Carly Wilson is no stranger to Chemist Warehouse Opals camp. But when the squad gathered in Phoenix, as preparations ramp up for next month’s FIBA ASIA Cup campaign, she was there this time in a different role.
Written by Megan Hustwaite.
A two-time gold medallist (2006 Commonwealth Games, 2009 FIBA Oceania Championships) the 37-year-old, who turned her hand to coaching following an illustrious 350-game WNBL career, was in the thick of the action thanks to an ACT Government Elite Female Coaching Scholarship.
As part of a personal development grant, Wilson received invaluable insight into the squad’s preparations and worked closely with the Australian coaching panel, led by Sandy Brondello.
“Seeing what Sandy’s doing was really impressive and observing and being involved was a golden opportunity,’’ Wilson explains.
“The way she was with me, the way she included me was amazing. Sandy didn’t have to include me in everything or ask my opinion but she did and she treated me like I was one of the assistant coaches and my opinion was valued. She made me feel like I was welcome and completely a part of it.
“In the last eight years of my career I had two coaching voices. Carrie Graf at a WNBL level with Canberra and also national level with the Opals and then (UC Capitals coach) Paul Gorris who I’ve also been able to learn from as I stepped into an assistant coaching role with the Caps.
“It’s a long time to only hear two voices so for me it was brilliant and so refreshing to see the way Sandy interacts with the players, her philosophies and coaching style – it was such an eye-opener because it was something so new and different.
“Having that different voice and different perspective was invaluable for me.”
Nominated by the UC Caps, Wilson was granted her scholarship just two weeks before she headed to the US.
Upon arriving, she hit the ground running and participated in the final five days of the camp.
“I got to see a lot of scrimmage and the product of a lot of the hard work and drills they put in earlier in the week,’’ she says.
“The concepts and the philosophies that I’ve heard from ‘Gorrie’ I was able to see them in action which made a lot of things we talk about make a lot more sense for me.”
Thirteen women across 12 different sports were granted scholarships as part of the government’s support for its next generation of elite coaches.
“The ACT Government are leaders in a lot of areas and this one in particular. They identified a gap in elite female coaching across all sports in Australia so they put their money where their mouth is,’’ Wilson says.
“They created the scholarships with the funding to be used for professional development as a female coach at the elite level so we can continue to develop and there are pathways for ACT women at the highest level.”
Wilson and the Caps are finalising their roster for their title defence in #WNBL20 ahead of a Grand Final Series rematch with the Adelaide Lightning in Round 1 on October 13.