Junior Coach

The Community Club Coach

By Luke Rayner

In agreeing with previously conducted research there is no doubt in my mind that the coaches are the most influential people at community football club level. The Coach has many areas of influence including but not limited to: club culture, values, player/coach/parent conduct, game style, medical, social, processes and procedures.

Given this scenario I believe clubs need to ensure their Senior Coach is a good fit to take on the roles and responsibilities of being a CLUB COACH and therefore ensuring quality and control throughout both the junior and senior levels of the club.

Good coaching helps to create the best learning environment, whilst also maximising the motivation and enjoyment of all players. The senior coach who is likely to be the best credentialed needs to put time into helping develop all coaches within the club and provide education, resources and a support network to help achieve a one club approach.

I acknowledge that many community coaches are already time poor and therefore most will be thinking this is unachievable or another burden to my already busy role. However with some thorough planning, creative resourcing, engagement of fellow coaches and a driven Junior coordinator it can be achieved quite easily.
If you can see the outcomes and use these as the motivating factor then this will drive the process. Think of having one united club, shared core values, game style principles that are implemented on a staged basis through all age groups, similar messages being reinforced, coaches coaching to a play book of consistent drills and a conduct suitable to all ages. This will help improve the player’s development, knowledge of our game, transition from age group to age group and a love for their club.

Since joining the Torquay Tigers Football Club last season and clearly with a vision to be a club coach we have been able to introduce the following strategies and initiatives that have started our journey of truly being one club with amazing coaches, resources and support:

  • Tigers Way Handbook – a comprehensive coach guide on club values, game plan principles, line behaviors, team objectives, drills & skills, game sense and full ground activities. A living document that is updated regularly with input from coaches at all levels
  • Three Club conducted coach seminars in 2009 & planned for 2010. All coaches from our 16 junior teams and three senior teams attend these nights. I facilitate open discussion on Tigers Way, relevant topics, issues that may have arisen and encourage the sharing of ideas and support amongst the coaches.
  • Minimum two training visits by our senior players to all junior teams. They either take training or participate with the kids. Helps to develop the links, provides variety for the coaches and encourages the kids to come and watch senior football and develop the love for their club

These are some of the initiatives a club coach can undertake without too much effort required. Whilst in its infancy our program is already seeing:

  • Improved synergy between junior & senior club levels
  • Improved transition of players
  • Improved training methods
  • Knowledge of our game style
  • Greater enthusiasm of our coaches due to the support programs
  • Engagement & motivation of players due to a real game sense focus

Investing in your coaches at all levels means you are investing in your club as a whole and the environment you are providing for participants. For those that embrace the role of CLUB COACH I assure you it will be one of your most satisfying coaching achievements.

Luke Rayner is Club Coach and Senior Coach at Torquay Tigers Football Club and is an accredited AFL High Performance Coach. This article was written as part of the requirements for the AFL High Performance Coach Accreditation Course

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