One of our own – EABL alum Danny Manning on transitioning from playing to coaching

Ipswich Basketball Club’s U16s head coach Danny Manning is a prime example of the opportunities available to basketball players as they move through the sport.  

Manning had been a key player for the club, helping IBC reach the Jnr. NBL Final Fours twice and making his senior men’s debut in the disrupted 2019/20 season.  

He also played for IBA Copleston in the EABL and says the reason he chose Copleston Sixth Form was to continue his education and to ‘develop and play basketball at a high level’.

His transition to coaching, however, started early on in his first senior season, after he picked up an injury and was met with that old-age dilemma of what to do next. 

Danny Manning, left, playing for Copleston in the EABL (Nick Winter)

‘Keen to pursue coaching’

“After really enjoying working with the club’s aspiring basketball players, I had a meeting with the sixth form’s careers adviser, who helped me to work through different avenues based on my experience in the EABL, for example, working in coaching or analysis. 

“I then shared that I was keen to pursue coaching as a career and hoped to join the academy staff with academy founder and IBC’s head coach Nick Drane.

“He arranged a meeting with me and [senior men’s head coach] Adam Robinson, where we worked together to design a role that would allow me to learn from them and develop as a coach.”

In the summer of 2019, Manning completed his Level 2 Coaching Certificate and was subsequently asked if he would lead the IBC’s U12s’ programme – and he’s been developing and nurturing Ipswich basketball talent ever since.  

Concepts and schemes

“I was fortunate enough to play on EABL teams with players such as Ethan Price and Veron Eze, who had high-goals and aspirations of success. This meant that I had to understand all of our team’s concepts and schemes.  

“After putting such a premium on being able to remember and execute these schemes, I find I am able to communicate and help instruct other players through them too. 

“My current role consists of planning and delivering individual workouts that target areas of improvement for our players. These are identified from watching and reviewing game tape.

“I also prepare and deliver scouts and film sessions prior to games and work within the Suffolk community, heading up our projects with local schools.” 

Looking to the future, Manning, who was invited to play ball aged 11, after he was spotted in the stands at an IBC senior game, says he hopes the national teams see his passion for coaching.  

“I hope to head up a national programme at both junior and senior level, one day. I’d like to work within the national teams’ set up and create clear opportunities for players to move from grassroots to the NBL.” 

Manning’s story is a great example of how EABL players can work towards a future in the sport, both on and off the court.

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