ARARAT Redbacks assistant coach Rhys Burger knows local basketball.
He has been involved in the local squads in Ararat and Ballarat since his under 12 days, giving him considerable experience now he's 38-years-old.
The engineering technician stepped in as assistant coach last year after coach Marcus Jenkins took over the team's reins.
"I've been assistant since he started, so it's been really good so far," Burger said.
"I haven't coached a senior team before - I've done juniors, coaching kids and that sort of stuff, but no serious senior teams so it's been quite an eye-opener.
"I've learned a lot from Marcus and how he goes about things."
Burger is also playing this season.
"It's been pretty full on, training with all the guys as well as doing the other side of it and assisting Marcus," he said.
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"It started last year; I was filling in when we got short so I'd come and play and I'd train with the guys to keep my fitness up. This year I've taken it more seriously.
"I thought we might be a little bit short of players (this season) so they sort of put it on me to get a bit fitter and jump in to help with numbers, so I guess Marcus sees me as good enough to be in the team and he's happy for me to get in and play as well."
But Burger said he's happy taking a back seat role and letting newer players get minutes.
"I'm getting a bit older and a bit slower - I'm the oldest one out there at the moment - so I take more of a support role," he said.
"I'm not out there to be the best and my glory days are well behind me, but I'm happy to help out and provide a little bit of guidance and mental toughness to help the guys out for parts of the game if we need a steady hand.
"I'd much rather they be the stars than me; I'd rather just be there to help them out."
There are two young players in particular Burger tries to coach - his 14-year-old daughter Paige and his 12-year-old son Liam.
"Paige has only just taken (basketball) up but Liam has been playing since he was younger, so I help them as well," Burger said.
Coaching your own children comes with its own set of challenges though - Burger said he's not sure they take his advice seriously at times.
"I think they do but sometimes I wonder whether it's better having someone else coach them than me," he said.
Burger said he'll likely continue playing "as long as the body allows" him.
"It really depends on if we can get a lot of juniors into the system," he said.
"If there are a lot of juniors I'm more than happy to stand aside and do the coaching and learn more. I will play it by ear.
"The fact is that it's really good the Redbacks are back into it now.
"The last time we had a Redbacks side in the men's, I was about 17 or 18. So all that time I've missed out on playing the men's competition and now we we've got it back up and running, which is really good."
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