What co-curricular/s do you coach?
Senior Girls Football (Soccer) and Senior Girls Cricket
How long have you been coaching for?
I had my first coaching job at the age of 16 and I have coached Football in State League 1. I have been coaching at Clarendon for 14 years.
What do you enjoy most about coaching at Clarendon?
The ownership and pride that Clarendon students have for their team. There is a culture where we always try our best and that has always allowed me to come off the pitch (or oval) proud of our efforts no matter the result. There is an understanding that the team exists across a long time span and each group comes into the team for a short period of time but during that time is responsible for its culture and for leaving the sport in a better position than when they started. In particular, the teams I have coached have had a range of students from Y7 to Y12 that allows for both continuity and renewal each year.
Why are you passionate about your co-curriculars?
They are two totally different sports but both have the similarity that technical skill, tactical knowledge and effort trump physical attributes in determining outcomes. They are also sports that are further developed in terms of gender equity and providing global opportunities for female athletes.
Football is the ‘world game’. You can play it anywhere in any format and as you travel the world it provides a social outlet wherever you go. It is terrific at teaching that mistakes are fleeting and perfection is impossible. Instead, the ability to quickly transition after error is vital. It is also a game that relies heavily on systems and cohesion for success. You can have the best players in the competition but if there is not a unified commitment to a style of play, movement off the ball to create space and collective defensive responsibility quickly come unstuck. The team is always more important than the whole.
Cricket is one of the cruellest sports in terms of punishing mistakes, particularly when batting. It is a sport that teaches discipline, attention to detail and concentration. Also, while statistics will capture batting and bowling, the 1%s in the field and in running between the wickets are pivotal to success.
What are some of your most memorable moments from coaching at Clarendon?
Most definitely the laughs and camaraderie amongst the players throughout my time. During the drills the girls always work hard but whether it be a game of queenie at the end of cricket training or the pole game at the end of football training the fierce playful rivalries to win those games has led to some pretty funny moments.
It took me 12 failed attempts to finally coach a team to grand final victory! So the 2019 Grand Final is definitely a highlight. It was also, bizarrely, one of my most relaxed coaching experiences because from kick off it was obvious that everything had clicked into place. While there were some terrific players in that team, it was one of the most flawless team performances in terms of players being in the right place at the right time with the right support from their teammates to execute the game plan. You could see the work that had been done at training – all I had to do was let the girls play!
That team’s performance earlier in the year at the Melbourne City FC Cup against the best schools in the state was also a highlight – particularly our victory against a school that was coached by a Melbourne City FC coach.
Aside from learning about team participation and improving fitness, what are the benefits of participating in your co-curriculars?
The values it instils. Last season started with a loss in football because we played as a bunch of individuals. Our behaviours did not reflect who we wanted to be. That game was the best lesson we could have received and from there we saw younger players of the squad flourish to consistently demonstrate leadership behaviours. Sport is a great leveller and team sport requires humility as an individual and pride in the collective; the team is only as good as it weakest link and every member of the team has a responsibility to make those around them the best they can be. In turn, teammates learn to hold each other accountable and demand the best from each other in a constructive and supportive manner.
What are some of your favourite sports / hobbies?
I am a football nerd. Outside of school I am the Director of Football Operations at Ballarat City FC and enjoy getting on the training pitch as much as possible, with different groups, to support the development of the game in Ballarat. I also love watching, analysing, reading and listening about the game. In 2014 I went to the World Cup in Brazil which was a definite standout. I used to play football, cricket and AFL – but my knees have given up on me!
What else do you like to do in your spare time?
I have a very demanding dog who enjoys a good walk. I have recently increased my cycling and I am very much looking forward to getting back in the pool once current restrictions lift. I also spend a lot of time reading – mainly non-fiction, singing/dancing around the kitchen and use any excuse for some coffee!