XLR8 TD Spotlight: Jake Cohen

XLR8 TD Spotlight: Jake Cohen

Get to know Jake Cohen, one of our Programs Technical Directors at XLR8!

Introduce yourself, what’s your role this year and why did you want to get involved with XLR8?

My name is Jake Cohen and I have been involved in XLR8 for just over 24 months now, having been involved in leading programs before taking on a more in-depth role this year within the organisation and the association. I am currently in the position of XLR8 Programs Technical Director, where I look after programs for Chatswood Rangers, and also coach the top senior women’s team for UTS Football Club. The reason for getting involved with XLR8, in an increased capacity in 2021, is to be a part of a progressive association and organisation, where excellent things are happening in the development of football in a person-centred approach. It is fantastic to be able to support coaches in a mentoring role and to see them grow and develop, whilst having a hands-on role and being able to see football within the Northern Suburbs region go from strength to strength.

What you’ve enjoyed so far this season?

The year, thus far, has been very enjoyable, after coming into the role at the beginning of 2021. I have had the opportunity to improve my skillset, whilst being able to help develop a group of coaches who I am able to influence, both from an XLR8 point of view and also coaches within clubs within the collaborative coaching program that XLR8 runs. It is always fantastic to see coaches motivated to improve themselves, which in turn helps the players enjoy their experience. We are fortunate that so many coaches see their main role in growing their players’ love of the game and development, keeping them in the sport, rather than a win at all costs approach.

What are the standout positives of the program you’ve been involved in? 

Some of standout positives within the programs I have been a part of have included:

  • The development of coaches throughout the first half of the season. The greatest example of this is Mitchell McAsey who has taken his coaching to another level, which has seen the players he works within a team coaching capacity, plus collaborative coaching, buy into his coaching approach and the players have flourished from that.
  • The level of dialogue between coaches to want to better themselves. It is not rare to see coaches comparing session plans, having discussions about the best approach to take and ultimately trying to better themselves to assist their individual teams or programs.
  • It’s been great to welcome some new coaches to XLR8 this year who have been involved in development programs. These coaches at Chatswood Rangers are Aaron, Ben, Dylan G and Harry C, who have all been instrumental in improving the culture and ensuring the coaching level is maintained across the programs.
  • However, all coaches within the program have been fantastic to work with. Those coaches are Aaron, Ali, Ayon, Ben, Chad, David, Dylan G, Erick, Harry C, Lucas, Kristi, Mitchell, Penelope, Rhys and Shak. They are a great group of coaches and I cherish the opportunity to work with them!

How have you looked to create, develop and create a positive ‘Coaching Culture’ within the program? 

The coaching culture within the programs I am a part of, has been high on my priority list to help develop and cultivate. I am fortunate to work with a great group of coaches who first of all are good people who all love the sport I love most, football. This has really helped to allow me to create, develop and foster a coaching culture of positivity where people enjoy themselves. This is always an ongoing process, which never stops, and has included three social events away from the football pitch, plus quiz and bowling nights, among other off the ground support and trying to be as empathetic as possible to every coach in a personalised capacity. Ultimately, it is important to put people first and try to help each individual in the best way possible, which then allows the group to be the best unit possible.

Can you provide some specific highlights or good new stories from within your role?

A highlight for me has been seeing the process of development of so many of the players across various teams. It is always so pleasing to see when players could not do something but they work hard, both at training and in their spare time, and are then able to do the skill/task that is being asked of them. This comes down to the players loving the sport and being in a good, safe environment where they want to improve. Another highlight for me has been the increased participation rates within the female player numbers for Chatswood Rangers. This is the result of the hard and diligent work of the club committee members, which is so important and amazing to see. I am optimistic that the numbers will flourish, in the lead up to, during and after the 2023 Women’s World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand.

Finally, what will you look to implement and progress in the second half of the season?

Leading into the second half of the season, I want to ensure programs continue developing and that standards do not drop. It is important that we continue developing and that players, coaches, committee members and everyone else involved continue to enjoy their footballing experience as best as possible. This will include in encouraging more player led activities, game-based activities, more social events for the coaches and also that collaboration between club and XLR8 continues, which will allow better systems to be put in place and for consistent and continual improvements to be made.

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