Basketball players from Hout Bay Hurricanes and Ocean View Bulldogs basketball clubs shot hoops with American coach Tom Mott this week.
The coaching clinic at the Hangberg Sport Centre, on Tuesday, was run in partnership with the Cape Town Basketball Association Coaching and Development Commission.
Tom Mott coaches basketball and athletics at St Joseph High School, in Santa Maria, California. He is no stranger to Cape Town and has visited the city several times over the past 15 years for both basketball and leisure.
On Tuesday, players aged 12 to 18 from the two local basketball clubs spent two hours with Mr Mott as he took them through drills and tactics for game days.
Jordan Francke, 17, from Ocean View Bulldogs, has been playing basketball for a year and said he was honoured to be coached by Mr Mott.
“You don’t always get an opportunity such as this,“ he said. ”He lifted me up; he pushed me beyond my limits.”
Decklin Liebenberg, a 15-year-old from Hangberg who plays for the Hout Bay Hurricanes, has been shooting hoops for six years. “The coach is so inspirational,“ he said of Mr Mott. ”The tactics he gave, the way he called out my flaws… it just makes me want to get better in the game.”
He said he had learned to never give up. “Keep your head up high no matter what you do; there will be a way out.“
Decklin dreams of being a professional basketball player who can give back to his community “I’d like to become an NBA player, but after NBA, I would like to go into coaching and start a club in South Africa, in my hometown, and take basketball to a higher league and to better the environment for our people.”
Another player from Hout Bay Hurricanes, 17-year-old Themba Sithole, who has been playing basketball for four years, said he had enjoyed the “crazy dunks”.
“I feel like a better player… I’m taking his advice on shooting and teamwork,” he said.
Coach Mott said he enjoyed coming to South Africa to do what he loved.
“I love basketball, I love coaching… it’s nice coming to South Africa where the language isn’t a barrier, everybody speaks English. It makes it easy, and it’s just a place I love coming to.
“Basketball is not the first sport here so it’s nice to see so many kids involved that love basketball and want to get better.”
The Cape Town Basketball Association’s head of coaching and development, Craig Daniels, said Mr Mott’s visit had been of great benefit to the young players.
“What these kids realise is that what their coach has been telling them all the time is actually the right thing. The US coach endorses what their coach has been doing, but he also takes it to another level.”
Hout Bay had many talented basketball players and some had made the provincial team, he said.
He said he hoped Mr Mott’s visit would help to stimulate the growth of the sport in the community and give young people fresh opportunities. “Sport is an opportunity for them to move,” he said. “We want to put them in a situation where they get high-level coaching then come back to the club and share.”