Coaching fraternity, Andrea Trinchieri, Bayern: 'You can learn from everyone'

Jan 10, 2022 by Frankie Sachs, Print
Coaching fraternity, Andrea Trinchieri, Bayern: 'You can learn from everyone'

The vast majority of coaches in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague have had playing careers to be proud of. Whether they competed at the highest levels of Europe or they scraped away in lower divisions, they have that experience – as well as the connections they made – to rely on in different situations.

FC Bayern Munich’s Andrea Trinchieri’s rise was quite different.

"Basically, I am coming from nowhere. I am coming from the ninth division in Italy. So I had to climb so many stairs by myself," Trinchieri attested.

To climb those stairs, Trinchieri took to taking the best from any game, at any level, and applying it to his game plans.

“I believe you can learn from every coach at any level. There are good coaches in the third division. Great coaches, masterminds in the EuroLeague,” he explained. “If you look carefully and you listen carefully to what they say, how they say it, when they say it, you can learn from many coaches. The EuroLeague level of coaching is unbelievably high. So you can learn from everyone."

“If you look carefully and you listen carefully to what they say, how they say it, when they say it, you can learn from many coaches.”

Trinchieri, who happily uses the term “steal” to refer to the ideas he has adopted from other coaches, cited Zeljko Obradovic, the late Dusan Ivkovic and Gregg Popovich among the masterminds he has taken plays or strategy from. However, he stressed the fact that great ideas can really come from anywhere.

“There are many others who can really teach you or just provoke an effect of you thinking of how you can do things in a different way,” Trinchieri explained.

Because he had a different road into professional basketball, Trinchieri always carefully builds his coaching staff to make sure there are those who can challenge his thinking and those who can be a sounding board for his players.

“I always give great, great importance to the role of assistant coaches. You need a very versatile staff with different talents. I believe and I always have a head coach as a main assistant. Because I believe you need somebody who doesn’t think like you,” he stressed. “I am not a guy who likes somebody who says ‘Yes coach, you’re right’. Because it’s something that is not productive. The discussion can only lead to a better result. Even sometimes when we disagree, it’s good for our mental improvement and our overall improvement.”

Trinchieri’s current chief assistant coach is Slaven Rimac, who played in the EuroLeague and later won the Adriatic League as a head coach with Cibona Zagreb. His previous assistant was Adriano Vertemati, who arrived after a decade as the head coach of Italian side Treviglio and is now back in Italy as the head coach of Varese.

Another pivotal role on Trinchieri’s coaching staff is that of the player development coach: “He is the ultimate link between players as individuals and the coach. Because he has to know some things about players that the coach should not know. It’s not good that you know everything. Sometimes you need players to open up and, of course, a player will not open up the same way with a head coach because he will think, ‘if I say this, how is he going to see me? Maybe I will lose something in his eyes.’ So I strongly believe that you need a versatile staff, very talented with a lot of skills.”

Trinchieri understands that coaching is not for everyone and that his basketball background is unlike the players he works with, therefore he would never advise any of his players to follow in his footsteps, though he happily shares his experience as a tactician.

“I was not a high-level player, so when they ask me for details about coaching, I will always tell them the truth. But I will never answer ‘should I coach or not?’ Because there are many ways you can coach. You can be a great ex-player and maybe focus on coaching the game and have a staff that works more in practice. Because of course, you didn’t have time to study all the Xs and Os or how to prepare your week, how to prepare a game, how to prepare a practice. So you need professionals around you. I will be very straight, but I will never say you should do it or not do it.”

“I will never answer ‘should I coach or not?’ Because there are many ways you can coach.”

Even though he would never advise a player to go into coaching, there are some of his former players who Trinchieri already has his eyes on as future coaches. At the top of that list is a former EuroLeague champion.

“I am 100% sure and I hope that sooner or later Nikos Zisis will become part of a basketball organization where I work because he could be an unbelievable weapon for any kind of organization. He is so team-oriented. So generous towards the coach, the players, teammates. He sees so many things,” Trinchieri said. “When you stop playing, first you have to decide what you want to become and it’s always a very difficult process. But as soon as he will settle, I would really love to have him in a basketball organization. He can help so much.”

Don’t be surprised if you see Zisis team up with Trinchieri in the future. Because like a true mastermind, Trinchieri is always planning ahead.