October 04, 2023

HER SIDE OF THE COURT | ‘For my community’: Coach Mau Belen shares advice for female coaches

HER SIDE OF THE COURT | ‘For my community’: Coach Mau Belen shares advice for female coaches
Instagram/Mau Belen | Art by Royce Nicdao

Coach Mau Belen is building her empire. Having won all three grand championships of the PBA 3x3 so far, Belen has built a dynasty that is impressive in itself—and even more meaningful considering that she is the first and only female coach the PBA has ever seen.

Recently she has become a consultant for the FEU Tamaraws, which dominated the UAAP high school 3X3 basketball tournament, and is concurrently the vice president of WMovement, a movement that is mounting "for women, by women" tournaments.

But it’s not enough for Belen to succeed. She wants other female coaches to reach the same heights, too. Here’s her advice for all players considering coaching as a career, or coaches looking to take their career to the next level:

1. Find your specialty

"If you want to get into coaching, just like doctors, find your specialization. Are you gonna be a defensive coach, skills coach, offensive coach? Do you have a special talent as a motivator? Are you gonna be the strength and conditioning coach, PT?" she asks on the Go Hard Girls podcast.

Belen also emphasizes the importance of learning video scouting and statistics, which she feels is lacking in the coaching landscape.

“If you want to gain experience, you can start by approaching your college team, or your high school team,” says Belen, who once coached for Assumption College.

2. Your emotions are your advantage

Women are often criticized in male-dominated spaces for being “emotional,” but Belen says that this is unfair. Oftentimes, she says, she has been labeled “emotional” and “aggressive” despite being just as vocal and expressive as her male coaches.

Rather than worry about being judged and hiding your emotions, Belen says women can lean into emotions as their advantage. She says women excel at tapping into the emotions of their players and building the bond between player and coach, which is crucial in sports.

"When we go to war, we will do everything for each other. Because if one falls, we all fall,” she says of her TNT 3x3 team.

She adds: “I’m not saying walang ganun sa mga male coaches, but I think when I look at women coaches, including my own coaches throughout my career? The bond we have is amazing."

3. Your journey is bigger than basketball

Belen also emphasizes the responsibility of female coaches to see their careers through the lens of the women's movement.

"Honestly, I had no idea at first that I'm about to change the game. But when I got the job [at TNT], suddenly my emails, my Messenger, my Viber, my WhatsApp started receiving messages from strangers, telling me that they got inspired by my story, they want to be like me or 'yung passion sa heart nila was woken up by this event in my life,” Belen recalls.

Belen hopes women coaches can collaborate and contribute towards the greater empowerment of women in sports.

She says, “I think that's where I feel some of the responsibility on my shoulderthat whatever I'm doing, someone is looking. I'm not just representing myself anymore. It's really for my community."