We've got another great interview for you this afternoon as we caught up with basketball coach Nick Nobriga to pick his brain. Come back every week as we ask some of our most successful coaches on CoachUp their tricks of the trade and how they get the most from their athletes. Whether you're a coach, an athlete, or a parent of an athlete, we guarantee there are some great points for you to takeaway from the Coach Spotlight Series. Coach Nobriga is located in San Jose, California and has experience coaching athletes from middle school all the way up to junior college! His passionate personality instantly made him somebody we needed to know better, so, without further ado, check out our conversation with Nick and then head over to his profile here!
CoachUp: Hey, Coach Nick! What is your coaching style or philosophy?
Nick Nobriga: When it comes to instructing younger athletes that are working on building strong fundamental foundations, I constantly say that practice does not make perfect -- instead, it is correct practice that makes perfect. It is my job to teach my athletes the correct way to practice and train, which can be difficult at times. My overall style is focused on the execution of the little things. In basketball, it's not always the biggest and fastest that win, but those that do the little things right -- that is what separates the great from the good.
CU: What can a client expect from private lessons with you?
NN: My athletes can expect to receive my full energy, passion, and attention during each session. Going through the motions can be detrimental to progress, so if athletes are supposed to give 100% focus, shouldn't I? The athletes I train always notice that I am focused, prepared, and determined to achieve our goals. All my attention is there on the athlete so that we can work towards something great.
CU: Can you describe any big or little “wins” that you’ve had with the athletes that you train?
NN: One of my all-time favorite wins involves a player I've been coaching for five months. She's a talented, young woman that has made some tremendous strides since I've known her. Just recently, she attended the Stephen Curry Basketball Camp and blew the competition away. While she was there, she went up against boys that were two grades higher than her, but she came out on top anyways. Even better, she was the camp's MVP and received an autographed shoe from Stephen for her hard work. When she showed me the shoe and told me what she had accomplished, you could tell that she was absolutely elated. I was very proud and happy that I could play a role in her success.
CU: What do you enjoy most about coaching?
NN: For me, coaching basketball is far from simply demonstrating the easiest way to put a ball into a hoop. This game is a great tool to teach younger athletes the most important skills and lessons in life. When I coach, I am able to instill strong character traits that they will carry with them long into adulthood. These traits include discipline, strong work ethic, perseverance, camaraderie, and goal setting, all of which are crucial for developing individuals. When an old athlete comes to visit me before he graduates from high school, I can see the man he is becoming and that makes me proud as well.
CU: What’s your mantra or favorite saying?
NN: A mantra I constantly use is if you lose, don't lose the lesson. Of course, any great sports phrase can be applied to life as well! Athletes must understand that everyone makes mistakes as that is what makes us human. However, athletes must learn from those mistakes so we can avoid making them again. At the end of the day, this is how any great athlete evolves. There is a lesson to be learned in every defeat, both in basketball and life itself. I push my players to find that out for themselves and how to get better for next time.
CU: Do you have any specialties within the sport that you coach?
NN: I love teaching the fundamentals of basketball, but my varsity and junior college athletes are a different animal. For these players, we must focus on adding the dimension of explosiveness, strength, and agility to their games. I'm knowledgable with plyometrics and love mixing it into my workouts. Incorporating plyometric exercises with basketball drills help create game-like situations for my athletes.
CU: What is your favorite moment in your athletic career?
NN: Before the start of my freshman year of college ball, I had a really terrible injury -- a complete dislocation and compound fracture of my ankle. The injury tore major tendons and I went through months and months of rehabilitation following surgery. My game was never totally the same, but I refused to give up. I came back healthy for my sophomore year and the season was magical as we won our division and earned a spot in the national tournament. Before the games started, each team was brought onto the floor and introduced -- as the lights dimmed and we bowed our heads, I just couldn't stop thinking about what I endured to get to that moment. I will never, ever forget it.
CU: What’s the most important advice you’d give to other coaches? To athlete’s parents?
I tell coaches that we are teaching in a morally important field of work -- this, ultimately, needs to be on the top of our to-do lists. We must remember that we're working with young minds, so teaching by example is key. For parents, I remind them that some kids aren't as passionate about sports as others, so they must not push them too hard. As for parents of athletes that show a great deal of passion and dedication for the sport -- do whatever you can to keep that fire burning, you'll thank me later. Once again, thank you to Coach Nobriga for giving us some awesome answers in our interview! Now, did his words, mottos, and beliefs hit the nail on the head? If you're a coach, consider implementing some of his perspectives into your own sessions. However, if you're a lucky local of San Jose, California, consider booking Nick for a session or two -- thanks again, Coach!