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  • Writer's pictureGriffles Baller

Life as a Basketball Coach

Updated: Jan 17

For our special 2 part feature today, we will be talking to our Raffles Basketball Alumni who have continued on with this passion in basketball and have carved out their career in coaching basketball to the younger generation of ballers. We will hear from them how they stepped out onto the hardcourts in a different role and how being a basketball coach is really enriching and satisfying.

For the first interview, we will be speaking with our current A Div Girl's Assistant Coach (2019), Alanna Lim (Captain of the 2012 A Div Girls Champion Team)!!

Griffles: Hi Alanna, thanks for taking time out to chat with us and to share with us your personal journey from being a basketball player to turning into a full time coach. To start things off, let's go back to the very beginning....

When did you start playing basketball?

Alanna: I picked up basketball in secondary one. I was previously from a performing arts CCA - handbells ensemble and got into SCGS through Handbells Direct School Admission. After a few weeks of school, my PE teacher then suggested that I should take up a sport as a second CCA.

I was contemplating between squash, netball as well as basketball as most of my friends were in the above mentioned CCAs. I enjoyed the basketball trials thoroughly and that was how my basketball journey started.

G: WOW! From Handbells to Basketball. What a change!

Looks like that wasn't the only big jump that you made.

As most do not consider coaching a career path, what made you decide to take the jump and become a basketball coach?

A: I knew from the start that I did not want an office job. After graduation, I had some time to kill so my dad got me to use that time to attend the coaching course. Following that, I did part-time as an assistant coach with ActiveSG Basketball Academy while trying to figure out what I really wanted to do. One thing led to another, I took up a few other schools and am a basketball coach now.

Alanna on the coaching team with the Singapore Slingers

G: Nice.... Were there any challenges you had to overcome to become a coach?

A: Nothing much I guess, my parents were supportive or rather did not disagree with me doing coaching.

G: Ahhhh... That is wonderful to hear. A supportive family is really important. I remember your dad being a fervent supporter of yours for your games when you were in school too!

So, how were your 2 years with us at RI Yr5-6 and playing for Raffles Basketball?

A: Fantastic!! I was fortunate to have welcoming and fun batch mates (shoutout to you girls for being awesome teammates :)), despite being the only non-RG girl.

Alanna and her championship winning teammates in 2012

Oh, year 5 was quite stressful actually as we had a relatively strong team but Hwach had a really good team as well. Think the only memory I had for that year was us playing them in the finals and one girl, from Hwach, caught fire from beyond the arc and shot 6 3 pointers that game (this info might be wrong as it has been 9 years) and we came in as runners-up. It was indeed a tough loss to swallow but kudos to the other team for stepping up during the finals.

Overall, I enjoyed playing during my 2 years with Raffles Basketball as everyone was motivated and shared the same goal. We trained hard under the hot sun over at the RI courts (while the sheltered court was being built), ran rounds outside the school compound (sobs, endured jiaolian’s scolding but I guess we all learnt a lot about ourselves and each other during that period.)

G: Those were the good old days alright... :) talking about 教练,

I guessed she played a pivotal role in you taking up coaching?

A: YES!!!!!! Coach Chiew dedicated a lot of her time to teach me (and the same for all her other players) fundamentals and goes the extra mile to understand the character of her players to tweak her teaching methods to allow them to absorb in the best manner.

Growing up, we were relatively close, and spoke a lot about basketball. She shared about her own experiences as a player, as well as being a coach, and it made me realized that there is so much more to basketball. It is very dynamic and interesting whereby you will meet players of all sorts of personality and attitude and the challenge to bring everyone together/ bring out the best in each individual is so intriguing and that piqued my interest.

G: That is great to hear. :) Totally agree that she has made that difference in many of our girls who have trained under her.

Let's chat a bit more about your 2-3 years as a coach.

What are some of the joys and difficulties that you faced so far as a coach?

A: I enjoy the flexible schedule that I have as compared to an office job. It gives me time to do things that I enjoy e.g hitting the gym. Apart from that, I also enjoy witnessing the progress and growth of players, in terms of skills and character.

Watching them execute a skill learnt during practice/improvement in their decision making gives me a sense of achievement and makes me feel happy for them. I would liken it to gardening, where u plant a seed and finally see it bloom and flower… haha

I think everybody starts somewhere, for myself, I think I am figuring out my own identity and formula for success. And this is through learning, about myself and the way I coach, together with the teams that I coach.

G: That is great to hear. Thanks for sharing your little nuggets of wisdom with us. (GO Denver!)

Would you have any advice for our current Raffles Ballers?

A: 1.5 years will fly by really quickly, so treasure your time training with your friends and enjoy the whole process. Remember to study hard as well!!

Lastly, what baby steps do you think our current players can take if they might be interested to coach in future?

A: When you enter university, join hall and volunteer to coach your hall or any of the teams there. Alternatively, you can hit Mr Tay up and try to coach the RI boys or come back after A levels and try to coach your juniors during off season and see if coaching is your calling.

G: Thanks once again for spending time with us and see you on our homecourt for training soon! :)

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