Unsere BG-Coaches(18): Bennie Miller
Die BG Bonn-Meckenheim hat sich zu einem der größten und erfolgreichsten Basketballvereine in NRW gemausert – eine Entwicklung, die ohne das leidenschaftliche Engagement unserer Trainerinnen und Trainer undenkbar wäre! Darum sollen an dieser Stelle in loser Folge unsere Coaches vorgestellt werden, deren Arbeit hinter dem Erfolg unseres Vereins steht.
Diese Woche im Interview: Bennie Miller, Point Guard unserer 1. Herrenmannschaft. Doch Bennie, 35, ist nicht nur Leistungsträger seines Teams in der 2. Regionalliga, er betreut auch den Basketballnachwuchs der BG – und das natürlich in deutscher Sprache. Doch als kleine Herausforderung für unsere Jungs und Mädels folgt das Interview mit Bennie hier im englischen Wortlaut:
Bennie, how old were you, when you started playing basketball?
I was 7 years old when I started playing basketball at Y.M.C.A. in Houston, Texas. I had tried American football and baseball, too, but I ended up playing basketball because I was a lot better at basketball than at all the other sports… – and I had most fun playing this game!
I guess you also played basketball at school?
Yes, I did. I practiced whenever I had time and played for my school team in my home town. After high school I then played basketball at college in Dallas – our team competed in NCAA Divison II… and in 2006 I came to Germany!
When did you start coaching a basketball team yourself?
During my last year at college I started coaching the local high school’s junior varsity team – that’s a high school’s second best team. This was very interesting for me – I enjoyed that very much.
How was your first team? Teenage kids can be quite difficult sometimes…
The kids liked me because I was younger at the time, and once they had seen that I could play I had their full attention. They listened to everything I said. I think, it’s all about respect, you know? When they knew that I knew more about basketball then they listened to every word that I said… – I didn’t have any discipline problems with my team at all.
Which teams are you coaching for Bonn-Meckenheim now?
I have two teams: the U14.4 and the U16.4 in Meckenheim.
Do you speak English or German to your players?
A little bit of both. I mainly do it in German, but when I want to say something that I can’t explain in German then I say it in English…
What is the most important thing for you when you practice with your teams?
I want to pass on to the kids all the knowledge I learned during all the years I have been playing basketball. I figured out when I got older that the more you learn at a younger age the further you can become in a basketball level. I try to encourage my players to have the passion and to be fully committed in what they love doing. And, of course, I like seeing improvement…
How do you coach during a game? Are you a more reserved type of a coach or do you interfere a lot from the bench?
I think I am very encouraging. I always try to help my players and give them some tips they need, but mainly I’m quite calm, I think. However, when I see the guys aren’t performing at their level or potential then I become a mean coach! Then I start yelling a little bit…
What are the main differences when you compare kids practicing and playing basketball in Germany and in the US?
I think the biggest difference is that you have more access to basketball facilities or basketball gyms in the United States. The American kids practice a lot more – and, you know, practice makes perfect! The more you practice the faster you make progress! So I always encourage the kids that even if they can’t get into a gym and get some shots then go dribbling in your garden or on the street… – or work on your body and do some push-ups. You have to invest in yourself, you know?! That’s like everything else in your life: You get out of it what you put into it! If you love basketball then do something to get better every day!
What is your goal as a coach?
My ultimate goal to coach is that I want to coach at a really high level. I want to start coaching at college, but my dream job is to help coaching the Houston Rockets professionally. I want to coach at the highest level possible! But, please, don’t misunderstand me – I really enjoy coaching with kids! You know, it’s actually the same thing: You always try to get the most out of the players you are coaching!
For our kids who like watching the NBA: I guess you support the Houston Rockets, not the Dallas Mavericks… – do you like Dirk Nowitzki anyway?
Yes of course, I support all professional sports teams representing Houston, Texas… through the good and the bad times. Honestly, I admire Dirk Nowitzki. I have always had the utmost respect for his level of skill, but his loyalty to the Dallas Mavericks speaks volumes. I hope he can remain healthy enough to surpass Kobe’s record of most consecutive years with only one professional team.
Last question: What does basketball mean to you? Can you describe why you like basketball that much?
Basketball has become a part of me… it’s my life. I’m thankful for the talents I have been blessed with to experience many many lasting basketball memories. When I first started playing basketball, my intentions were to use the sport as a positive avenue to focus on after school. Growing up where I’m from you didn’t have many promising choices. You were either in a gang, a drug dealer, a thief, a drug abuser, a hopeful rapper, or you played sports. I chose basketball, the court was my safe haven… I had no idea how much it would actually save my life.