In the center of the Strasbourg basket, many professional players gather and surround themselves well in the first edition of the “Epsilon” camp. Around Yassin Al-Awadiresponsible for the development of Limoges CSP players, a skillfully formed team works with the athletes on their physical, technical and cognitive development.
The ‘one-of-a-kind’ event assumes an approach that aims to be as complete as possible. Therefore, no aspect has been set aside: sports psychology, physical preparation, individual training, nutrition, care … The players come here to make lasting progress, which depends on the work of the clubs and which does not stop at the end of the camp.
A group of trainers and professionals of all kinds work hand in hand to ensure this process. among them, Alain DigboA well-known former player in the French and Spanish leagues. In particular, he was able to share his experience with rare heavyAnd the Milan BarbicAnd the I’m here And the Jack Allingamong others, who came to good summer use.
We were able to discuss with Yassin Awadi, on the initiative of the camp, about the event, its peculiarities and its philosophy.
Session Basket: How is this first edition of Camp Epsilon going?
Yassin Al-Awadi: The camp has a very good atmosphere. I am very happy, even amazed. I knew it would be very good, and I had no doubts about it. There is a form of trust, we know each other, we know each other’s skills, so things can go well. But it’s better than I expected. Many people around us appreciate this initiative, whether they are players, companies or partners.
The camp is described as “unique”. What makes this specificity tangible?
Yassin Al-Awadi: The specificity of the camp is that our approach is not only technical or physical. We tried to combine everything, especially with perception. We have someone present on the medical side, we have a chef every day, and we’ve put nothing aside.
Even in terms of culinary approach, we try to be there. We even made a vegan option for this week, because I found it fun to introduce to the guys. Everyone was completely sensitive to her. We make use of a wonderful structure, the Baskett Center in Strasbourg. I feel like we ticked a lot of boxes. Without exaggerating it, when I say “unique,” it’s because I think we’ve thought about all aspects.
In this camp, there is also a very noticeable part in cognitive development and sports psychology. This is something that is still relatively little discussed today. What place does the mind occupy here and in basketball in general, in your opinion?
Yassin Al-Awadi: In basketball in general, there is none. I would say that he does not occupy any place today in the clubs. The player can work fully on the cognitive aspects, but will be with advisors outside the club in which that player plays. Today, it is still the initiative of the players.
over here, Julian Southon intervene in the field. I’ve worked with him before and we got results. I am convinced that there has been room for improvement in this area for a long time, but it pushed me further. And today, players are very sensitive to the fact that we have this kind of crew profile.
What prompted you to set it up this way?
Yassin Al-Awadi: I wanted to have a full approach. I treated it more like a club than a camp. Even in communications, we advertised the players present as a kind of roster rather than a basketball camp. We’ve combined a physical player, a physical coach, talking about player development… It’s more of a club approach than a camp approach.
The stated goal is to bring players for a truly sustainable development, which will serve them in the future. How will you get there?
Yassin Al-Awadi: There will always be a written record of the work we do with the players. All the information obtained during the week will be available to the clubs that wish it. I’m lucky to be at Betclic Elite, with Limoges, and thus to know all the clubs in the tournament. This is something we will give them.
Since I’ve been in this field, I’ve always said that you should keep in touch with the employees. So the idea is for everyone to work together. Say what happened, perhaps to give some ideas for the next season and to help the cast. I already have this approach in Limoges. When a player goes to work with a coach, we put all the information at his disposal to put him in the best conditions. This connection, to me, is an essential thing.
We must never forget that clubs pay players. As coaches, we have to be sensitive to the fact that players have certain expectations. But their employees and coach have expectations, too. The goal is not to develop useless skills for this season. So we should focus on what makes sense to be as effective as possible.
You already have some club experience and have been working with players for a long time in the league. So how did you come up with the idea of working with players outside the clubs, in the camp?
Yassin Al-Awadi: I’ve been thinking about it for a few years. I had opportunities to work abroad in the summer, to work with the players individually. I had the chance to see other coaches and other campers working abroad and I thought, at one point, we could do something. I wanted to do something in France. I also wanted to bring together players that I valued and who I enjoyed working with. The idea started from there.
Today you are at Strasbourg Basket Center, with many great professionals on and off the field. Can you tell us how you achieved the project?
Yassin Al-Awadi: So, the initial idea was to do something in France. However, we had to find the right place. To maintain an approach that is still as inclusive as ever, we had to make the players want to be there. It is necessary to say what it is: this is the case. Everything is there for. Both in terms of accommodation and room, it is the best. We are in Basket Center, which is a very nice room. The atmosphere in the camp is very good. We are doing well and all the coaches are happy to be there.
We have a real team, including a contact team. I think she did a great job. All the people who helped at the camp, and all the people around the stadium, did a great job.
There is also a small point I would like to make. All the players in this camp paid absolutely nothing. Private partners helped us create it. They are the ones who allowed us to invite these players. I am very happy with what is happening and I see that these partners are very happy.
Since the first release is going well, can we logically expect a second release next year?
Yassin Al-Awadi: Yes, there will be a second edition. That’s for sure. Today, I can tell you clearly: there will be a second edition. The real question is whether it will be over the course of one or two sessions. We’ve had discussions with a lot of companies and I think the second version will go one step further.
[ITW] Fred Weiss: “We wrote this book because I wanted to publish it.”