be willing to work hard.”
“We look for kids that are competitive. We look for kids who love the game. We look for kids who want to be there.”
In short, Nayebzadeh is entering recruitment season looking for what it was that pulled him onto the court – passion.
“It’s crucial for the athlete to love the sport,” he said, “to want to be there. To want to compete. You have to love to be there – you have to be willing to sacrifice.”
Nayebzadeh said the success of the team is dependent on team respect and selflessness. Himself included, in expectations for the team.
“You have to go in with your passion as a coach,” he stresses, “you have to have passion.”
It’s less about him, Nayebzadeh said, than it is about the team.
“You have to be athlete centred, you have to have a plan,” he said of his certainties.
As for the rest, Nayebzadeh said, “let the chips fall where they may.”
Filed Under: Sports
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