• Coach E

Interview with Pro Basketball Player and GB Captain Myles Hesson!

Hey everyone, so this weeks interview is with one of my former players. GB Basketball Captain and professional basketball players Myles Hesson! He now plays against some of the best players in the world but I had the privilege of coaching him while I was Head Coach at the University of Wolverhampton. I was offered the job after I finished my degree and it was my first paid coaching gig so imagine my luck when at open trails Myles walked in the door. He wasn’t the big name he is now, he was at the start of his career. His talent and ability then was the best I’ve ever coached. His natural athleticism, passion for the game and eagerness to learn was just some of the abilities that helped the team win the BUCS Midlands Conference that season. I caught up with Myles to talk about his journey to becoming a pro basketball player so without further ado let’s get into it.

Ok so first question. Tell me about your journey since I coached you at uni to becoming a pro and captaining GB?

After dropping out of uni, I signed to play the British Basketball League (BBL) for the Essex Pirates, which included a full scholarship to attend the University of East London. I played there for one season before moving to another BBL team, Mersey Tigers. I played well for the Tigers and was named in the All British starting 5 at the end of that season.

I then hired an agent in the hopes of finding a team in Europe, this wasn't to be the case, the agent I signed with didn't find me any jobs outside of the UK. I sent out an email to every coach or person I thought could help and luckily was able to get a try out with a third division (Pro B) team Weißenhorn Youngstars in Germany. I played and dominated the Pro B for just over half a season before I was asked to sign for the First Division (Beko BBL)(Eurocup) team Ratiopharm Ulm, it was to replace an injured player until the end of the season so playing time was limited.

The next season I signed for a second division team (Pro A) Giessen 46ers, I had a good year and was named Forward of the year. I returned to the first division the following season for Bremerhaven.

I have been in the first division in France for the last 5 seasons. I have played for Dijon, Gravelines (fiba Europe Cup), Nanterre (Champions League), and currently play for Elan Chalon/Saone.

Next question, along your journey have you had any setbacks? For example, injuries or playing for teams that didn’t work out for you? If so, how did you overcome them?

Yes, I have been quite unlucky when it comes to injuries. I broke my ankle whilst playing for Essex, dislocated my shoulder and my toe (separate occasions) whilst playing for Giessen. Broke my tibia whilst playing for Gravelines which required surgery, which ended up being the wrong type of surgery for the type of fracture I had, so then it rebroke the next season whilst playing for Nanterre. Thankfully I have been somewhat healthy since then.

Injuries are definitely a tough thing to go through as an athlete. I was lucky to have friends and family around me to keep me going through the toughest times. Once you come back from something once it makes it easier the next time round.

What’s it like playing in a different country?

It’s been pretty easy for me living abroad, I’ve been quite lucky with playing in Germany and France. The language barrier is pretty non existent, practices are mostly in English and you pick up a few words here and there. I've tried my best to learn the languages as much as I can, so understanding my coaches and teammates is easier, and general life around the city is easier e.g going shopping or to a restaurant. There is often a lot of down time between practices, depending on what type of coach and training schedule you get so spending time with family and friends isn't too restricted. I usually get to go home once or twice a season, depending on the game schedule.

During the season what does a normal training week look like?

A normal week with only one game would start:

Monday- weights/skills/shooting in the morning … team practice in the evening

Tuesday - Optional weights/skills/shooting in the morning ... team practice in the evening

Wednesday - Team Practice in the morning

Thursday - Shooting in the morning… team practice in the evening

Friday - Travel/Team Practice

Saturday - Game

Sunday - Off Day

In the off season how do you prepare your body for the season ahead?

Yeah the off season is a chance to put in a lot of individual work, I try to train twice a day, conditioning/lifting and on court skills work. I don't change what I eat that much I just try to maintain a good weight and stay in good physical condition so preseason isn't such a shock.

You must burn a lot of calories with all your training and games. Do you have a strict diet or anything?

No I don't have a specific diet, I eat normal foods/snacks, and just try to maintain a good playing weight during the season.

I know from coaching you years ago, but anyone who has watched you play can tell you are a very athletic and explosive player. Do you do any specific jumping or explosive exercises to help with your vertical jump?

No I don’t do any plyometrics or lift crazy weights. When I was younger, I was just obsessed with wanting to dunk. So whenever I got the chance to try I would just keep trying to touch the net, then the rim and just jump higher and higher. Jumping with a medicine ball was probably the most I did in the gym, I’ve never been a fan of heavy squats or deadlifts.

What age did you start playing basketball and how did you get into it?

I started playing when I was 14. I was kind of falling out of love with football which was the sport I used to play from an early age. I developed asthma when I was about 11/12 so it was becoming difficult for me to play football outside as I was constantly having to sub out of games after shortness of breath. Basketball was something I always played in the garden with my older brothers and in the playground at secondary school. The rules of being able to sub in and out of games was ideal for me because when I would have an asthma attack or feel one coming, I could sub out, recover and continue, unlike football. Through a friend at school and a local team running a one off session at my school I joined the City of Birmingham Basketball Club and my organised basketball journey started from there.

What’s it like to represent GB?

It’s a dream come true, playing for GB for the first time was one of the proudest moments of my life and I cherish it every time I get the chance to.

Lastly what words of advice would you give any players looking to become a professional basketball player?

Work hard/smart. Understand what type of player you are and develop the skills you need to make any team you play on better. You have to love what you do and have fun.

I would like to thank Myles for taking time out of his schedule to do this interview. I’m sure a lot of you will find what he had to say very interesting and useful. Some of you out there might even be thinking of trying to play pro basketball and if so I hope this insight into Myles life has given you a good look at what it takes to become a pro player. Lastly I would like to wish Myles all the best with his basketball career and I look forward to watching him next season….whenever that might be!

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Keep evolving

Coach E.

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