Shiba Maggon has been one of the ace Basketball players, India has ever produced. She’s played as a player, as a captain and then donned the referee’s hat- among the first few women to do that. She’s also the coach of Junior nationals (girl) and working really hard to take India to the top league of Basketball playing nations. She spoke with us about her various career domains.
Refereeing- how and when did you decide about that?
I am always open for any role that keeps my involvement with the game I love. In 2007 Harish Sir former BFI secy and CEO told me that there will be FIBA officials test in India and my knowledge about the game can help me to clear the test I thought lets give it a shot. The only problem I came across was with the signals and I was very fortunate that two of my senior officials helped me work on it the names are Rajan Sir and Micheal sir. Having good senior officials around me boosted my confidence and I easily cleared written, practical and fitness test rounds.
Favorite domain out of the four…
It is pretty difficult to choose my favorite among all four as each of them is special. As a player you enjoy all the limelight you get and the game helps you grow as a person. As a captain you are responsible to hold the team together and stay as a team. As a referee I enjoyed a lot coz all the officials are like a family: there is so much love and respect for each other in this particular group.
As a coach I have grown up a lot- there sincere attention is required for each small or minute details. In my playing days I used to coach myself but when started coaching teams and players, I realized that among all the roles I have played in the game this is the most challenging.
I could do anything that my mind told me when dealing with myself. But reaching out to your trainees trying to make them visualize and understand why they are doing certain set of skills is difficult.
Its easy to talk or demonstrate but most important part is make them understand why we do skills and when do we apply them in game. Its completely reaching out their minds at their levels making them believe that they can do much better than what they are doing presently.
The only initial motivation that brought me to sport is my father who never differed between a son and a daughter and wanted his kids to play any sports they desired. My sister was an international netball player and she also attended two Indian basketball camps. It was she who became the star of the family, She played Netball Indian team, korfball National camps and finally Basketball National Camps. I just stepped into her shoes after her sad demise from this world.
Moments- favorite moment which you want to relive and moment which defined your career…
If I have to relive a moment as a player I will love to play the Finals against Railways at Hyderabad in 2003- Delhi had won that year. I will love to play that game again and again.
In the year 2001, I met Maan singh- a former player from Rajasthan. During those days I had trouble with personal life so was not playing the game well.
We used to train on the same court at Ajmer- he once challenged me for one against one which I lost very badly. He saw the depressed me and encouraged me to play hard. I requested him to train me which he agreed after lot of requests. He is a big NBA fan. So without watching NBA I was being taught some very good moves every day for the next three months and I realized how much there was to learn. My approach towards learning completely changed and I understood how I have to improve everyday for the rest of my career. He made me understand if I evolve with the game I will keep improving.
I have never felt like I faced any major hurdles but of course we all come across minor ones which either we can take as negatives or positives.
To start with everybody knows I played for Indian team for a long time but very few people know that when I made it to the national camp in 92,93,95 team did not go out for one or the other reason. So the dream to play for India had been long and tough journey as I finally represented India in 1997.
A lot of times I heard from other players that their name was removed from the list for national team and they deserved a selection: such things happened with me too but I guess this helped me become the best player of our country then.
At times I was misunderstood by teammates but my silence and working hard in the training was the answer to all the ignorance at times I got. Clearly remember an incident when I trained alone at one side of the floor and rest of the team on the other side of the floor till the Coach came in but that nationals I performed the best. I am too optimistic to give up or take a setback negatively. For me I guess everything happens to either make us better or we are capable to handle that pressure.
International career and things which can make the national team more competitive…
From where we started in 97 till 2014 the team really grew up among the top Asian countries. In 2001, I was among the top 5 players of Asia. Coach from Japan once asked me whether I was trained in India or away. It was a proud moment to represent India. Each exposure helped me understand my game and areas where I needed to improve to represent the game at international level.
Couple of International invitational events I won shooting competition as well. More international exposures had helped to perform much better for Indian team.
For making Indian team more competitive the work do not starts from national camps or exposure. It completely depends on coaches and how they teach about game to the kids in the beginning.
Most important is teaching very sound fundamentals with all little details. I have been coaching basketball for 6 years now and each time when a new trainee joins me I have to start with them from the very basics even if they have played for State or national team. The game is not about introducing a floor Ring and a ball to the kid but how and what they do with that ball on that 28 meter floor.
If we look at the games that Indian team has lost at elite level which is either qualifying for the next level or playing against the closest opponent it is because of the turn overs,( bad passes and position to receive the ball). Now passing is a fundamental which is introduced to the kid when he starts learning basketball. If we look at mini basketball in India we will see all kind of passes flying here and there on the floor. Most of the kids do not know different kind of passes and few who know do not have strength to pass. Only the team which reaches finals or semi finals can do bit of passing else the game is most of the time dependent on one player who can handle the ball well.
So while we are talking about Indian team competitiveness we have to go back to that age group and work on their passing skills, body strength and saturation.
By saturation I mean is how do we saturate from our defensive player and receive the ball in the position to shoot or create a set play. In short, to achieve the goals set behind the set plays we need to work on our passing skills and how do we saturate from our defense to create that space. This will be the first step towards getting better on the international level. Next would be spacing timing and playing game without ball. Defense is the next skill which needs to be taught very seriously right from the beginning. If Indian team can master these skills than we can definitely be among the top teams of Asia. And it completely depends on us The Coaches how we handle this task.
Junior team, talent pool and games popularity at grassroots…
We surely have very talented kids and I have come across many in all these years I have cited the reason above. The kids needs to be taught what responsibility they have on their shoulders when they play for a Club, District, State and a National team. We can’t depend on our best players who can handle the ball well but we have to build a Team in which each player has a role. Each player has something special about herself we just need to identify that utilize them in the special situations of the game.