Coaches Reap Benefit Of Diversity Champs

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Whilst the championships being played in Cairns are all about the development pathways for young players of the future, comprising their talent and personal development, they cannot do any of this without coaches.

To that end, the people in whom they put their faith, trust and put their bodies on the line for need to be professionals who are up to date with the cutting edge of tactical coaching, personal coaching and a pantheon of other abilities.

Day Four of the National Diversity Championships started with a player education session titled “Thinking outside the box” where players had their minds broadened to the world around them and the impact that had on decisions and decision making. The players were encouraged to test their own limits and not be restrained by the opinions of others.

But whilst the players were enjoying their learning, the assembled coaches were receiving their own education. Brian Royal, former Footscray (now Western Bulldogs) champion player and an assistant coach at the Western Bulldogs, Melbourne, Richmond, St Kilda and now with VAFA club Beaumaris, gave his time and insights into coaching.

His years as a player and coach at the highest level have seen him gather an amazing repertoire of game understandings which he delights in passing on to the newer breed of coaches coming through the club and representative ranks, as well as the older hands still keen to learn.

The session started with Ali Fahour, National Diversity Manager, reiterating the 2015 Flying Boomerangs and World Nations team programs for 2015, including camps which comprise AFL club visits and placements and working with club staff to become familiar with these elite environments and expectations.

Shannon Rusca, coach of the Northern Territory Kickstart team and former Brisbane Lions and Western Bulldogs player, spoke of the role of coaches in seeing how many players they can transition into state leagues like the NTFL, WAFL and also TAC Cup. He also emphasised the need to prepare players for the National Under 16’s Championships as an important part of the player’s pathways to success.

David Rodan, former Richmond, Port Adelaide and Melbourne AFL player, and coach of the 2014 All nations team spoke of the coaches priorities to develop not only the player’s skills but also their engagement with community as well as life skills. He also spoke of the feedback coming from parents and teachers alike saying the programs had made players better kids and better students.

In recent years the Gold Coast Suns games in cairns have seen many past and present AFL coaches come to town to help educate local coaches to be better. Tom Hafey, Kevin Sheedy, Brendan MaCartney, Guy McKenna, Justin Leppitsch have been among that list, and Brian Royal added to that talent.

He spoke especially of the wider coaching role, focusing on the differences and advantages of coaching whole team and one on one coaching, the use of runners to be the voice of a coach during play, the value of line coaches and how best to maximise their knowledge, terminologies and the need for specific rather than generalised messages to players.

Brian broke this down further by teaching the assembled coaches the value of reviewing video of games as a vital communication tool and linked that to the messages coaches can impart. The remainder of the session was used for coaches to have their own turn at analysing match footage to gain understandings of structures, accountability, opposition patterns and skills. 

Everyone present received an first rate insight into modern day coaching, which can be filtered down through coaching ranks at local, state and national levels to improve the game further and add even greater depth to the development of the players as they continue their footballing journey.

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