Coach -T focuses on athlete development at his Elite Basketball Academy

Basketball development coach, Toloane Toloane, affectionately known as Coach-T to his athletes, is one of the development coaches in Botswana sport playing and fulfilling the duties of a development coach in a notable manner. Coach-T, a Level 1 / FIBA Coach is leading a basketball academy that boasts of young talent, nurtured under his care and leadership.

The academy is fittingly named Elite Basketball Academy. As a player development coach, at the academy, his primary responsibility is to monitor and continuously develop players skill sets through on-court training. Coach-T also holds a Diploma in Education qualification, and currently works as a school-teacher at Tlokweng Dayspring School, where he also serves as the Basketball Development Coach. Observing from a closer range, during the few random visits made to the academy’s grounds at Extension 12 in Gaborone, Sports Trends has had the opportunity of witnessing Coach-T in action, where he performs his coaching duties with dedication, admirable commitment, and passion.

As the Head Coach, he guides character development and provides direction to the athletes, comes up with play strategies, develops ideas to optimize performance, instructs and demonstrates skill sets and techniques necessary for individual and team development. The academy is one of the best sports performing academies in Botswana, producing quality players and creating a pool of talent for the Botswana Basketball Association. According to coach T, Elite Basketball Academy was founded in November 2020, and at the time it only had 30 athletes and 5 Coaches. It is a sports development center for kids aged 5 years, up to youth of 17 years.

The academy has registered and worked with over 150 kids and young people from all over the community of Gaborone since 2020. Some of the major achievements of the academy include, producing a bronze medal individual performance at the African Union Sports Council games in 2018, emerging as the 2018 U14 Boys and Girls Champions at the BBA/CIPA 3x3 Tournament, 2019 Gold medallists’ players at the Botswana Games, 2020 Gold medal U16 Girls Champions in Botswana at the 3x3 13th Movement Tournament, 2020 Gold Medal U18 Girls champions at the BDF Hoops for Troops 3x3 Tournament , 2022 U19 Girls Champions at the BBA 3x3 Team BW tournament and 2022 U19 Girls Champions, U17 Boys Champions, 17 Girls Champions at the TLC 3x3 Tournament.

The academy, and Coach-T’s achievements, are testament to the role and importance of development coaches in sport and confirms that they are the driving force behind greater levels of participation and progression in sport. These achievements have also been acknowledged by the Botswana Basketball Association President, Ms Boineelo Hardy, who has praised Coach-T for his interest in development and his impressive volunteerism towards the association. She also added that, the association is exploring ways in which it could further utilize the skills and commitment of Coach-T in development.

Development coaches in sport, sometimes classified as grassroots coaches are involved in sport development, mostly at grassroots level, and are the backbone of successful athlete development because they are involved in an athlete’s sports life at the crucial early stages of development, when children are ready and able to develop fundamental sport skills and abilities such as concentration, running, jumping, throwing, and strategizing. It has been highlighted by experts that children who do not develop these fundamental mental and motor skills, by age 12 are unlikely to reach their genetic athletic potential, and that lack of these fundamental skills may mean, for example, the difference between a gold medal performance and a 16th place finish at the Olympics.