It has been just over a month since we announced Irishman Alan Keane as the new Head Coach for Reading Rockets. Alan’s role will see him lead the senior men’s squad in the 2018/19 NBL season but also support all facets of the Rockets junior programmes based at the John Madejski Academy.
We thought the time was right to find out more about Head Coach Keane.
Alan, you’ve been on a very interesting coaching journey, what does this new role mean to you?
“It simply means a step in the right direction for where I want to go with my coaching. I want to keep progressing and with that needs to come new challenges. Reading Rockets is a club that has allowed me the privilege to work as a full time basketball coach between the JMA Academy and the Rockets men’s team. I am thankful for that.”
You have not Head Coached a senior men’s team even though your experience is extensive, what do you see are the challenges ahead?
“I see many challenges that excite me in every coaching job I have done. Many of those challenges cross over whether you are coaching U12, an U18 national team or U19 EABL. Having assisted with this team for the past two years we can be more demanding and have higher expectations from the players individually and collectively. Players fighting to meet those expectations and execute to a high standard each day excites me. The challenge that comes with that journey excites me too.”
Your role as Head Coach at JMA in the EABL would suggest that you are wanting to create an environment for some of better young players to come and experience Division 1?
The environment is everything. The right environment that constantly challenges and supports every player and coach will allow all of us to flourish. It is a critical goal of mine to integrate a number of JMA players into the senior team from day one of training camp. Why would you not do that? We have talented junior players who can contribute to any Division 1 men’s team in the country.”
You have been a part of the Rockets for a couple of years. What makes this so important to you at this stage of your career?
“Having had two years assisting the Rockets men’s team, and returning from a unique experience as assistant coach with the England senior team at the Commonwealth Games, makes me eager to take the next step and head coach a senior programme. The Reading Rockets organisation takes a truly professional approach to how it runs the programme. Heading up the men’s team puts me in a position to take on roles and duties you just don’t get from being an assistant or a junior team head coach. All are challenges I eagerly await.”
You are a family man too. How will you get the balance right between your well-known pursuit of detail and having time at home?
“I guess this is a challenge for many coaches as our jobs are not in line with typical working hours. When you have a family that supports what you do, admires what you do and knows what you do makes you happy, that helps somewhat towards getting the balance right. However, it is important to make time consciously for those around you. It can be so easy to be engrossed for hours on end with basketball. Involving my family in what I do such as coming to games etc. has helped a lot.”