iCoachKids: Innovative Education & Training for a Specialist Children & Youth Coaching Workforce.

Mini in Size, Massive in Ambition: iCoachKids Plays Big Role at FIBA’s Mini-Basketball Convention

Attending the call of FIBA Europe Executive Director Kamil Novak, iCoachKids Director Dr Sergio Lara-Bercial travelled to Matosinhos in Portugal to participate in the FIBA Mini-Basketball Convention.


iCoachKids Director Dr Sergio Lara-Bercial with FIBA President Horacio Muratore

Matosinhos is famous world-wide for producing and enjoying the ‘World’s Best Fish’. Over the last couple of days, the Porto municipality lived up to its reputation as the FIBA Mini-Basketball Convention proved to be a great catch indeed for iCoachKids. Responding to the call of FIBA Europe Executive Director Kamil Novak, project director Sergio Lara-Bercial travelled to this beautiful city nested on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean to contribute to the Convention’s programme.

Mini-Basketball is a form of basketball where children from 6 to 12 years of age can enjoy the game under appropriate conditions suited to their stage of development like lower nets, shorter courts and smaller size teams. Over the last few years, FIBA has made a commitment to enhance and promote Mini-Basketball provision across the globe and the Convention provides an opportunity for Mini-Basketball Directors and Coaches from federations around the world to come together to share knowledge and experiences.

This year’s convention boasted the presence of FIBA President Horacio Muratore, FIBA Europe President Turgay Demirel, International Basketball Foundation Director Florianne Wanninger and FIBA Europe Youth Basketball Committee President Asterios Zois. All FIBA senior executives emphasised the importance of Mini-Basketball for the development of basketball globally and to maximise the sport’s power to impact individual and social change across the globe.

In this context, iCoachKids is seen by FIBA as a significant tool in the development of a suitably prepared Mini-Basketball coaching workforce who understands the role sport can play in children’s personal development and how coaches can contribute to it.

To illustrate the ideas behind iCoachKids on Day 1 of the convention, Sergio delivered a practical session with Portuguese children demonstrating different methodologies to ensure participants enjoy Mini Basketball as well as develop their understanding of the sport and decision-making capabilities on and off the court.

Sergio Lara-Bercial pictured with Portuguese Basketball Federation President Manuel Fernandes and Mini-Basketball Experts Joao Ribeiro and Manuel San Payo

This was followed on day 2 by a keynote entitled “Developing Positive Environments in Sport for Children” where Sergio introduced The iCoachKids Pledge, an evidence-based set of 10 Golden Rules to guarantee positive experiences for children in sport (see picture below). FIBA delegates welcomed The Pledge and had an opportunity to discuss the 10 rules and how they may be applied within the context of Mini-Basketball.

In addition, Sergio presented the three FREE Massive Open Online Courses  currently under development that will be available from September 2018. These e-learning opportunities are designed for coaches working with 5 to 12-year olds and offer generic advice on how to create positive environments for children in sport, the nature of children’s growth, development and learning and the process of planning, delivering and reviewing coaching sessions and programmes. FIBA delegates greeted the MOOCs with delight and indicated a desire to support Mini Basketball coaches to access them globally .

That’s not all, though! FIBA is organising a series of Mini-Basketball events in the coming year to promote this format of the sport and educate coaches, and iCoachKids has been invited to participate in these events as a central part of this process of education. Dr Lara-Bercial said: “We are delighted to support FIBA, the International Basketball Foundation and the Mini Basketball Movement. Their objectives are very closely aligned with ours and basketball, the second most played sport in the world, is a fantastic vehicle to spread our message across the world”


iCoachKids is co-funded by an Erasmus+ grant and led by Leeds Beckett University (LBU) and the International Council for Coaching Excellence (ICCE). It brings together another six world-class organisations with a common desire to support children and youth coaches and a proven track record of doing so. These include Sport Ireland Coaching, the Hungarian Coaches Association, the Netherlands Olympic Committee, the European University of Madrid, Lithuanian Sport University, and the Royal Belgian Football Association.