Our Development Officers help in the management of both our in-club programs and our various association programs.
What are you most excited about for the 2022 Grassroots Football Season?
Stepping into the new role I’m personally most excited about the impact I can have on the coaches and players within the NSFA. Previously players have been the core of my focus and something I’ve always loved, but now the opportunity to impact coaches who can go on and impact players is a privilege. To have one coach impact 10-16 players allows me to impact 10 coaches to impact 100-160 players. To be part of the XLR8 and NSFA team at such a forward moving time in the association as we take strides to improve community football for all is also really inspiring.
Tell us about your journey within football and what initially got you involved in coaching?
I started originally volunteering for my local football club as a way to fill hours that were required for leadership roles at my high school. Originally, I saw it as one an opportunity to fill the hours in a way I thought I would enjoy, but it also worked well with my schedule as it fitted into my training times. From there I was involved in the local clubs taking teams each year and some holiday clinic programs as a helper. The joy I got from coaching the younger age groups sparked a love for it straight away. Seeing how rewarding fun and challenging sessions were for them dove me into finding resources and help where I could to continue assisting. Engaging with the coaching resources available at the NSFA led to me meeting Ed Ferguson who suggested work at XLR8 – from there I’ve spent 3 years assisting as coach for multiple community programs and loving the support I get to improve but also the impact I make every year for a large range of players.
Who’s been your biggest influence within football coaching – and why?
It’s almost impossible to just pick one. I’ve been blessed with so many football mentors along the way as a player – having coaches who inspired me to coach and take control of sessions at 15 – to now having access to wealth’s of knowledge at the NSFA who have supported my growth as a coach and a leader. Support from Nothern Tiger’s coaches like Richie Byrne in my first year at XLR8 opened my eyes to not only an understanding of technical and tactical football but also producing sessions at an NPL level that give players joy and keep them engaged. Support from XLR8 mentors like Craig Tyre and Jake Cohen have assisted me on the ground regularly and given me insights into personal opinions they have and ways they’ve got the best out of players and sessions. As I move towards becoming a leader, Eilidh and Jake have always been big supporters and mentors for me as well. I’ve always personally aimed to be as open minded as possible; everyone has something to give you it’s just a matter of giving them the respect and time to be given it. I like to think I have personally become a combination of all the things I’ve taken along the way.
Why do you coach with XLR8 and what do you love most about coaching?
The biggest factor for my love for coaching is purely the impact I can have on individuals every day. Having the ability to bring joy to different types of people of different age groups in different types of way just through coaching is key. Organising events, sessions, or even as simple as having discussions with players or coaches that positively impact their day is key to why I love coaching. This reason is why I’ve always enjoyed coaching at XLR8, the community of coaches we have who support and assist one another to make such a positive culture is something I love to be a part of. It also gives me as a coach access to hundreds of different players every year, from as young as 3-4 in Tiger Cubs, to my recent involvement in WAA. This is something that has drawn me to XLR8 every year.
In one word describe your role as a coach?
Engage. Being a coach is all about making sure you’re doing the best of your ability to make sure every player within a session, practice, or game is engaged and enjoying it. What do they want from the session? What do they want from football? What is it they want from you? It’s all about what can you give them to make sure they’re having the best possible experience they can have.