Every year, a lot of young people choose LSU Sports Coaching study programme, one of the most popular specializations of which is basketball, the sports discipline that makes Lithuania famous worldwide. Interesting studies and the opportunity to work with the best specialists in the field attract youth. This was undoubtedly influenced by the Centre of Basketball Studies and Research, established more than a year ago and headed by Ramūnas Butautas, a well-known basketball specialist and former coach of the Lithuanian men’s basketball team, who is assisted by the women’s basketball coach, scientist Rasa Kreivytė, scientists Kęstutis Matulaitis, Daniele Conte and other specialists.
R. Butautas says that the scientists of the Centre perform different basketball research and test basketball players, they often share their knowledge with basketball coaches and managers of LKL and other leagues. “We constantly analyse the results of research and apply them in practice. This is very important when training future basketball coaches,” said the head of the Centre of Basketball Studies and Research.
R. Butautas is glad that last year LSU managed to set up as many as five basketball teams, which participated in Kaunas City Championships, Lithuanian Student and Regional Basketball Leagues. In addition, some basketball players represented the teams of the National (NKL) or Lithuanian basketball (LKL) leagues. “Forty future basketball specialists started their basketball studies this academic year. Although the pandemic has significantly changed and slowed down the practical training, their desire to study and acquire new knowledge has not faded,” said R. Butautas.
Basketball coaches at Lithuanian Sports University are trained by passing on the latest knowledge of basketball science. According to R. Butautas, this sports discipline is constantly changing, as various innovations are being introduced. “The best basketball specialists are looking for opportunities to improve basketball, implement new tactical ideas and improve physical fitness and psychological preparation. It is very important to observe the changes, apply the best experience, and to work and improve together with the best specialists,” said the head of LSU Centre of Basketball Studies and Research.
Well-known basketball coaches share their knowledge with students at the university. Former Lithuanian national team coach Kęstutis Kemzūra and other specialists conducted open trainings, and basketball legends Sergejus Jovaiša and Šarūnas Marčiulionis participated in discussions with students. Lithuanian Sports University has also brought together the best basketball players and coaches of the country. This year, Darius Maskoliūnas, the head coach of the Lithuanian basketball team, started his master’s degree studies in Sports Coaching, Tautvydas Sabonis, the coach of Kaunas “Žalgiris” basketball club, Reinaldas Seibutis, a long-term basketball player of Lithuania, and other basketball masters are studying to get a bachelor’s degree. Jonas Valančiūnas, a player of the Lithuanian national team and Memphis “Grizzlies”, and Donatas Motiejūnas, representing the Xinjiang “Flying Tigers”, have been studying at the university for several years.
“These basketball players and coaches have accumulated a lot of practical experience and can share it with university students. At Lithuanian Sports University, they can deepen their knowledge of sports physiology, psychology and management. University specialists have accumulated a lot of experience, because we are the only ones to train coaches, and in basketball there are as many as ninety percent of basketball specialists trained at LSU,” said R. Butautas.
Lithuanian Sports University cooperates with the Lithuanian Basketball Federation, the National Basketball and Regional Basketball Leagues, and basketball clubs. One of the most important works of recent years is the signing of a cooperation agreement with the Lithuanian Basketball Federation. It was signed by LSU Rector Diana Rėklaitienė and LKF President Arvydas Sabonis. The legend emphasised the necessity for basketball to strive to remain the most popular sport in Lithuania, and it is impossible without coaches trained at LSU. Therefore, the close cooperation between the University and the Federation is extremely important.
LSU scientists constantly share their knowledge with the most famous basketball clubs. Innovations presented by sports scientists have also received a lot of attention in the sports society. One of the examples is the Catapult system, an advanced technology used by BC Kaunas “Žalgiris” in cooperation with LSU.
R. Butautas has revealed that the basketball community is going receive another gift that has not been available since the time of Stanislovas Stonkus, one of the most famous basketball theorists, rector of Lithuanian Sports University (then LVKKI and LKKA). At the beginning of next year, the methodological tool “100 žaidimų krepšinio treniruotėms” (“100 Games for Basketball Training”) jointly prepared by the Lithuanian Basketball Federation and Lithuanian Sports University will be published. Its authors are Lina Brazdeikytė (LKF), Rolandas Radvila (LKF), Rasa Kreivytė (LSU) and Ramūnas Butautas (LSU).
The head of the Centre of Basketball Studies and Research says that another important link in the training of specialists is Basketball Coaching and Management study programme run jointly by LSU and the University of Split (Croatia). It is also popular among professionals from all over the world.