Coach rolls on to Rio

Adam Deans, Brad Ness and Ben Ettridge. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d425649
Adam Deans, Brad Ness and Ben Ettridge. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d425649

But it was his father and Paralympian Len who inspired the Yokine resident to take his talents in a different direction.

‘I played for the State Basketball League for more than 10 years, so when it came time to hang up the boots I decided to get into coaching,’ Ettridge said.

‘I didn’t really want to coach the guys I had been playing with so I looked into coaching wheelchair basketball.’

In 2007, he became coach of Australia’s wheelchair basketball team the Rollers, who are based in Claremont.

In 2008, he led them to victory at the Paralympic Games in Beijing and silver in London four years later.

‘It was the ultimate success. I joined the team just before the games so I knew most of the boys and saw how hard they had worked, so it was just amazing,’ Ettridge said.

He has also coached winning seasons for the National Wheelchair Basketball League’s Perth Wheelcats and able-bodied Wanneroo Wolves.

‘The level of commitment and sacrifice that these guys who have full-time jobs, families and on top of that a disability make for their country is unbelievable and you can’t help but admire it,’ Etteridge said.

‘It’s made me really appreciate all the opportunities I’ve been given.’

Etteridge and the Rollers are now focusing on winning their next major competition in Tokyo in November and qualifying for the Paralympics in Rio next year.