This will be my first "international" post; the coach of a professional team in Germany is running The System -- and has for several years -- and I wanted to know how this wonderful style of play made it to Europe. Turns out we have ye ol' Blog favorite Gary Smith to thank for this!
The coach in question is Rainer Wolfschmitt, who leads the Rattelsdorf Independents. You might remember the name of this squad, this is where former Grinnell star Bobby Long plied his trade during a venture overseas. Coach Wolfschmitt was kind enough to answer my questions, and while I'm sure the normal language barrier was no problem, I hope my Southernese didn't come across to much via the e-mail.
The Independents currently are 5-2, averaging 112 points and giving up 105 per game. They make nearly 18 3-pointers each contest, force 26 turnovers a game and rebound 32 percent of their misses.
(Sorry, that's for all those System-stat geeks out there)
Here we go:
(What is your experience, and have you ever coached in the States?)
Coach Wolfschmitt: "I am a coach for 15 years now. I started with youth teams. but the last 7 years I coached Regionalliga (Which is the third league in Germany). As a youth coach I was one time third place in Germany with my team, and five times under the last 8. I have never coached in the states!"
(How did you hear about The System, and what was your initial reaction?)
Coach Wolfschmitt: "My first impression was at a coach clinic in Germany: Gary Smith talked about the system. My first thoughts were, that this guy must be crazy and it will never work. After thinking about it and having hard times to motivate for the new season i liked it more every day. I emailed Gary Smith (which helped me so good, Thanks Gary!!!!) and started the System.
We are still the only team in Europe doing this. And a lot of people talk about us. We had some articles in big newspapers."
(What made you try this with the Independents, and is this the first time you've run it?)
Coach Wolfschmitt: "It is the first team and I am in my third year there. In the beginning everbody thought we were crazy and laughed about us, because we had to change a lot in the minds of the players and had a lot of bad losses."
(Are you still working any with Gary Smith?)
Coach Wolfschmitt: "He is still helping me and visited me two times and worked with my team. He showed me and my players the fundamentals. A great guy."
Thanks a bunch to Coach Wolfschmitt for his time, and good luck to him and Rattelsdorf the rest of the season. He said it runs through July, so I'll try to check back in with him in the future.