SportsMiguel Méndez, new coach of the women's basketball team: "We work with...

Miguel Méndez, new coach of the women’s basketball team: “We work with people, not with machines”

Miguel Méndez (Vigo, 54 years old) is now officially the new coach of the women’s basketball team. The technician of the almighty Russian Yekaterinburg, champion of the Euroleague in the last three editions, takes over from Lucas Mondelo, dismissed after the Tokyo Games for “not achieving the sporting objectives”, after nine years and seven medals in that cycle. Méndez signs until the 2024 Games and will combine his role as coach with that of coach in Russia of the best team in Europe. His debut at the top of the absolute will take place in November in the first qualifying window for the 2023 European Championship. defense, use the assets we have and be together, with the team play that has characterized Spanish basketball, “he said as a letter of introduction, before praising the sports heritage it receives.


“The trajectory of Lucas [Mondelo] the selection can only be rated as outstanding. For many years, in the last decade especially, several generations of players of the highest level have coincided. Players with a personality, a winning character and a talent that had not been seen before. They have been in these years the best roster of European basketball. And Lucas Mondelo has been an added value to that generation of players. It has even been the destabilizing factor in many of the decisive matches that this team has played, ”analyzed Méndez, who did not want to assess the circumstances of Mondelo’s departure, after the testimonies of two pillars of the team such as Marta Xargay and Anna Cruz on the alleged personal mistreatment of the preparer. “Not everything goes to win and winning cannot justify everything. The medals cannot be so expensive, “said Cruz in his account of the experience with Mondelo as coach. “There are limits that should never be crossed and he took me to a very heavy”Said Xargay, who reported having suffered bulimia as a result of the coach’s treatment.

“If I would like to acknowledge the trajectory of the team and the staff technical in these years. The incredible legacy that he leaves us for the history of basketball, ”said Méndez, who, at the same time, emphasized“ people management ”in his first words as a coach. “Managing human groups is a fundamental part of our work. It is a must. We work with people and managing people is the hardest part of this job. If people were machines, putting the corresponding program would give the results and it is not like that. We are all different ”, he pointed out first. “In the national team I do not expect more complications than I have had in other clubs. I will carry my way of acting to the end. I will try to be as natural as possible and always tell the truth to the players. That is one of my maxims, like it or not, to tell the players my truth. They appreciate it, ”he added later.

Several questions ran through the rest of the questions to the new coach. At what point is the generational change that started this summer? “We will go game by game,” Méndez resolved. “Young people with a lot of physical and technical talent are coming to the team, who have triumphed in training categories, and who are taking that step to the elite very naturally. Hopefully in that impasse time needed by the most expert players to have the illusion of being in the team and helping the young women. Developing that ambition of young women to become important players is the work we have in these years to perform at the best in the 2023 European Championship and the 2024 Games ″, he completed. Who is called to be the leader of the team? They asked her later. “Leaders are very important. Players like Alba Torrens and Silvia Domínguez are the veterans who can pull the car at first and, quickly, we will look for more leaders among the young women, leaders on and off the court who will appear spontaneously ”, analyzed Méndez, who later, and referring to the name of Anna Cruz and her options to return to the team, she explained her group approach. “All the players who show their desire to play for the national team and are available, regardless of their age, can be. Those that have been and those that due to circumstances have not been. I have my team idea and I hope, over time, not in this first window in which there will be a lot of commitment to continuity, to be able to develop it. I hope there are players who have already been. The doors of my team are open to all players who show their ability. I have no blacklist. I arrive absolutely clean ”, concluded Méndez.

“Getting excited again has been simple,” said Jorge Garbajosa, who presented Méndez as a man of the house for his long work in training categories (five medals with the U-18 and U-20 teams) and a historic of the Women’s League (where he managed Celta de Vigo between 2000 and 2011, before starting his international journey). “We strive to meet ever more ambitious challenges. There is pressure, of course. But it is what the players are looking for. Here no player comes to have fun for the national team. They come to compete to the fullest, to seek the most ambitious objectives and to live together in a human group that comes together every summer to achieve the maximum. A professional athlete always has pressure, but they enjoy competing to be at the top ”, developed the president of the FEB. “Miguel Méndez is an experienced coach who knows what he’s up against. We have the best commander in command for the next three years. It is a pride and an illusion that he has accepted the challenge ”, Garbajosa completed.

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