Coaching Footy Junior Footy - Goals.

JimDocker

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Thread starter #1
Read this article during the week and found it interesting. We all as coaches want our teams to win and teaching how to win to me is a skill in itself, but there are some very good points made here.

http://www.aflcommunityclub.com.au/index.php?id=47&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=3670&cHash=d41adb49e2c0236ea0754db1d0c423e9

By Trent Cooper


When I look back at my early coaching days, in charge of school age teams, I am embarrassed about how I coached and how focused I was on winning. I justified it to myself that it was the kids that really wanted to win and I was providing to their needs in the way I coached.

I now watch a fair bit of junior football and am aghast at how a lot of the coaches go about their business. I hope I was never as destructive as some of the examples that I see but there are similarities and hopefully anybody reading this article might reassess the way they coach at a junior level.

Coaching at 18’s level now, my primary role is to develop players to be ready to play senior football for our club and, for some, at AFL level. This means that selection will more often than not be compromised by exposing talent that may not be ready to play at the level or putting players in positions that may adversely affect the result but will help in their development of certain skills.

When players get to my squad, there are some skills that I hope they possess and others that are not important but can be learned through their football journey.

Kicking and handballing may seem obvious skills that should be improved consistently but I have seen Year 9 sessions with one football between the whole team for long periods as they are taught a defensive press that might help them to win a Sunday morning fixture.

I would hope that our new players are able to pick the ball up cleanly without fumbling and be one-touch players in the air, and I don’t care if they know the difference between a 3-4-5 and 2-4-6 kick-in defensive zone.

When I get to talk to junior coaches, I tell them that their most important KPI should be how many of their players return to play the following year. We should hope that junior coaches can instill how great our game is into the players and that they go on to enjoy footy for many years, at whatever level they find their niche.

The kids will want to win, so there is a balance that you have to find between giving them their chance to get the result they are after and to developing them. Winning close games is indeed a skill in itself and we work on that at the 18’s level but the result will not be the major focus of our weekly review.

If you want to test yourself as a “winning” coach, there are places for you to utilize your skills. Senior amateur sides are always crying out for competent coaches and it is easy to find a team where a lot of the players aren’t really in the development phase but love winning week to week.

If you do decide to coach juniors, you have an extremely important role and should focus on your players enjoying the experience and improving the basic fundamentals. Be the coach that taught a future AFL star how to kick on his opposite foot, not the one who used that player’s brilliance to dominate in the middle all game and your fantastic game plan to win a Year 9 Grand Final.

Trent Cooper is Colts (18’s) Coach at Swan Districts Football Club.

This article was written as part of the requirements for AFL High Performance Coach Accreditation
 
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Aeglos

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#3
100% agree with the article.
Even in open age, reserves football the goal should be to develop players for the senior side.
Also, the amount of kids that only ever play one position is also concerning.

Players also always play to win regardless of what you do as coach so imo that really doesn't need to be taught.
 

schmuttt

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#4
Great article. My brothers junior coach this season is a perfect example of the coach you don't want to be. Wasn't a prick to the kids that much, but sooked way too hard on the sidelines during games and was obsessed with trying to teach them a gameplan (This was u/16 in a u14/16/18 comp so you have a mix of kids aged 14-16). It was a pretty poor side with the majority of the kids still struggling with basic skills, but instead of trying to teach them that at training and have them enjoy footy the coach just tried to force them to play a certain way (Lots of switching and running to position, sure these are skills you want to learn but get the basics down pat FFS). Their team only won about 3 games for the season and whilst my brother had his best year so far individually (Won the B&F as a bottom age player) he hated footy this year and doesn't want to play 16s next year, would rather play 18s.

In comparison his coach last year was the complete opposite, guy scouts for the Lions so he knows his stuff but kept it as simple for the kids as possible and they did a lot better on field. I remember a few of my junior coaches in the same vein, some were really good and two in particular I remember were really good for me personally whereas a couple others were rubbish. Senior coaches are a lot more into wins but I've got no issue with that, in amateur footy generally you aren't going to improve a whole lot more unless you seriously devote yourself to it, you just want to win and play with mates.
 

tigernova

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#5
Dads are coaches. Dads set goals. Dads teach goal setting, kicking, etc, etc, etc.

Dads find it bemusing when flogs in positions of authority have no idea. Usually they are school teachers... Especially basketball ones.
 
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#6
Hi All,
I coach an U 10s AFL team and agree teaching the basic skills well is paramount, any suggestions on drills that teach kicking and handball in particular that engage the kids and teaches them whilst having fun?
 
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Hi All,
I coach an U 10s AFL team and agree teaching the basic skills well is paramount, any suggestions on drills that teach kicking and handball in particular that engage the kids and teaches them whilst having fun?
Could warm up with pairs kicking to each other. Have to give their partner a score out of 10 for each kick - perfect spin that hits the target a 10. Perfect spin but lands short might be a 7. A floater that hits the target might be a 6. A kick where the marker has to move a bit might be a 5 etc.

Could also have competitions in pairs. Have cones 15m apart with a player on each cone, ball between two. The pairs have to get 10 marks in a row (or in total might be more realistic!). First pair that gets to 10 wins. Have cones set at 20m and 25m too. Competitions at each distance. Keep mixing the pairs up so that talented kids have turns with shit inexperienced kids.

Same activity but both kids have a footy. Have to both kick/mark at the same time. Good skill test because there is lots happening at once. Only counts as a mark if both kids mark it.

Could set up a 15m square, player on each corner. They have to kick the ball around the square. Another kid has to run around the outside of the square and try to beat the ball 'home'

Have two 15m squares set up a decent U10 kick apart. 3-4 kids inside each one, competing against the kids in the other square. Have to kick the ball so that it hits the ground inside the other team's square. First team to 6 wins.
 

ManInWhite

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#8
Past few seasons I’ve coached junior umpires and the approach is really no different from players. Our goal has been to teach them the basics such that they gain a solid foundation and become good senior umpires. Over the past few years we’ve had a lot transition upwards as well which has been fantastic. Being around the grounds each week I’ve seen a lot of good coaches and a lot of bad ones – especially in U10 type grades where coaches are allowed on the ground. One day one of the coaches just yelled and screamed at his kids the whole time. Other coach was quieter but constructive – kept suggesting what they should try next time and was even complimenting opposition kids on a good mark or kick. No brainer as to which team was playing better and you could see the opposition kids wished they had the other guy as their coach. Too often I think the measure of a “win” is what the scoreboard says. In many ways it should be a comparison of what the combined teams skillset “could” do and what they “did” do. Get that ratio high and the scoreboard will take care of itself.
 
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