Head Start on Coaching

July 15, 2011

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — When spring semester classes ended at the University of Iowa, Kalli Hansen decided to get a head start on a career path. She didn’t take an internship with an accounting firm or shadow a doctor at a local hospital. Hansen signed up for coaching a youth AAU basketball team.

Hansen has aspirations of coaching basketball after graduation and spent the first part of her summer with the Iowa Magic 12-and-under-team. She enjoyed watching her players improve throughout the season, while gaining valuable coaching experience.

“Coaching was a lot of fun and a great experience,” Hansen said. “Just getting my foot in the door with coaching was great. Through the season we got a lot better. It was really cool to see them grow as players.”

Hansen was able to use hometown and family connections to start coaching. Her younger brother played in the Iowa Magic boys system and the director of the Iowa Magic is from Hansen’s hometown of Olin, Iowa.

Hansen’s Iowa Magic team had an up-and-down season, due to the fact they played in an older age bracket the entire summer. Hansen’s 12-and-under-team played against 13 and 14 year old teams for the majority of the season. Despite the age difference, Hansen’s team finished second place at a tournament and competed well against the older teams.

“We played up an entire grade level all season, so that was pretty tough,” Hansen said. “I was really happy the way we played against older kids all season.”

Coaching began with the basics for Hansen. Her main focus was helping her team in the important fundamentals of the game.

“We started with the basics like dribbling, lay-ups and other fundamentals,” Hansen said. “Then we worked into offensive and defensive positioning, stuff like that.”

Defensive positioning was something Hansen really enjoyed coaching because it helped her reflect on her own game at the collegiate level.

Coaching helped my game, especially with defense,” Hansen said. “Continually talking about defensive positioning helped me remember where I need to stand when I’m playing. I think that will really translate to workouts when we get started.”

Hansen and the Hawkeyes will be getting an early start on the 2011-12 campaign by taking a trip to Europe in early August. The NCAA allows basketball teams to take a foreign trip every four years, touring different countries while playing against club and national teams overseas.

“Europe is going to be a blast,” Hansen said. “It’s going to be so much fun to travel and see everything, along with playing basketball against some great foreign teams.”

The Hawkeyes have been working with the strength and conditioning staff all summer, along with team-organized scrimmages. Iowa’s five new freshmen have also been on campus for the summer and Hansen has been impressed with their talents.

“It’s been great just getting back in the gym and working hard,” Hansen said. “The new players are all great. They will be contributors for sure.”

Touring foreign countries is not the only benefit to the overseas excursion. Teams are allowed up to 10 practices leading up to the trip. This gives the coaches a chance to work with the team in an organized setting during the offseason and it also allows the incoming freshmen to get a head start on their first season on campus.

“It’s going to be nice getting some full practices in with the team, especially with the freshmen,” Hansen said. “That will be good for them to get quite a few practices under their belt before the actual season starts.”

With her newly-gained coaching experience, the freshmen class might have another person to learn from when preparations for Europe begin.

Hawkeyesports.com will have complete coverage of the women’s basketball team’s trip to Europe. Practices are scheduled to begin July 18 and the team will leave for Europe Aug. 8. Continue to check hawkeyesports.com for updates.