“I am Lucky Enough to Experience it Every Season” – Tatiana Gallova

Basketball goes beyond being defined as a coach or player; it is a preparation for life. For Tatiana Gallova it is about reaching the next peak in life while building a team of powerful and valuable characters.

She’s almost been a coach for over half of her life, as six knee surgeries before age 25 weren’t ideal for the body or mind. Twenty years of coaching so far have resulted in living in seven countries: Slovakia, Germany, Denmark, Austria, the Cech republic, France, and now Romania. You’d have to search for a more decorated coach of her age, considering she made the time to get a master’s and Doctorate while finishing as best of her class. Girls and boys should look up to her. Let’s jump into this week’s blog post on Tatiana.

What does a coach look for in a player?

“I can only speak for myself: besides the skills and basketball IQ, I look for the right attitude, how the character is shown during the games, not only on the court but also on the bench…I look for a team player who is willing to sacrifice ‘me,’ with everything she/he can do, for ‘we.'”

Tatiana is not your typical coach; she knows how to motivate her players through intuition. She first observes them and tries to find out what kind of personality they all have and how they act/react before she asks them what their reason to play is and their WHY.

These are the building blocks for building a team. Tatiana remarks how “each season is like a new life [and] you can try to (re)build something over and over again, to do it better; or to do something else than you used to, to have different experiences. It is like building different puzzles and enjoying the process.” That is why coaching is so distinct in her eyes.

How do you handle when you see that your players are choking (in performance)?

“I try to remind them of what they can do and help them see how they can do it, and also, how they can help to lift each other up. In detail, it depends on the situation and type of a player and competition.”

When I asked her if she prefers to coach men or women, her response was kind, “this is a tricky question.” She then continued to share a great story from her first time coaching a women’s team in Slovakia. She coached a team that came from “underestimated underdogs to an incredible group of women who stepped out of their shadow, showed enormous improvements, and developed, not only on the court but also off the court. They became a group who helped each other; they became a ‘we’ – the power of cohesion.” She meant that they managed to create such a great atmosphere that “one + one = three” in the end.

Thus, I think we have an answer for who she likes to coach more. Jokes aside, we all know who I am rooting for because we need great coaches like Tatiana in women’s basketball. With a great basketball coach comes great success. Tatiana was not only able to create this chemistry on her team once, “I am lucky enough to experience it every season.” That says a lot about a coach if you’re asking me.

What kind of coaches do you think players prefer?

“I think this depends on the personality, some players prefer one type of coaches, other different ones…but in general, I think someone who can make them better, who pushes them out of their comfort zone, but can still listen and understand them.”

Great professionals create new goals every time they accomplish one, and Tatiana is no exception. When I asked her if she is today the coach she wants to be, she replied, “not yet but working on it. I am trying to be the coach who I would like to have as a coach, the best version of this image.” That is something we should write down and work towards every day.

I talk a lot about having a pick n’ roll buddy, WHO is yours?

Remember, a Pick n Roll buddy doesn’t always have to be someone on the court. It could be anyone that you believe helps/helped you in your career to get to where you want to be. Tatiana’s “healthy distraction” are her dogs. They are “my buddies to relax and disconnect, especially during the long walks in nature.”

Tatiana means that “in many occasions, having [the dogs] (or not) turned out to be one of the decisive factors of working for some clubs or not. It is a thing; some people can’t understand, but for me, it can be a compass to evaluate the situation.

Tatiana’s little companions haven’t only played a tremendous factor in her decision-making during her career. They represent what she carries out on the court and does for a living. They represent teamwork “the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack,” the same way she tried to build her team. Strong, powerful, cohesive, and purpose oriented as a wolf pack.

Ultimately, when I asked Tatiana what her WHY is, I got a generous response, “emotions: seeing the happy and satisfied faces when developing individual and team. I think we can teach (especially youngsters) how to be a better person: how to communicate, cooperate, help and take care of each other, organize own time, set goals and achieve them, build self-confidence and self-esteem through basketball.

I couldn’t agree more; we have to know that we impact the younger generations tremendously, so start with yourself and your attitude before correcting someone else. Huge THANK YOU to Tatiana for taking her time and wanting to be a part of the SPFE blog interview, and we are happy to learn something new every week.

Until next week, can you genuinely say you are lucky at work? If yes, then what is it that makes you fortunate? If not, what can you do to change that?

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