The coach of the first team of the CTC Élan Aveyron basketball (National 3 women), Nicolas Flottes, wants to start a new cycle after two white seasons. For the one that begins on Saturday, September 18 (8 p.m.), in Gimont, he aims for the middle of the table.
You will be entering your fourth season as a first team coach.
I project myself here, but if I feel like I’m no longer the man for the job, I’ll go. I have reached the end of the first three-year cycle. The start of last season (stopped after three matches because of the pandemic) made me feel that I had come to the end because we had started very badly, it stank … wear out. But the health crisis allowed me to take this famous step back that everyone is talking about and to change things in my speech, my way of approaching my job … With my personal projects alongside, I was also able to have less head in the handlebars.
How do you approach this new cycle?
Before starting this new exercise, I don’t feel tired. I am very happy to have young people to integrate and to find the old ones. We experienced something super strong with the rise in May 2019 (at the end of its first season), which was a founding element. The following season, we stayed in N3 four days from the end. The second year after accession is still the most difficult and we were in the middle of it at the end of 2020. But of the twelve players who experienced the rise, there are only six left, so now we have to move on. and create new momentum. Between the rookies of last year and those of this summer, it really gives one.
Are you satisfied with the transfer window?
We are better armed than in previous seasons. In quantity, we went from eleven to thirteen players (80% of the workforce was trained at the club) and I can bring up two U18s who are not bad. Qualitatively, it is more complete on each position. We are doing well with only one start, that of Charline Noubel (studies), a rear who was in the rotation. On the arrivals side, we took three players: the leader Justine Goulignac (17), the winger Ludivine Gamba (18) and the strong winger Alizée Pélopidas (23). The first comes from Carmaux, where she made three N2 matches, the second was at Montech, in the Prenationale, and the last really has the N3 experience to have played there with Carqueiranne. She was in the training centers of Chalon-sur-Saône and Charnay-lès-Mâcon, doing a bit of N1 there. We expect Alizée to get us out of difficult situations, especially in attack since she is strong in the one-on-one. It is a profile that we were missing.
But she’s already hurt …
Alizée suffered a sprained ankle after only two minutes during the last friendly, Friday, against Carmaux (N2). But it is a recruit who arrived in poor shape, with a few extra pounds, and late, on August 23 or 24, because she had had the Covid. She should miss the next two matches and will return to square one for her preparation. But she will be the only absent on Saturday (8 p.m.), in Gimont. We were rather spared because a lot of N2 coaches told me that they had suffered a real massacre. We do not realize the effect that a stop of a year and a half can have on the body of an athlete.
Are your players physically ready?
We resumed early, August 4th. Almost everyone was able to do five or six individual training sessions before the collective recovery to avoid injuries. We are lucky to have a physiotherapist, Robin Jeansou, who has been following the team for two years, so we were able to limit the damage thanks to him. On a physical level, we are ready, but in the game, there is still a lot of things to improve. We only had two and a half friendlies. And half because Limoges planted us for the last friendly, the most important, which we replaced by a half of meeting without counting the points Friday, against Carmaux, and another of training. We won the first preparation match 73-38 against Cunac-Lescure (Prénationale), on August 30, but lost 72-55 the second against Tournefeuille (N3), on September 4. I am satisfied with this preparation and the last opposition reassured me on certain tactical points.
What is your goal this season?
It is to keep quiet and to finish sixth (out of twelve). It is a very homogeneous group in which the maintenance is played out with ten victories out of 22 matches, against eight or nine in the others. We will be seven teams to fight to avoid relegation and there are four that will go down, so we will have to settle quickly.
Your start to exercise will not be easy …
We have a big, big start to the championship with the start of a trip to Gimont on Saturday (8 pm), favorite for the title with Chalosse. I take it as a dress rehearsal because we’re going to go without pressure. I’m more focused on the Hagetmau reception on September 26 (3:30 p.m.), which is acceptable. Especially since we can’t wait to find our supporters for our first official home match since February 14, 2020. Behind it, it will be difficult to win at Grandfonds and do the same at home against Chalosse then at Cugnaux, a top 4 team.