Wins Along the Way A Bonus

Thursday, September 16, 2010

By Darcy Jones

Leading Senior Constable Scott Sutton has earned the Western Region of Victoria Australian Football Coaches Association 2010 Coach of the Year award for his work with one of the Victorian RecLink Seniors teams, the WynBay Power.

RecLink is a charitable organisation providing sporting, social and arts activities to disadvantaged people across the nation. It currently operates 28 homeless and disadvantaged teams participating in Australian Football leagues across Victoria and the Northern Territory.

So as coach of players who all experience some form of disadvantage such as homelessness, mental health issues and drug and alcohol problems, Sutton had his work cut out for him.

Starting off with only three players at training, Coach Sutton’s participants soon grew to twenty. He achieved this through a mix of knowing his team, knowing what would work and what wouldn’t, and getting creative with his drills to maintain his players’ interest.

The WynBay Power barely won a game their first two seasons but Sutton’s energy, team encouragement and determination to develop the players’ skills, sense of commitment and self respect never flagged. In 2008 and 2009 the WynBay Power won the premiership and this season they were undefeated, winning games at times by huge margins.

“The team could be a hot bed of players acting out negatively,” said Team Manager, Rhonda Collins. “But the coach draws on his love of the game and infuses the players with this. The focus is on football and working as a team.”

Rhonda said game day is when Coach Sutton really shines.  He always speaks to the players individually and discusses strategies with them.

The constable from the local force consistently ensures all his players get playing time regardless of their skill level and that the game never becomes about winning at all costs. When there is any type of argument on the field, he brings the player involved off the field to defuse the situation.

“Sutton is always encouraging towards the players and gives them positive reinforcement,” said Rhonda. “Coaching this team is an art form, many barriers need to be broken down, all players must be valued and Sutton definitely achieves this.”

Because participating and being a part of something is very important for these players, Sutton doesn’t see his role as all about winning, but about keeping the players out of trouble and trying to help them get ahead in life. He sees wins along the way as a bonus.


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