A Coaching Clinnick in AFL South East
They are entrusted with helping footballers reach their full potential – but just who is helping the 30 senior football coaches in AFL South East to reach an elite level of their own?
The answer – the coaches are helping themselves.
Roughly two years ago, well -respected former Devon Meadows coach Brent Clinnick put a pitch to AFLSE Football Development Manager Cam Roberts aimed at introducing a program to support the coaches.
Clinnick understood perfectly the stresses involved at club land and convinced AFLSE to implement his plan.
Now in his second year as the AFLSE Mentor and Coach Support Coordinator, Clinnick is thrilled to be backing up after a very rewarding first year in the role.
“I think the program was enormously successful in its first year, creating a real bond and a support mechanism for all senior coaches in the region,” Clinnick said, before explaining the vulnerabilities that some coaches feel.
“It’s a tough industry and a really tough job being a coach, the expectation is there that you know everything, but the reality is that coaches are learning on the run as well.
“Not every club is great at supporting their senior coaches, and it might be as simple as just not understanding what the coach is going through. This program allows the coaches to lean on each other, maybe share a coffee and confide in each other to share their experiences.”
Clinnick coordinated coaching workshops in 2017, where senior coaches from all clubs in the MPNFL and SEFNL were invited to participate.
“In some respect we’re breaking down the walls and providing an opportunity for coaches to express what they think is important in their role,” Clinnick said.
“Simon Goosey (Mornington coach), Leigh McQuillen (Beaconsfield), Paddy Swayn (Pines), they’ve all presented at workshops, and the general message is that it’s ok not to know everything.
“In the past the pressure has built up and we’ve seen coaches with enormous potential simply walk away from the game. That’s not good enough from a support side of things – we want coaches still coaching and enjoying what they’re doing at the same time.”
And despite their competitive edge, the coaches had been terrific at coming together as one.
“One of the great things about the program is that egos are left on the hook and the coaches are providing each other with some fantastic feedback,” Clinnick said.
“Last year we had a coach break through for a win after a long drought and he said he received more messages of support from the coaches around the leagues than he did from his own club. If that’s the sort of bond we’re creating, I think we’re pretty much on the right track.”
And the success of the program is getting out, with AFL Goldfields getting in touch with Clinnick about the program, as has former Melbourne star and Doveton coach from last year Aaron Davey, who is now plying his trade in Northern Queensland.
The program was targeted solely at senior coaches in 2017 but will reach out as it continues to grow.