What do you do when faced with online school in the middle of an ongoing pandemic? You travel overseas to train in the sport you love, of course. For a Brazilian teen that sport is basketball and the much-sought-after coach and trainer is Shooting For Success’ own Coach David Jones.
Augusto Kolling is a 14-year-old student athlete living in Brazil. In September, the baller packed his bags and favorite basketball and headed for San Antonio to improve on his basketball skills.
The teen has been training with Shooting For Success ever since.
“How you play basketball here in America is different from how we play in Brazil,” said Kolling. “I am eager to learn and get better.”
Kolling trains one-on-one with Jones twice a week. Their private training session runs about an hour. “We do a combination workout that is part American style basketball and part European style with FIBA rules,” Jones said. On the more American side, Jones said he is looking to focus on Kolling’s footwork and ball handling. “We move fast here,” said Jones. “I want him to be able to do a quick read and react when he’s on the court.”
But it’s not only one-on-one instruction Kolling is getting from Jones. The young man from Brazil has also had an opportunity to practice and play with Jones’ 15U competitive club team. He and team workout together several times a week and usually play a game on the weekend.
“They’re good,” Kolling remarked. Kolling took particular notice to the fact that Shooting For Success players are accustomed to getting possession of the ball quickly, taking off even faster, and putting up the shot.
It is fast-paced. It’s non-stop.
In fact, the first few practices left Kolling gassed. Whereas in Brazil, Kolling described a more all-team-style of play which includes more passing of the ball.
“His first few times on the court with our guys was a bit of a shock, I think, ” said Jones. “He looked and waited for someone to pass him the ball and it just didn’t happen.” But Jones wants Kolling to be challenged. And to rise to the challenge.
But that’s not to say Kolling is a fish out of water. Having played professional basketball for over thirteen years throughout the world and Europe, Jones’ approach to coaching and game strategy stems from his experience playing overseas and FIBA basketball. So there is a level of comfort for Kolling, too. “We have one play with 20-plus options which is more like how I used to play while in Germany and throughout Europe, ” detailed Jones.
And as the weeks pass, Kolling is growing ever more comfortable and confident on the court. Cultivating that confidence are the San Antonio players who have welcomed Kolling with open arms. They share pieces of their culture on and off the court. Kolling has come love Six Flags Fiesta Texas and the Cheesecake Factory.
Kolling will return to Brazil mid-November. When he does, he will go home as a basketball player who likely views the game and life a little differently. “My teammates in Brazil are so jealous of this experience I’m having,” laughed Kolling. “I feel very fortunate to have found Coach DJ.”
Kolling is already planning a future trip back to San Antonio and Shooting For Success.