Rich Dalatri was the first full time strength and conditioning coach in the N.B.A. when the New Jersey Nets hired him in 1987. He set the ground work for player development done in the N.B.A., both in season, and off season. His off season manual for his players has been used by countless basketball coaches in the USA and Europe as a guideline for their own programs over the years. He coached in the NBA for 21 seasons, 19 with the New Jersey Nets, and 25 seasons in professional basketball overall. There was little or no player development in the N.B.A before Rich started with players on athletic and skill development, before and after practices and games. What you see today on courts in every arena, and practice court was born during his early years in the N.B.A. In addition to his two stints with the Nets, 1987-92, and 1997-2011, Dalatri also worked as an assistant coach/player development for the Cleveland Cavaliers for two seasons. In 1985 Rich was one of 12 coaches from North and South America to be invited to study at the Soviet Institute of Sport, in Moscow, USSR. It was the first program of its kind, and since has expanded to studies in other European countries. The courses were taught by the leading experts of the Soviet sports machine that ruled almost all sports during that period of time.
In 1986 Rich became one of the first coaches in the world to become a Certified Expert, when the National Strength and Conditioning Association gave a Certification exam for the first time. In 1992 Rich ventured to Europe, becoming one of the only Americans to be hired as an Athletic Coach. His first experience was with Phonola Caserta, and then with Fortitudo Bologna in 1996. Both teams were in the Italian A-1 league. Rich spent two seasons with both teams. In Italy he introduced a new system of training for basketball. His workouts were all sports specific to basketball, much different, than the methods used prior to his arrival, which were Soccer programs used by the basketball teams.
The system took off and is the norm in Europe today. This method caught the eyes of the Italian National Team who appointed him Athletic Coach for their National Team in 2001. The National Team had some its greatest moments during his tenure, winning a Bronze Medal at the 2003 European Championships, in Stockholm, Sweden, and a Silver Medal at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. The Italian Basketball Federation asked Rich to develop a Certification Program for basketball coaches to ensure proper instruction in the player development field. He designed and presented the first two courses in the first two years of the program. He also wrote the text book used by the course, and also by some University classes in Italy.
The system he has designed for basketball development utilizes specific team and individual skill situations to improve the player’s athletic ability as a basketball player. It also encompasses functional strength development, Pilates, speed development, explosive power, foot speed, and flexibility. Dalatri works extensively in Europe during the off seasons conducting clinics and camps, and working with teams to help with their programs for player development. Armani Olimpia Milano, Montepaschi Siena, Benetton Treviso, Real Madrid, and Khimki Moscow are some of Europe’s top teams which he consulted with for athletic development programs.
Clinic’s in which he was a featured speaker include, 1991 European Championships – Rome, Italy, and South American Basketball Clinic – Buenos Aires, Argentina. Rich’s extensive knowledge of the European game helped the Nets’ scouting system in the search for European talent. His countless contacts and access to practices, and information gave his team an edge in the booming European market. In 2011 he was appointed assistant coach for the Ukrainian National Basketball Team. The team competed in the 2011 European Championships, and in 2012 qualified for the 2013 European Championships by going 6-2 and finishing second in their group. In the 2013 European Championships the Ukrainians qualified for the World Championships in 2014. Their qualification surprised the whole basketball world, and thrust them into the elite status of World basketball. Rich’s resume also includes serving as Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Mississippi from 1983 – 86, working for the New York Giants from 1988 – 91, personal trainer for recording artist, and actor Jon Bon Jovi, assistant basketball coach/player development for the Rutgers University basketball team during the 2014, 2015 seasons, and most recently the Technical Director of the NBA Elite Academy in Hangzhou, China. Currently, Rich is a licensed Fusionetcs Practitioner working in private practice.