Coaches’ Corner: Charlie Haynes

Charlie Haynes is one our most promising coaches in the club, primarily within youth and girls basketball programmes. His roles include: Lead Coach of the JMA Youth Academy, Head Coach of JMA U19 Academy Men, Head Coach of Under 18 men’s Conference, Junior Girls Club Programme lead and Head Coach of Junior Girls Teams.

We caught up him about his role and his basketball journey so far in his coaching career.

What part of your role are you most proud of or excited about?

I think working with so many different age groups, teams and programmes, I am fortunate enough to have lots of different things to be proud of and excited about. I have especially enjoyed the project and challenge of growing the girls junior club programme. Going from 1 junior girls team, to now having enough girls for a team in every age group and second teams in 2 age groups. One of the biggest challenges was developing our JMA Youth Academy. We are now at a point where we have a 4 stage pathway for students in regards to their development as a basketball player, and have found a really healthy balance and level of support to ensure that all Youth Academy students are excelling in school. With the plan being to continue to grow the Youth Academy, the sky is the limit and I am very excited to watch it continue to flourish and offer a great opportunity for more young basketball lovers to develop their game whilst being given additional support with their academics to aid maximum opportunities for success in school and later life. Lastly, this past season my U19 Men team won the Dynamik schools final which was a highlight in my career so far. Head coaching such a wonderful group of young men has been a
pleasure and they have worked incredibly hard season-long to become national champions.

How do you and the sport of basketball are having a positive impact on the local community?

The beautiful thing about working in junior basketball is the opportunity we get as adults to have
a positive impact on the young people we get to role model in front of. With the young girls and
Youth Academy students especially, it has been amazing to watch youngsters grow a passion
for a game that we love so much. Whether it be a 12 year-old student showing me their first ever
pair of basketball shoes, to noticing a Stephen Curry phone case, or seeing someone walk in to
practice proudly wearing their brand new Reading Rockets jersey, it is heart-warming to know
that the passion we have as coaches/basketball fanatics has transpired into another human
being finding that same love for the sport.

As a result of seeing young people grow this love for the game first hand, through my various
roles with JMA/Rockets, I have many joyful examples of how basketball has provided
transferable skills that have aided children’s personal development off the court. Whether that
be a progression in behaviour in or around school, an improved level of understanding of how to
be an effective learner, how to develop themselves as a person through a growth mindset, how
to communicate effectively to those around them, how to be a good teammate and build strong
relationships with those around them.

Lastly, I personally feel inspired day-to-day by the players I have the privilege to coach. Whether
that be my under 19 boy’s demonstrating their transition from young men into adulthood,
challenging one another and me to be the best versions of ourselves in a day-to-day basis. My
under 12 and under 14 girls inspiring me through their joy and positive attitudes to be the best
role model I can be. Or the JMA Youth Academy in which I am privilege to have a part in
watching young children progress through the age groups into young adults. All of the young
people I coach I am truly grateful to be able to have an impact on and am thankful for the
motivation they give me to be the best version of myself.

With our girls programme thriving and the JMA Youth Academy showcasing itself to be a big
success that is getting better and better by the day, I could not encourage young people to get
involved with either programme more! If any young girls would love to be a Reading Rocket! Or
any young basketball enthusiast would like to have a look at the JMA Youth Academy to join in
with a basketball session, look around the school and find out how we use basketball to ensure
students are reaching their potential in academics, then please email me at