Discussion on gaps in Lithuanian basketball focuses on coaches’ salary

Lithuanian Sports University (LSU) hosted the international basketball science conference “Coaching and Management” and the discussion “How to regain Lithuanian basketball victories?”.

The discussion was attended by well-known Lithuanian basketball people – Rimas Kurtinaitis, Kęstutis Kemzūra, Ramūnas Butautas, Valdemaras Chomičius, and LSU Rector Diana Rėklaitienė, as well as a special guest from Italy, Francesco Cuzzolin, who is the head of athletic training at Olimpia Armani Milan.

All participants unanimously agreed that the solution to Lithuania’s elderly basketball system should start with how to increase coaches’ motivation.

“There are many systemic issues. These include salaries, motivation, perspective – these issues are not only in basketball but also in other sports. When we are shaping the sports policy and changing the system, we are trying to change the coach’s interest in staying in the sports sector and improving his qualifications,” said LSU Rector D. Rėklaitienė.

At the same time, Olympic and European champion R. Kurtinaitis based his remarks about the inadequate salaries of coaches on real examples.

“My son works as a children’s coach – he has two or three groups and is paid €500. Now in Lithuania, pensions are probably higher. You want to be something in life, and it’s not good to be told that you’re not. So what is the motivation for a coach to work? I think that this perspective and chance in life should be given”, – emphasized the basketball coach.

The International Basketball Science Conference featured presentations by Zalgiris Kaunas CEO Paulius Motiejūnas and sports scientist Miguel Ruano from Spain, as well as practical exercises led by F. Cuzzolin and K. Kemzūra, assistant coach of the Lithuanian men’s national basketball team.

R. Butautas, Head of the LSU Basketball Science and Studies Centre, stressed that modern coaches must have confidence in sports science because it is the only way to become top-level specialists.

“A coach is constantly haunted by doubts about whether he is doing the right thing. Sports science research and its findings provide answers to many questions. For example, how to determine a player’s fitness or fatigue during a season. In the past, we used to do this by sight but now sports science is doing it for us. If we talk about basketball, I can’t imagine how a coach can prepare a team without using these things,” said R. Butautas.