Chantelle Handy looks ahead to start of GB coaching career
After calling time on her National Team playing career in February having helped Chema Buceta’s side secure a place at Women’s EuroBasket 2023 this summer, Chantelle Handy is set to have a busy off-season nonetheless as she leads the Under-20 Women into battle in her new role as Head Coach of the team.
With 140 caps to her name as a player for Great Britain, the Olympian brings a level of knowledge and experience of international basketball that few can match in this country and we caught up with her recently to discuss her newest challenge.
“I’m honoured to take on the role.” Handy said.
“I’ve been privileged to play for Great Britain for a long time and now I’m obviously looking to transition into coaching, so any experience and knowledge that I can give to the next generation is something huge for me.
“If I can help them understand what it takes to be a professional, what it takes to play at the highest level in this country or overseas, then I’ve given back to the game and I think my experience over the years and sharing that can help them understand what it takes to get to the next level.
Having returned to the UK last summer after a glittering playing career overseas, Handy took on the role of Player-Assistant Coach with the newly-minted Caledonia Gladiators under the tutelage of Miguel Angel Ortega Marco – a former EuroLeague and EuroCup Head Coach.
Such an extensive playing career means that the 140-cap veteran has experienced life under many coaches, and the Olympian reflected on those experiences and detailed how she has used them to mould her own coaching philosophy.
“This year I’ve had an experience of being an assistant coach, but I wanted a role as a head coach – which I’ve had in the past with BUCS at Newcastle – and to take the next step in my career to see firstly if I like it and secondly if I’m cut out for it and if my playing experience can translate into the coaching side of the game.
“I have a great mentor in Miguel – every day is a learning day for me. The knowledge he brings to the game is huge and I’ve enjoyed trying to soak up as much of that as I can.
“Over the years I’ve also had a lot of coaches, and I’ve tried to take things from all of them and build into my own style of work. As I’m still learning, developing and building, I am definitely reflecting a lot on what I’ve learnt from other people and trying to be the best I can for my players.”
With a roster still to be announced for training camp ahead of the summer, where Handy’s team will head to Romania for the FIBA European Youth Championships at the end of July, the Head Coach does delve into the identity she wants her team to embody on the floor.
“My biggest focus is to try and keep everybody grounded and build a team ethos – it’s not about individuals getting big numbers, it’s about the team getting wins – and the players will understand that. A win at the end of the day is the biggest success we can have.
“The team is what it is all about and my mentality will be to get the players to understand what it takes for us to have success collectively. We need to understand as well that nothing is going to be given to us – we’ve got to earn everything we get from the first minute of camp.
“We’re going to be aggressive defensively. We know we don’t have a lot of time together so I don’t want to overwhelm them with information, but the basic principle is that as a unit we’re going to be more successful than as a group of individuals and defence is where it all starts.”