Many of the questions we get asked are often based on common misconceptions about what Elite Academy stands for and what our vision is. Therefore if you have not seen our vision page, we highly recommend you give it a read to understand what we are trying to achieve; why we do not focus on winning or short-term progress, what we mean by words such as ‘Kaizen culture’, ‘Trust The Process’, ‘More Than Basketball’ and so forth.
Will you make my child a ‘topper’?
We will not make your child anything.
Your child already is a ‘topper’. What we will do is provide emphatic support and well-researched guidance to develop them in a basketball learning climate. This climate is what we call “The Process” and we are continuously striving to improve it. Each child is already a ‘topper’, all we do is offer an environment where we try to give each young person an essential nourishment to develop as a person, athlete and basketball player. The direction each player takes with or after that experience – whether it is within basketball or outside of it – is his and only his to find out and decide on. We hope to contribute to your child’s ability to confidently orientate himself in his life.
How do I join the Academy?
For prospective players interested in The Process, please visit our ‘Join Us’ page for more information. Due to places in the Academy being limited, we take enquiries and expressions of interest all-year round.
You frequently talk about Transactional vs Transformational Coaching. What do you mean by this?
Transactional coaching in our eyes refers to the transaction of knowledge from the coach to the player. In return for this transaction the players are expected to give attention to the coach, with the coach attempting to motivate players through the use of punishments.
Transformational coaching strives to inspire and change (or transform) the whole athlete in order to improve not only the individual’s sports performance, but also to positively affect change in the athlete’s life. Taken further, by giving individual consideration to all aspects of an athlete’s performance – skills and techniques, motivation and behavior, work ethic and sportsmanship – the transformational coach has the ability to positively affect, and to positively produce, the optimal sports performance of the entire team.
It is a top down, almost contractual, approach. From the beginning of Elite Athletes Camps we decided we would not work with this approach but rather choose the relational approach: players and coaches collaborate, they are on an even level. The intention of both players and coaches striving to develop our potential is the foundation of our collaboration. Our definition of transformational coaching can be written mathematically as technical coaching + relational coaching. That’s also why we invest so much energy and thought in the cultivation and nourishment of a culture with shared values that, beyond all the training you see, truly is the only living force of our community which we call The Brotherhood.
Give me a reason (or more) why my child should join the Academy?
Joining the Academy is something you should do if your child and you as a parent trust the process. If you truly believe that the values we share in our vision and the sports climate we want to create connect with your ideas when it comes to child development, athletic development and basketball development, then it sounds like we will be a great fit. Furthermore if you want to be closely involved in the further cultivation of our program to make it even better for the kids, that is always something we appreciate in our parents.
How much does the Academy cost?
€250 per month (x12 months). For international players, costs are higher due to accommodation and food.
What do you mean by games-based learning?
Game-based learning refers to “teaching without teaching” or to put it into a question: “Can we teach kids without always instructing them what to do?” Game-based learning is an environment where the teacher is a guide and the players are the explorers: it means that rather than drilling kids to develop new skills, we create dynamic, safe, playful conditions – games – in which skills develop out of decision-making and creative problem-solving.
When players adapt, we change the games a little bit so they need to stay present and stay flexible. We keep the amount of drilling to a minimum so players are constantly actively engaged in the learning process. We want our kids to think and reflect for themselves. Players who are innovative and inspire us with moves they come up with, their answers and perceptions. We overhaul more traditional approaches in sports learning (and especially the average youth basketball practice which is full of “drills”) with this and even though sessions can sometimes look messy and more mistakes are made, we truly believe this is the way to long-term fun and healthy development. Ask yourself: in which periods in your life did you learn the most: when you were instructed and had to listen for hours or when you could tinker and figure things out by yourself?
Learning skills should not always be fun right?
We believe it should. This does not mean there should not be challenge, triggers and a demand that is put on the kids. Improving in skills and experiencing what you are capable of is always great, it’s fun. It is actually one of the main reasons that shows up in sports psychology research why children say that love playing sports. Of course we will constantly test the kids and see how their cope and respond to pressures and stressors but always in a manner that is supportive for their long-term development.
What do you mean with ‘parents are collaborators in the Academy’? What do you expect from parents?
Above anything we expect our parents to support their kid and all kids in the Academy unconditionally. With unconditionally we mean that support should never be based on performance, outcome or evaluation. We expect our parents to read and understand the values we have for our Academy and set the intention for themselves to behave in such ways that support their child’s development. Of course sports is a an environment that brings out people’s emotions, and therefore we provide a couple of parents workshops or learning materials throughout the season so all of us – our directors, our coaches and parents – collaborate to create a healthy youth sports climate. Beyond that we also open up more involved roles for our parents that have this ambition: a parents event team, partnerships advisor, giving passionate relevant masterclasses to the kids etc.
Can I join the Academy as an international player?
Our first intake of international players will be joining from June 2020. Places will be extremely limited, and for players aged between U14 and U17. Agents, players and parents are encouraged to speak to our Technical Director, Alex Sarama for further information and to arrange an in-season visit.
What language is used for coaching?
We believe fluency in English is a key proficiency for living in the 21st Century world. Therefore, all teams U15+ are coached primarily in English, with U14’s being a mixture of Dutch and English. We are also one of the only academies in Europe to have native English speaking coaches.
Do you have a girls program?
Current plans are to start a girls program from the 2021/22 season. If you will be a eligible U14 player, please contact us if you are interested in the program!
How do I sign up for camps?
Our Elite Athletes Camps are for players of all ages and abilities. Please visit www.eliteathletes.be for more information on our schedule and camp program.
I play for another team, but would like to benefit from your individual coaching. Can I receive skills sessions with your coaches?
Through Elite Athletes, we are pleased to offer semi-private sessions with one of our EA Skills Trainers. More information can be found on the Elite Athletes website (www.eliteathletes.be).
Where do we train?
Each team has x2 sessions at the EA Facility each week, and x2 sessions at Red Vic. This means there are x4 practices per week.
What happens after U21’s?
The academy staff work to place our athletes in a college or team that is the best fit for the player. The brotherhood continues, with players becoming part of the Elite Academy Alumni Group.