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The Nets ‘tele-coach’: how a top European shooting coach teaches from afar

Brose Bamberg

Add “tele-coaching” to the list of player development innovations the Nets have embraced. What’s a ‘tele-coach,” you might ask? Well, as Yanir Rubinstein of CloseUp360, explains, it’s “a unique arrangement” that has allowed an Austrian shooting coach to work with Nets players from afar, supplementing occasional visits to Brooklyn with video clips containing pointers for individual players. And for Stefan Weissenboeck and the Nets, it works.

“Stefan is different than a lot of coaches I’ve had,” Caris LeVert told Rubinstein. “He focuses on balance, even on how you grab the basketball, to how long my nails are. He’s detail-oriented. That’s why I like working with him. He’s a great instructor and teacher.”

“I think I have improved the form of my shot. He has helped me become confident in how I shoot,” Jarrett Allen added.

The Nets hired Weissenboeck last summer, as we reported, as a part-time employee. The Nets paid his German team, Brose Bamberg, a “rental fee” for his services. He worked with the Nets in the summer and agreed he’d travel to New York first during the summer, then again during the season to work individually with players.

Rubinstein described how that works ... and the role of “tele-coaching.”

He has continued to work full-time with Bamberg while flying to the U.S. every 4-6 weeks or so to spend several days doing targeted individual workouts with specific Nets players. In between these meetings, he keeps in touch both with Brooklyn’s players and coaches by sending them video clips with pointers.

“When he is here, we work on the things that he’s seen in me from the last month when he was gone,” Treveon Graham told CloseUp360. “And even when he’s gone, he sends the coaches or me clips, like ‘you didn’t jump high enough here’, ‘you weren’t balanced there,’ and it’s like he’s here.”

“I don’t think any player wants someone constantly pounding them on changing their shot, especially during the season,” Allen added. “That can be really detrimental to a player, so I think the front office has done a great job in the timing of him coming in.”

How’d this come to be? It was a combination of Weissenboeck’s growing reputation in Europe, working —and succeeding— with players like Tomas Satoransky and Jakob Poeltl, plus his personal connection to Chris Fleming, the Nets assistant who worked with him at Brose Bamberg, Germany’s most successful organization.

Weissenboeck told Rubinstein he has thoroughly enjoyed his work with the Nets, particularly LeVert who he helped during the two and a half months the Nets swingman was on the mend after dislocating his foot.

“It’s a huge, beautiful hope that you can give people,” Weissenboeck said. “‘Hey listen, ‘You can do it, you can come back, I was there, I had the same thing and I got back to playing.’ These are experiences I was able to pass on and try to help people.”

Also, the Nets players were willing to take his advice to heart despite the seemingly odd arrangement. The proof for Graham was simply observing Weissenboeck’s own shot.

“For one, by showing me his shot right there,” Graham noted. “Because if you can’t shoot, how can I know I can trust you? His shot is flawless. Gave me confidence that he knows what he’s doing. Stories as well—other coaches have told me about him. Nothing but good reviews when I asked people about him.”

As we’ve noted before, the Nets have been willing to go beyond traditional thinking when it comes to coaching. They will bring in young European coaches to work with the summer league roster and have NBA veteran coaches like Jeff Hornacek hang around HSS and help out players. Weissenboeck’s “tele-coaching” arrangement may be unique, but for Brooklyn, it’s just another wrinkle in the player development toolkit.