Coach Interview - Arron MacDonald: The Season So Far, Next Steps & Recruitment

We caught up with Coach Arron MacDonald, whose side are competing in their inaugural National League season in NBL Division 3 East.

We discussed the start to the season, his goals for the rest of the year, and why he is again looking for new additions to his side...

BB: Coach, thanks for taking the time to speak to us today. How happy have you been with the start of the season?

AM: No problem, it's been a tough start - and I feel like I've said that a lot recently! At Nottingham, we played well for about fifteen minutes of the game, but gave up too many open looks, and the same can probably be said for the ARU game.

BB: Although it's clear that the results haven't been what you'd have hoped for, how happy are you with the performance and the growth of the team?

AM: It's difficult not to simply look at the results and say 'the performances haven't been good enough', but we knew this was going to be a big step up for us, and a challenge for the players and coaches.

I think we've not strung together four straight quarters of "good" basketball yet, and a lot of that is as a result of putting a group of players together who didn't know each other a couple of months ago.

Ironically, the game in which we've performed best so far was the second half against Derbyshire Spartans in the cup, when we were the better side for twenty minutes against a physical, skilled and experienced side from a higher division.

We've worked on what we're doing as a team, and while we know there are no quick fixes, I believe in the ability of every player who pulls on the shirt for us. They know I'm expecting them to work hard, execute and make good decisions, and I believe that the more we work together, the more we'll get to know one another's strengths and weaknesses, and the better we'll play.

We're trusting in the process of growth across the team right now, and just focusing on controlling the controllables and learning from our losses.

BB: You've said that you're looking for new signings, is that because of the results?

AM: Absolutely not. When we came into this season, I said that I wanted a large, strong and competitive squad. When I was at Ipswich, I regularly carried squads of 18 players or more. That meant there was competition for places every week, and that - even with the odd absence -we had a large group to work with.

We were well on our way to having a squad of an acceptable size, but things happen... Two guys backed-out early in pre-season. Jacob and Lloyd haven't been able to make themselves available as yet. We have members of the military who've been away. On the eve of the season, we lose Geri Simaitis, and just this week Dave Wood has left. When you then factor in that we've been waiting for international clearance for Deividas Gorodeckis, and have a few injury problems with Billy, Tom and Oli, it's putting us under a lot of pressure right now.

We're looking to fill up a few roster spots to help us out over the long-term and trust that we'll get some of those guys back in the interim, too.

BB: So if anyone out there is interested in joining, what should they do?

AM: Get in touch with us via the website or social media, and we'll arrange a free trial session.

BB: What are your goals for the season ahead?

AM: I really only have one goal every season - that my team reaches its' potential. Whatever that looks like, it'll look like.

With that being said, right now, I just want our guys to get healthy and for us to play at the levels I know we can - I truly believe everything else will take care of itself from there.

What we have to understand is that this isn't a single season project. It might take some time, but we want to establish ourselves as a National League programme. While we have a lot of experience in the side, we also have five guys under the age of 21, and a number of players who've never played at this level before... so we're going to get better on the floor, but at the same time, we need to build the culture of the side and continue to improve the culture of the club, and give ourselves the opportunity not only to improve week-to-week, but also season to season.

As the club's Head Coach, I also have to think outside of this group.

Clubmark is a massive priority for us, and we hope to have some news on that very soon...

We've really grown our club over the past year, and have some promising coaches throughout the club as a whole. We need to continue that growth, adding more volunteers, more referees, table officials and coaches - and of course more players - so, again, if anyone's interested, please get in touch.

We'd also love to build even better relationships with the wider community, we have some great sponsors and partners - but I'm keen to keep improving that situation in order to support our growth - and we simply must find a way to undertake more community coaching.

On an individual level, I want to challenge myself and grow every day, I've actively sought mentorship and feedback, and I'm really trying to grow and change as a coach - the next step is to embed that mentality in the people I lead, and for them to do the same with the people they lead - as when we're all striving to get better, we have a chance to really make some progress.

BB: Thanks for your time, Coach, and good luck for the rest of the season.

AM: Thank you