UK Coaching has launched the second ever Coaching Week this week by making a #GreatCoachingPledge to help coaches across the nation benefit their communities. To help celebrate, we asked some of the UK's best basketball coaches and players to answer some coaching questions.
As the week winds down, we caught up with Reading Rockets and GB U18 Men's coach, Alan Keane in our latest Coaching Week Spotlight interview.
COACHing week SPOTLIGHT
Name: Alan Keane
Team: Reading Rockets/JMA Academy/GB U18 Men
Tell us a little about your coaching background?
My coaching journey at the performance level started with the London Regional level and continued from there through the national team pathway. I was an assistant coach with the national team U15, U16 and U18. From there I went on to head coach the England and GB U16 and U18 teams at the European Championships while also being an assistant coach with England Men at the Commonwealth Games 2018.
What inspired you to get into coaching?
I can’t point to one single reason why I got into coaching. However, I can look back on having some truly inspirational and very forward thinking coaches as a junior player. A passion for the sport and a strong desire to help others could have gone a long way towards my involvement in coaching.
What were your original thoughts when you moved into coaching?
Original thoughts were full of excitement and a desire to do more than I was capable of doing. A hunger to soak up as much as I could early on had me attending camps, clinics and coaching conference up and down the country and online. I remember driving up and down to Manchester from London for four days in row just to sit and watch the England U18 team practice from the balcony of a sports hall. The seven-hour round trip each day was a blur as my head was consumed with what I was learning. Those were great days.
What have you found most interesting to learn as a coach?
There are too many things to mention to say what I found most interesting to learn. That sentence alone answers the question. Coaching is so diverse, dynamic and ever evolving, that to choose one element is doing the profession a disservice. Each day, player, team, practice, game and season brings different challenges and the excitement for me is in trying to grow and develop with the player and find new and innovative ways to tackle those challenges. Currently I am incredibly intrigued and focused on developing my psychological understanding of the profession and establishing effective learning environments where players can self-manage and self-regulate in order to maximise their potential.
What has been the most rewarding part of your coaching journey so far?
The most rewarding part of the journey so far has been the fantastic relationships I have been blessed with each year. These relationships are incredibly unique as they evolve with time and can survive and flourish under the testing conditions of a performance level environment. Relationships with assistant coaches, colleagues, team managers, physiotherapists, strength and conditioning coaches are no different. Some of my closest friends came about through the domain of coaching and team involvement.
Which parts of coaching do you like the most?
During the season, I absolutely love team training. However, nothing excites me more than coaching a close fought game and the entire European Championships. The preparation, game planning, collective efforts to execute and adapt to what each game ask of you is most enjoyable. Getting players to a level whereby they can self-manage, support and challenge each other in live play is very satisfying to observe.
What is your greatest strength as a coach?
My desire to keeping learning and growing as a coach.
Where are you now? And what is your coaching vision for the future?
Currently I head coach the GB U18 team, Reading Rockets NBL Men’s team and JMA Academy. Coaching vision for the future I can’t say exactly. I do know the journey will continue, in what direction only time will tell. For now, I will keep working hard, invest as much time as possible trying to develop and go from there.
What is your favourite coaching question from athletes?
I don’t have one. Players ask many questions that are always interesting. However, the most thought-provoking, beneficial and useful communication from players I find is their feedback when you ask them questions. Players always have interesting perspectives and when you give them the opportunity to have a voice and choice it facilities you to coach them more effectively and assist in assessing where they are with their learning.
What advice do you have for those coaches looking to get started and those already on their coaching journey?
Be proactive in your own development. Depending on the level you want to coach at that may mean you are proactively doing something to develop every day. Our journey is no different to players from that perspective. Reach out and connect with other coaches on the phone, email and go and watch other coaches coach. While there are immeasurable quantities of coaching resources on the internet, there is no comparison to watching a coach live and talking directly with coaches. Also, be completely honest with yourself. Develop a high level of self-awareness and review your coaching regularly and share those reflections with others for a true account of where you are. Expect difficulties, struggles and sacrifices but perseverance is key. Again, no different to the journey of a player.
For coaching week, we are asking coaches to make a pledge. What is your coaching pledge?
My pledge is find time in every day to grow and keep developing.
For more information on Coaching Week, follow the link below: