The NBL Weekend Takeover for 24/25 November will see Maidstone Warriors take the reins of the NBL Instagram story.
We caught up with Warriors' Coach Ryan Penny ahead of their takeover weekend, in our latest Coach Spotlight feature.
Name: Ryan Penny
Team: Maidstone Warriors - Under 16 Boys (South II Regional)
What brought you into coaching?
Maidstone is a club that has given me a lot and I have grown up through their system so I wanted to give back to the club that has done so much for me. I also really wanted to help influence the youth in our local area and I feel that basketball is a fantastic tool to do this. All of that, together with a fierce love of basketball!
What were your original thoughts when you moved into coaching?
'This is tough and what have I got myself in to?'
Coaching can be very time-consuming and it can be very difficult to keep kids' attention! However, as I grew as a coach I started to love coaching and the challenges that go along with it!
What did you find most interesting to learn as a coach?
The fantastic thing about our game is that everyone has a different view on how we should play it, I find that amazing. There is no one defined way to play the game and you can learn so much from watching other coaches. I’m always keen to learn more and learn something new every day!
What was the most rewarding part of your coaching journey so far?
For me it’s the journey that Maidstone Warriors have been on over the past two seasons in the National Basketball League (NBL). This is only our second venture into the NBL and the first time we have done it for two years in a row. Last year we really struggled and it was a real learning curve, however the boys have really taken this on board and this year they are picking up wins; really competing and never giving in. We still have a really long road ahead but I am excited for the future of this club.
Which parts of coaching do you like the most?
Player development both on and off the court. Watching these guys grow has been amazing, having coached most of them since they were young and first starting basketball. They really surprise you every week with something new, the guy who was new to the sport or last off the bench could be your starter in a few months time and that’s what I love. At Warriors we also have what we like to call a basketball family, from the parents, players, coaching staff to all the volunteers at the club; its one big family and you always are made to feel at home.
Where are you now? How are you using your coaching skills?
I’m currently taking on the Head Coach role with our Under 16 Boys team, the only NBL team in our club setup. For my professional role I am a Sports Coordinator at Kent Union doing anything student sport-related in Canterbury! My coaching skills will always come in handy when working with students.
What is your coaching niche and why did you choose it?
Defence! Everything in my eyes stems from working hard on that end of the floor. Shots will fall or miss, but you can never let this side of the game slip! At Warriors we really value that.
What is your coaching vision for the next 2 years?
I would love to see Warriors have NBL teams throughout the age groups and not just at Under 16. However, we like to provide basketball for all, so it is important our development into the NBL can happen without losing our junior program encouraging people into the sport!
What is your favourite coaching question from athletes?
"How do I improve?"
I love this question, for me a player that is willing to improve and listen is coachable. I’m lucky to have a whole team of these types of guys!
What advice do you have for those coaches currently in training?
Never give up on it! There will be times when it’s frustrating and you feel like you are getting nowhere however it’s a long road and it always comes good!
What legacy would you like to leave behind you?
Someone who gave back to the club and someone that helped in his local community.
You can follow Coach Penny's progress this weekend when Maidstone Warriors takeover the NBL Instagram story!