August 18, 2008

BARM Academy

Brian McCormick’s interview with Stephen Clauss, the Director of the Basketball Academy Rhein Main in Germany.

According to the Basketball Academy Rhein Main (BARM) web site:

“Our mission is very simple: we would like to develop young talents into great basketball players and at the same time focus on coordinating an appropriate school and professional education for young talented and aspiring athletes.

Our comprehensive approach to the complete education and development of basketball players will enable them to reach their full potential preparing them for a successful future in basketball and business after a professional playing career.”

BM: What are the ages of the players in your Academy?
SC: We are presently focusing on working with players between the ages of 17 and 22. We consider 21 / 22 to be the entry age where a talented player is capable of playing on the DEUTSCHE BANK SKYLINERS professional basketball team.

BM: How are players selected?
SC: The recruiting of talented players is handled by the Director of the Basketball Academy Rhein-Main (BARM) and the Deutsche Bank Skyliners coaching staff.

BM: Who finances the academy? Do players pay tuition? Alternatively, do players get paid while there?
SC: The BARM is a part of the DEUTSCHE BANK SKYLINERS organization. The players receive a “BARM Scholarship”, which consists of the necessary amount of financial support, so that the players can focus on their basketball and career educations.

BM: Does the academy play together as a team? Do the players play individually with other teams?
SC: All BARM players have a “home team” where they are a dominant member of these respective teams. The DEUTSCHE BANK SKYLINERS cooperate with local club teams, for example TV Langen and MTV Kronberg, who have well developed youth programs and senior teams at various levels of competitive accomplishment. The BARM players will all compete with one or more of these teams. Most of the BARM players are also involved in their respective National Teams.

BM: Do players attend school?
SC: All BARM players are either attending school, attending mandatory military service, or are already a full time member of the DEUTSCHE BANK SKYLINERS professional basketball team.

BM: How is the year structured? Same thing every week? Different emphasis in different seasons?
SC: The BARM player’s schedules are personalized and organized around their education and respective Club and National Team basketball seasons. Therefore the schedules of the players will vary greatly.

BM: How many hours per week do players train? Can we get a sample week for the average player?
SC: On weekdays, all BARM players have one daily individual and team practice. On weekends most play two competitive games: First with their “home team” and second with an additional team, a youth team or the DEUTSCHE BANK SKYLINERS.

BM: Do the players lift weights?
SC: Weight lifting and athletic development is a part of the individual practice schedule.

BM: Is there a nutritionist? Are the players’ diets monitored?
SC: The BARM works together with a professional nutritionist who assists the players in organizing and maintaining a balanced diet.

BM: How much testing of the athletes is there?
SC: All BARM players will go through a big medical and physiotherapy check up in the preseason and undergo additional check-ups at regular intervals, or when necessary.

BM: How many coaches/trainers in the Academy? How many players?
SC: There are a total of 6 coaches working with the BARM players. The BARM presently maintains between 10 and 12 yearly scholarships.

BM: What are the coaching qualifications? How does the academy hire a coach?
SC: The BARM coaching staff is selected by the director to the BARM and the management of the DEUTSCHE BANK SKYLINERS.

BM: What does an average workout entail?
SC: The emphasis of all practices varies greatly depending upon the players personalized needs. Each player’s individual practices will always place focus on his special needs. For example, some players will need a much greater amount of work on the development of their athletic abilities, while others might be physically well developed and need more work on specific basketball skills. Another example; weight lifting programs must be adapted to the playing schedules the players have. The BARM players have a year round lifting program, with the exception of a short vacation break in spring or summer. Because of international competition with National Teams it is not possible to simply do muscular hypertrophy training in the summer. Therefore a well organized lifting schedule must be prepared with emphasis on hypertrophy training in multiple breaks, in and off-season, rather than on one large break in the summer.

BM: Are all trainings done individually, or are there group sessions as well?
SC: Some of the practices are individual and some in groups. In the group practices the players will definitely also work on offensive and defensive tactical skills.

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