Heidi VanDerveer Q&A
The words Coach and VanDerveer seem to fit together nicely. Whether itís Heidi in Seattle or Tara at Stanford, coaching just seems to run in the VanDerveer blood.
Heidi VanDerveer is in her sixth season as an assistant coach in the WNBA and her second under head coach Anne Donovan with the Storm. Sheís also had two head coaching stints in the WNBA, leading the Sacramento Monarchs in 1999 and the Minnesota Lynx in 2002.
She recently spoke with WNBA.comís Brian Martin about how she got into coaching, her road to Seattle and her role with the Storm.
Q. How did you become an assistant coach here in Seattle?
VanDerveer: Iíve worked in the league for the previous nine years as an assistant or head coach or scout. I talked to Anne at one point about a job when I was at Minnesota and I was interviewing for the head job. That wasnít great timing and then the opportunity just came around again. Iím very excited, I have a tremendous of respect for Anne and just wanted to be in a good situation and I found a good situation in Seattle.
Q. Can you describe the relationship you have with Anne Donovan?
VanDerveer: Our staff works great. Itís not just Anne, its (fellow assistant) Shelley (Patterson), all of our people work really well together. I think Anne sees the game very well and has a great understanding of what needs to get done. She relies on both Shelley and myself to give her insight and input in specific areas that we are responsible for, whether itís scouting or offense or defense. I think itís a great working relationship.
Q. What are your specific duties with the team?
VanDerveer: We split the scouting between Shelley and myself and I work primarily with the perimeter players and Shelley works with the post people and I watch our offense quite a bit and Shelley watches our defense quite a bit?
Q. Youíve had head coaching experience in this league, is that a goal of yours to get back to being a head coach?
VanDerveer: Sometimes when youíve been an assistant for a long time, you basically will do anything to be a head coach. In my situation, being a head coach a couple of times, if it comes about again at some point in time that will be great. And if not, Iím very content and enjoy the role I have and I know that if people do their jobs, theyíre all important. If you get a ring at the end of the year, it doesnít matter what ring it is, theyíre all the same.
Q. Is there some relief not having all of the head coaching duties?
VanDerveer: No doubt. I think you can look at the game differently; you can interact with the players differently. Obviously those 12 inches, one chair to the left or right, mean a big difference. But I think you take the wins and losses the same because if you have 100 percent investment in something, no matter what you are, and you take a lot of pride in your job, then when you win you feel it's important and if you lose you feel that part of it is your responsibility.
Q. What was it that got you into coaching in the first place?
VanDerveer: My sister. My sister is the basketball coach at Stanford and she kind of dragged me along to camp. I wanted to go to camp with her, I begged, and my father finally said yes and got her some new wheels for her car and got her new brakes and so we rolled out a long time ago Ė Iíd say 30 years ago and I think Iíd be pretty close Ė to Cathy Ayers Basketball Camp.
Q. What advice would you have for coaches working with younger players?
VanDerveer: Really concentrate on teaching them the game and to be positive and be constructive. People donít really grow personally by being yelled at. I think being positive and being excited, and enthusiasm is a big part of being successful, so I think really being enthusiastic and having a tremendous passion for the game and pass that along to younger people.