Did you hear what happened on Sunday Afternoon?
Introducing: Chris Shee, 2017 Head Coach
This season, AFL Quebec will be highlighting some of the key figures in our club. This first piece introduces an AFL Quebec member who will be one of our most visible this year – and for good reason; he is our league’s Head Coach for the 2017 season, Chris Shee.
Chris joined AFL Quebec in 2015 but his football career started in 1994 in South Australia with the Onkaparinga Valley Football Club. (And we can’t omit his first Premiership win at the age of 14…) But it didn’t end at U14 – winding up in Adelaide years later, he also played three seasons with the North Adelaide Roosters in the SANFL, a league often ranked as the strongest outside the AFL. Upon returning to Onka Valley, he captained/vice-captained his A-league for six years before “retiring” and moving to Canada. The same year he came to AFL Quebec, he joined the Quebec Saints for their Division 2 Premiership at the US National Competition in Texas. With his incredible skill, game knowledge, sportsmanship as well as a patient and determined commitment to teaching the game to those new to the sport, he has helped bring the Montreal Demons their first AFL Quebec premiership win in 2016. Now he has taken on a new and challenging role as Head Coach for our league.
After leading the first training of the season this past Sunday, February 26th, Chris shared his thoughts with us. What are his first impressions of this season’s league membership? “The vibe was really good, there was a lot of willingness to learn.” And he plans to keep this energy rolling forward!
But coaching for a league with players ranging from beginners to national champions is not without challenges.
“What I can offer as a coach is a balance – our club has people who are aiming to play at the most elite level in Canada […] but our league mainly consists of people who start out as newcomers who’ve never hand-balled or kicked a footy in their life and are coming to learn a new sport and meet a whole bunch of new people.” Chris reiterates, “It’s important for the veterans to keep improving and keep working towards their goals. For the new players, working on mastering the basic skills is the priority.” But since mastery of basic skills as well as fitness are always key to better game-day performance for rookies and veterans alike, this will be a main focus for the indoor training season. While rookies may sometimes be given extra time with some of our league coaches, expect rookies and veterans to be participating in the same drills in no time at all. “Everybody will be involved in the drills, no matter what.”
If you’re new to Australian football, nobody will tell you it’s easy! The ball is unlike that of any other sport in Canada and the skills take practice, time, patience, and sometimes a couple of bruises to learn! For newcomers to Australian Football, Chris suggests that you ask questions as soon as you find yourself confused or concerned about a certain drill or skill; “New players should feel at ease in approaching the coaches and asking questions. No question is too dumb! Asking questions - It’s the most important thing.”
“If you’re going to have fun playing this sport - the sooner you get your questions answered, the sooner you can get to kicking and passing the ball, then you can enjoy playing […] Then once you’re enjoying playing, you can enjoy the comradery and culture that surround Australian Football.” And that’s the priority in AFL Quebec.
Whether you’re a rookie or a veteran, getting to indoor training to improve your fitness and skill in Australian football is about getting as much out of our game as possible and enjoying friendly competition with your clubmates.
“At the end of the day, it’s really just everybody running around with everybody.”
Next training is this Sunday, March 5th, 2pm at College Andre Grasset. Open to women and men, no experience necessary. Go to aflquebec.ca or check out AFL Quebec on Facebook for details and to register.
Photo credit: Sebastien DiMaulo, Photographe