Jag Bal is delighted to be part of the European Coaching Convention
Graphic: Igor Lazarevic
The European Coaches Convention is set for November 6 and 7 at Berlin, germany and will feature a full roster of top notch speakers, including Jag Bal.
Bal, who was the head coach of the Berlin thunder of European Football League, ELF, in 2021, joins an impressive range of coaches formed by the duo of Jesus Sanchez and Bart Iaccarino of the Barcelona Dragons of ELF. The event will feature two days of football talks and discussions featuring, along with Bal, other excellent coaches from Europe and the United States, including the old one NFL head coach Wade Philips and former NFL trainer Brock Olivo as well as Berlin Adler offensive coordinator Lee Rowland.
Le Bal, 38, from Vancouver, Canada, play at Butte College in Oroville, California, (same junior college as quarterback Aaron Rodgers transferred from the previous year) and arrived in Europe as a defensive lineman with the Dresden monarchs in 2007. After stints with the Baltic hurricanes in Kiel and Berlin rebels, he entered the coaching field in 2010 with Croatian Raiders in Zagreb as their defensive coordinator. He then became head coach of the Zagreb Patriots in 2011 winning the Austrian second division Title. He joined The elephants of Catania in Italy in 2012 as head coach leading them to the Italian title game that year. The following season, he joined the defensive staff of the Swarco Raiders before settling down as defensive coordinator of the Berlin Adler during two years.
AFI asked him about his coaching philosophy and why he spoke at this landmark event.
AFI: What are the keys to building a winning team?
Ball: There are a lot of crucial elements that go into a winning team. It starts with an excellent HC, Management & Front Office. Next comes the infrastructure: training room, practical weight room and team offices. With those things in place, comes the football staff. The coaching team is essential: they must be extremely motivated, hardworking and committed to the team, whatever their personal goals. Then comes the recruitment of the right players. When the football team is finally reunited, implementing a great season / preseason and indoctrination of a good team culture / mindset is of paramount importance.
AFI: How can teams best develop young talents?
Ball: First, be a better coach every day. It is crucial that the coach (s) are extremely motivated, open-minded and ego-free (everyone is my teacher mindset). Learn, apply, correct, repeat.
Second, give them the opportunity to prepare physically in the weight room and on the court. Know your athlete’s sports history so that you understand how to create a program that can be attributed to the growth of motor skills / physical literacy + Strengthen them.
Finally, your staff is everything.
AFI: Why did you choose to participate in the convention?
Ball: I had the opportunity to be involved in other conventions, but I never took the honor of speaking knowing that I would be surrounded by incredible spirits. I’ve always wondered “What value could I bring to such great men? “ At this point, as a student of the game, I have inherited so much from other people’s experiences and feel like I wouldn’t be the coach I am without them. So, I find it fair to do the same for other people, even if it’s something they know, then at least they can reaffirm that what they are doing is correct.
AFI: What is one thing you would say to young coaches?
Ball: Cut the fat. There is a lot of knowledge in the field of football. You can go crazy trying to learn everything. You have to do what you do best and grow from there.
AFI: What does coaching mean to you?
Ball: I was fortunate enough to play hockey, basketball and football for most of my childhood. All of my coaches have instilled quality characteristics into my life. They held me accountable, they demanded excellence and they made me understand what altruism means for the success of my team. My teammates gave me the solidarity I needed to feel confident, even powerful. They fought for me like I fought for them. All torn ligaments, broken bones, dislocated shoulders, vertebrae, hips, ankles, kneecaps and the list goes on. We all fought for personal pride and team pride. The struggles we endured as a team were not as painful as the ones I faced on a daily basis and over which I had no control. Instead, I could play a vital role for the athletic family who sacrificed their body and neglected their own personal safety to “do what was right.” The good thing being the hardest part in sports (usually). Don’t go the easy way to make a big game, but do what you’re supposed to do so the whole team can win.
These lessons that I feel I miss by the general public. Coaching allows us to embed the right mindset and skills in young men who are trying to navigate this chaotic world. I am honored and proud to join the ranks of the great coaches who have or have had the opportunity to change and affect so many lives. I don’t need to be called back. I would prefer to have a valuable impact. In short, that’s what coaching means to me.
You can listen to Jag Bal speak at the European Coaches Convention on Sunday November 7th at 11:00 am CET.