Stawell Wildcats' coach Alistair Beard is on a long road to recovery after knee surgery 12 months ago.
Standing on the sidelines of the sport he loves, Beard has taken the coaching role at the newly reformed Wildcats in his stride.
Beard said the biggest challenge he has found was changing the mindset of the players.
"Because CBL hasn't been around for a few years, most of the players in the team are the best players in their domestic competition," he said.
"My biggest challenge is to get those players to understand they don't need to do it all. They don't have to be that best player on the court and perform at a peak level every week.
"CBL basketball is more team orientated. The good teams don't rely on just one or two players. It's a collective team effort. They get in there and fight for each other."
Beard said he has really enjoyed watching the players grow throughout the season.
"There's a couple of players who haven't been exposed to the standard of basketball which is CBL," he said.
"The development of those players is phenomenal.
"We haven't had a lack of players which has been nice as a coach - it shows the players are there for the future.
"Everyone can see the scores, but hopefully people can understand the passion of the players and the development of them as basketballers."
Beard started his basketball career in Cobden when he was about six years of age.
"I played in under-10s and was the tallest on the court," he said.
"I've always been fairly tall during juniors which, of course, was an advantage.
"I always played a few years ahead of schedule."
From about 12-13 years old, Beard as a member of a division two side in Warrnambool.
"As time went on to grow my basketball career became harder," he said.
"To play at a higher level would mean I had to travel the round trip to Warrnambool an extra two nights a week. It was tough to find the time to play there so we went down to Timboon and play in the men's competition there."
Beard continued to play both basketball and football until one fateful day at pre-season football training.
"It was my last year of under-18s and I ruined my left ankle," Beard said.
"I came down and landed on a guys ankle and went completely over on my own. I had two options of surgery or 12 months off sport with rehab. At the time, I didn't really like the idea of surgery so I took time away from all sport.
"I didn't play basketball for two or three years while at university."
Beard rejoined the sport in a social A Grade team in Ballarat.
"After three years of not touching a basketball I started again," he said.
"It started to get a bit more serious and I was headhunted to play in B Grade as well. I was approached to coach a young C Grade team and help mentor and develop them."
After a few seasons, the C Grade team advanced through the ranks and played in the A2 competition in Ballarat.
"We also started playing in some tournaments across the state as well," Beard said.
"There is a tournament in a few weeks which I was invited to bring a team two but we have a CBL game scheduled for the same weekend.
"It would have been a great opportunity to get my Ballarat boys together with the Stawell boys and make a great weekend out of it. It's something we will look at into the future."
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