After his extremely successful presence in a webinar in Italy, which had a great impact, Dimitris Kyriakou was invited to a webinar in the Middle East, which was attended by coaches from Europe. The topics analyzed by the experienced coach - as a keynote speaker - were the planning of the preseason (preparation) and the selection of the players.
Regarding the first part, Dimitris Kyriakou gave valuable "directions" regarding all the stages that can occur during the preparation of a team and how it will flow methodically, starting from the initial drills until the start of the season.
Specifically, coach Kyriakou referred to the choice of the philosophy of each coach (for example, if he wants to have a team that will "run" or if he prefers set game) and how the preparation can be adapted for a specific goal. Another "axis" that concerns the preseason planning, is the choice of the basketball players who will be able to "support" the philosophy that the team will have. For example, if the choice is to follow up-tempo game and high intensity, accordingly a coach is required to select athletic players, to "match" the desired mode of play.
Additionally, coach Kyriakou emphasized the coach's overall cooperation with the rest of the staff (conditioning coach, exercise physiologist, physical therapist) in order to perform all the necessary tests to "check" the condition of the players in specific times. The coach talked about how a coach can properly prepare his team spiritually and mentally (mental preparation) during the preparation but also how there should be "flexibility" in dealing with possible accidents (e.g., injuries) and problems that may occur during preseason training.
Regarding the selection of players, Dimitris Kyriakou focused on three factors that have to do with the team's philosophy and aims, as well as the expected results, while the experienced coach analyzed other individual issues of importance. Concerning the technical aspect, special emphasis was given to what to drills a coach can choose for preseason preparation, developed for specific plays and how to reach in-season (using three players drills before advancing to five). In addition, the coach explained how a coach can "take advantage" of some basic and simple internet tools to set up to plan preseason in the most efficient way.
Dimitris Kyriakou also pointed out data regarding the length of the preseason phases, the intensity to be followed in each practice session but also how a coach will "move" based on the team he has (if the team is "new" or if he/she has the same team for two or more years). The coach stressed that the facilities and place the preseason training will take place plays an important role as well as the time needed for optimal peaking and tapering.
In terms of peaking and tapering, a crucial role plays the aim of a team to reach its competitive peak. If for example the peak needs to be at the start of the season or during regular season or even during the playoffs, is one of the important elements that will predetermine the corresponding way of preseason planning. The coach also stressed the need for the players to learn some code words, to assist in team communication by making instructions simpler (and faster) during a game. That is, if a coach shouts "red" the players know that this means that the time of the attack is almost over, or if they hear the word "green" they know that the way an athlete is chosen to play one on one.
The players are called to learn the team’s approach from preseason training while it was particularly interesting that Dimitris Kyriakou mentioned the method of a questionnaire that can be given to athletes, at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the preseason and season in an effort to assess trust in the effectiveness of the team. This way coaches record the belief in the team's potential as well as the view formed within the group among its members (e.g., what the view is for teammates or technical staff).