How did you first become involved in coaching football?
I first started coaching when an old High School Coach was appointed as the U/18s Coach at APIA Leichhardt Tigers in NPL1. He called me up and asked if I would like to be his assistant. It was a great opportunity to watch and learn about coaching from an experienced coach with high level players. After that season, I had the coaching bug, and started coaching my own team at Bonnyrigg White Eagles in the first iteration of the SAP U11s. From there I’ve coached ever since, mostly in the Discovery and Skill Acquisition Phase age groups, but also the Men’s All Age at Lindfield FC.
How has football and your personal life intertwined? (teaching / coaching / learning / sharing)
As a full-time primary school teacher, teaching both PDHPE and in the classroom, teaching is my profession. However, working with children on a regularly basis means much of what I do, translates well to coaching as well. That experience of knowing how children learn helps translate to my hobby of coaching football, and I find it really hard not to be involved in football. I would describe myself as a lifelong learner, so am always looking at ways to improve my coaching and teaching, looking at how other coaches, teachers and researchers are using their practice to help players improve.
What are Lindfield trying to build in 2019?
I arrived at Lindfield FC in 2014, having completed the season at Blacktown City Demons, and I had just begun teaching at Lindfield Public School. I immediately struck a connection with the club and the development program that Danny Hurwitz and Brendan Dalton had created over a number of years. Recently we have had a big turnover of experienced coaches moving into other careers. Therefore, my role as the Club Coach Coordinator (CCC) is to help mentor our new coaches that are coming through the ranks. As a teacher, I’ve supervised teachers doing their Professional Experience and worked at the University of Notre Dame as a Tutor. At Lindfield FC, I want to use this experience to help develop young coaches that are able to create an environment where players are safe, where players learn and understand the game and where players continually keep coming back to play, year after year.
Why is this important?
For me, I’m passionate about Grassroots being the most important starting point to grow the game in Australia. The stronger the grassroots are, the stronger the top of the game will be. I see Lindfield FC and its development program as a link to the NSFA Programs. If Lindfield is developing players in the same vain as Northern Tigers and Northern Lions, then players with the attributes to be selected in those teams, can be developed to the next level once they arrive at the Tigers or Lions. Lindfield FC has always had a strong representation in the NSFA programs, and I believe this is because we want our players to make that step up and our development programs are designed to give players the best opportunity to do so. The aim is to make the pool of quality players bigger, to strengthen the game at all levels.
Can you tell us a bit more about your podcast and its purpose?
As part of my learning journey, I started listening to podcasts on the way to work. I came across a few coaching related ones, including The Talent Equation and The Coaching Journey. I found some of the discussions on these podcasts really challenged my thinking and helped me experiment with what I was doing in my coaching and teaching. However, these podcasts were mainly interviewing coaches from the UK and the US, so I decided to start one that had an Australian context. Last year I began the Functional Football Podcast (www.functionalfootball.com.au), I had 13 episodes, where I was able to interview coaches from both Australia and abroad. With the idea of starting conversations about various topics, including Youth Development and the constraints led approach to coaching. From those conversations, hopefully coaches can challenge themselves to try new things, experiment with their practice and be lifelong learners of the beautiful game. Season 2 is still in production, I’ve found it difficult to balance a new teaching role and finding time to interview coaches, but I’m determined to have another 13 episodes before the end of the year!