Over the course of the 2016/17 season, we’ll be bringing you a series of interviews with volunteers from around the club, shining a light on the various roles required to keep Ipswich Basketball running smoothly. This time, it’s the turn of Rob Schatten, who’ll be in his first year as a senior assistant this year.
IpswichBasketball.net: Rob, you are heading into your third year with Ipswich Basketball. You have quickly moved up the coaching ladder, going from under-18 conference assistant coach, to under-18 premier assistant coach and now senior men’s assistant coach. Whats your secret and how did you get involved with the club?
Rob Schatten: I owe my involvement with Ipswich Basketball Club to Arron MacDonald, if I’m honest. Arron and I have known each other for several years, and he realised before I did that I would enjoy the process of coaching. He invited me to join his under-18s coaching staff about two and a half years ago, and I was his assistant for the past two seasons.
I’ve tried to work really hard at learning from everyone I coach with, and Arron and Joe Bentley were great for me in my first season.
IB: What is your role with the senior mens coaching staff and how did that opportunity come about?
RS: I had the opportunity in the back end of last season to attend four games as an assistant coach for the Men, and loved the experience of coaching at the senior level. I think because I have a different skill-set to the existing coaching staff, Coach Drane saw the benefit of getting me involved for a whole campaign, and so now I’ll be responsible for in-game stats and trend tracking, and video analysis in between games.
IB: The majority of coaches aim to become a Head Coach eventually. You seemed to have found your calling as a skilled assistant. What skills are required to be a good assistant?
RS: I’ve relished the opportunity to head-coach whenever it has come up, having taken the reins for the under-18s four times over the past two seasons, but I find it doesn’t always suit my personality. I feel like I’m a better ‘fit’ as an assistant – you still need to be an excellent communicator, have a basketball brain and be able to motivate and lead your players, but there are other little roles an assistant can perform that makes them stand out to their head coach.
My experience in, and passion for, in-game stats tracking obviously is more suited to an assistant’s role. If I can spot maybe two or three trends across a game that the coach then has the ability to react to – maybe a particular spot the other team gets to consistently, or where on the court we’re giving up rebounds – that can make a subtle, but vital difference.
IB: How are you finding working alongside Coach Drane, and working with such established players such as Tom Sadler, Eddie Ferreira and Leigh Greenan?
RS: Coach Drane was… ‘kind’ enough to give me the job of being Leigh’s defender (ok, punchbag) on my first session as a senior assistant, so that was a baptism of fire!
That aside, I always enjoy the opportunity to work with and learn from new people, and working with Nick, John Ellis and Terry Rigby since the spring has been brilliant – not forgetting Nick Newman towards the end of last season, too. The professionalism of the senior set-up is inspiring, and it draws the best out of everyone, every time our group gets together.
Tom and Eddie are incredible to work with. Their leadership and attitude on court guarantees you get maximum effort from everyone else on the squad. It’s a great group to be a part of and one I think can do big things this year.
IB: What are you aims for the men’s team this season, what do you think we should be expecting from the team?
RS: We have such a focused group here, and such a well-balanced roster, that I think we’re as well set as we have been for any Division II campaign yet. We have to be aiming for a serious promotion challenge in the season to come, all the tools are there.
I had a chance to build some really strong relationships with the under-18s that I coached for two years, and the guys we added last year, so I’ll be looking forward to continuing to help those guys develop and progress as they aim to contribute to the senior squad this season.
IB: What does the future hold for the coaching career of Rob Schatten?
RS: Good question! I know there is so much to achieve here, and I’d love to be able to continue working with Coach and the senior squad over the next few years to aid my personal development. I’m increasingly confident that, one day, I want to be a professional basketball coach, somewhere in the world, and that’s going to be my focus over the next few years as I continue to work and learn at Ipswich. Let’s see if we can’t earn a couple of promotions along the way…