This spring and summer, we’re bringing you an inside look at some of the most important volunteers at IBC – the coaches who lead our junior teams out every weekend. First up is Kevin Manning, a lifelong hoops addict who is in his first season as a Head Coach with the club, this year taking charge of the Under-14 Girls.
IpswichBasketball: Tell us a bit about your basketball background before you were coaching at IBC – how long have you coached basketball?
Kevin Manning: I’ve been in and around basketball in the local area for nearly 30 years. I first started playing basketball in the Ipswich & District Local League back in the 80’s, turning out for Westbourne. Over the years since I’ve also pulled on vests for clubs in Stowmarket and Bury. There’s a rumour I might even have a registration for the league this season thanks to Coach Lambert and his Kesgrave Kings.
During previous seasons I’ve performed a number of assistant coaching roles at the club and this is my first year as a Head Coach.
IB: Why do you coach, what’s in it for you?
KM: I love the game and it was important for me not to just be a supporter, but to play a part in enabling young players to experience and enjoy the sport. I’m just trying to pay it forward.
I didn’t realise how much enjoyment I would get out of coaching. Coaching tests you as a person, it’s often challenging but the payoff is huge. The kick you get out of the smallest achievements is amazing, such as when one of your players scores their first competitive basket, when a play is executed to perfection or when the entire bench jumps up in support of a teammate. This kind of stuff moves you, who wouldn’t want to be a coach?
IB: Who have been your main influences on your coaching career to this point?
KM: I’ve enjoyed gaining some great experience from working with current and previous IBC Coaches. I’m really grateful to Coach Lambert, Coach MacDonald and latterly Coach Rigby for the opportunity to work with them and for their generosity with their time and knowledge. Each one of these guys has helped shape the way I approach my coaching.
I do need to acknowledge Coach Drane’s importance in getting me to this point. If those other guys mentioned lit a ‘coaching fire’ in me, it was Coach Drane who then fanned the flames and offered me the opportunity to step up and lead an Ipswich team.
IB: What are your ambitions as a coach?
KM: I’ve got a shelf ready and waiting for some tr