Pedro Martinez Sanchez is the head coach of Gran Canaria in the Spanish ACB. The 49 year old Barcelona native began his career with Joventut Badalona: he won three consecutive titles with the junior team under his tenure. In 1990, Martinez at only 28 was asked to take the helm of the pro team: he quickly stepped up to the challenge, leading Joventut to the 1990 Korac Cup (former european competition) and overwhelming the Italian team Scavolini Pesaro in the finals. Martinez in his long and successful career has coached Manresa, Salamanca, Girona, Granada, Ourense, Tenerife and Gran Canaria.
Coach Martinez Sanchez talked to Basketball Telegraph columnist Dr FingerRoll about his career and many other topics of Spanish basketball.
Coach, your career is long and successful. Do you still remember the first time you thought that basketball was going to be your life?
For me it was simply the arrival of a process. I began my career coaching the youth teams of Joventut Badalona and when I started having some success coaching young players I started to think that basketball could become my job, my profession. You see, for me it has never been a goal in the beginning, like I had to reach no matter what, it was more the consequence of my dedication to the game.
Can you describe to our readers what are the qualities that a young coach has to posses to become a legit professional?
There are many aspects, but I would love to stress out a few of them randomly: perseverance, common sense, ability to relate and team-work, patience and empathy. And, well, you would also need technical and tactical knowledge of the game, but these two qualities are the easiest to achieve and, believe me, not the most important ones..
Like you told us, you started your career coaching in the youth program of Joventut Badalona: what are the skills you see in a kid that make you think he can play?
Well, of course, his body frame, then it's very important to notice if it comes easy to him to pass the ball, to move without the ball and to score. Needless to say, it is also very important that the kid is able to focus on what he is doing and his work ethic is of paramount importance. Last but not least I would like to mention the family background, which is something that usually plays a big role in the development of a player's personality and attitude, on and off the court.
You are now the head coach of Gran Canaria in the strong ACB. Has the world economical crisis affected the Spanish teams dramatically?
Well, like in every business, the international crisis has affected ACB either, but I have to say that the work the League has done through the years made the teams stronger and ready to work with financial difficulties. The spanish teams have professional structures that proved to be strong and solid enough to resist the financial dwindlings of the budgets. Currently there are quite a few teams facing economical problems but I would say that the overall future of the League is solid.
In Gran Canaria's roster there are Spanish players and American players. Some ballers are young and some experienced of European basketball. How can a coach find the right chemistry among guys with different backgrounds and ages?
Like you said, we basically have just American players and Spanish players. We always try to avoid having guys with too many different nationalities on our roster and most important, this is our policy, we try to keep at least a small group of players from one year to the next, because this is crucial to me for building a program and a team with common and known rules. I do believe in this and I will also try to carry on some values that mark my philosphy as a coach through the teams.
Your career has never brought you to coach away from Spain. Have you had any opportunities to work abroad?
Honestly, I never had the opportunity to coach abroad. I guess that Spanish coaches don't have a very good reputation outside Spain. When I was younger I hoped I could work in France or Italy and I really wanted to try and live that experience. Unfortunately, I doubt this is something that it's going to happen in my future. But you never know.