Coaching Spotlight: Lee Surace

Coaching Spotlight: Lee Surace

Since you have been involved in coach development, how have things progressed in NSFA?

When I first started coaching as a parent at an under 6 level some 12 years ago there was very little assistance if any at both NSFA and club level. Coaches relied on their own knowledge gained through playing experience.

Over the years I’ve seen and experienced firsthand the implementation of coaching courses. Starting out at grassroots through to NSFA run C license courses. These courses along with NSFA run workshops often held onsite at community clubs not only provide coaches with the opportunity the develop coaching skills but also converse with coaches from other clubs inside and outside our association. It’s amazing what you can learn from your peers.

Through the NSFA courses I’ve developed friendship and in some cases coaching rivalries on game day. It’s great fun when you coach against mates you’ve made through the NSFA coaching programs……especially when you win! There’s always plenty of good natured banter.            

What steps are you taking at Berowra to ensure the future sustainability and development of the club?

At Berowra FC we’ve placed an emphasis on mini roos player and coach development. We identified the need for skills development at a very young age. The younger the better. For some time we’ve had in place a skills development program for all our under 6 to under 8 players. All players received fortnightly coaching from our outsourced coaching partner. The aim is to teach our players basic ball skills in a fun and safe environment. We believe the more time kids have with the ball at their feet the better.

Three years ago we commenced a development program for our talented under 9 players. Here they receive twice weekly skills training. This program exceeded all expectations. We have since rolled the program out to include our under 10 and 11 age groups. All up we run 2 development squads in each age group covering over 60 kids. The high level training has seen a huge improvement in the skill levels of our players.

Our under 6 to under 11 mini roos skills program places a large emphasis on upskilling our coaches which is predominately enthusiastic parents. Our coaches work with our coaching partner to enable them to develop their skills. This enhances both the player and parent experience. We encourage our coaches, and managers as well to undertake NSFA run coaching courses. The uptake on this is extremely encouraging and they all return better resourced and more confident as coaches.

This season our club commenced a youth coaching program for our under 12 to under 15 A sides. Here we identified talented current and past players from our under 18 and senior playing ranks who we believe are well placed to pass on their skills and knowledge. These young coaches have undertaken the NSFA run junior Skills Acquisition program which has helped their move into coaching.

The feedback we have received from players and parents has expected expectations. Next season we will look at expanding the program and encourage our coaches to continue on the FFA/NSFA coaching pathway.

What do you see as a ‘must-do’ for coaches new to their role?

Education, planning and enthusiasm!

Plan your session prior to training, always be encouraging and approachable.

It makes coaching so much more enjoyable.

As a coach it’s important to evolve. You can never stop learning. On top of the excellent coaching course and workshops, NSFA provide coaches with the wonderful Inspire program. We strongly encourage all our coaches to subscribe. The Inspire program assists with planning and has great tips that helps coaches at all levels.

Importantly never forget that coaching should be fun.

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