In a major shift towards professionalism, Bhutan Basketball Federation (BBF) has started coaching aspiring basketball players to induct in to the national team.

The training has started in Thimphu about two weeks ago.

BBF coach Tshewang Norbu said that the selection of players for the national team in past were chosen random ly but with such new procedure, they hope to find good players to represent Bhutan in any international game in future.

A five-member national basketball team selection committee consisting of the general secretary of Bhutan Basketball Federation, head coach of the BBF, Bhutan Olympic Committee secretary general, vice president of Bhutan Golf Federation, and planning officer of BBF was formed recently.

There are 26 players in under-12, 13 players in under-14, and 13 players in the under-16 category.

The selection process begins with coaching in four age groups: under-12, under-14, under-16, and under-18.

The officials said those selected have the opportunity to upgrade to the next higher level after every two years provided they perform well.

Coaching classes start after school hours from 5pm to 7pm at Changlimithang outdoor basketball court on their designated days for each particular age group.

Players start with basic fundamentals of the game such as ball handling, shooting, and defending, and then progress to more advanced skills.

Another coach, Tshewang Dema said that they conduct coaching only after school hours because players have to focus on their studies.

“During the summer and winter holidays, they’ll get full time training,” she said.

Bhutanese coaches were trained by the head coach, Kim Ki Yong from South Korea.

They train the young players supervised by the head coach.

BBF has plans to organize a national tournament during which they will select players from the dzongkhags for further coaching and training.

Tashi Chophel