Men’s First Grade player Zach started out coaching with XLR8 (formerly NSFA Football School), before graduating to become a Northern Tigers & Lions SAP coach and obtaining his FFA C licence.
How did you first become involved in football within NSFA?
I played for Lindfield and Northbridge since Under 6’s. I then in Under 11’s joined in the Northern Tigers development squad in 2008 and then into the team in 2009 for the under 12’s year. Before then Ever since playing for Northern Tigers I have loved the passion, support and culture of the club entirely all the way through to first grade and I haven’t looked back.
How did you become involved in coaching?
I became involved in coaching at NSFA Football School (now XLR8) around the years of 2014-2015 and enjoyed it immensely and so joined the representative SAP program as a coach in 2016 with theUnder 9’s Northern Tigers. Since then I have coached the under 11’s through a number of years across both Northern Tigers and Northern Lions. These elite squads were a step up in the enjoyment and challenges I got from coaching. Being one of many players that coach at same club it creates a link between the older players and the youngest members of the club, this is something I see as important for all clubs in creating a community culture.
Can you comment on the ability of players within the SAP program compared to yourself as a 9 – 12 year old?
The ability of these players is much better compared to when I was their age. The overall team and individual ability from the majority of the players is often amazing. But this should be the case considering at their age, the facilities, quality of coaching, the amount of training and the dedication to training has significantly increased and therefore as a result the talent has increased.
What do you see as fundamental to develop in players between the ages 9 – 12 years?
For me there are 3 basic things that need to be developed in SAP football, the first and most obvious is the fundamental technical ability of the individuals. If the standard of this is raised it becomes easier to coach more complex concepts within football and gives more confidence to players. The second is the soft skills that aren’t as easily viewed, this includes decision making, awareness, a football mind. These skills develop a player’s ability to read the game and keep consistency in their play. The last thing, especially at Northern Tigers, is a 100% effort policy, this is essential to create early on because as coaches we need to establish this first and foremost before anything can be achieved at a high intensity.
How important is the NSFA club and Northern Tigers FC connection?
I think it is very important for the clubs to be connected, there needs to be competition and connection because this is the driver for quality. When people become too comfortable they lose the drive for quality. This competition comes from the connection between clubs and therefore pushes players into improving consistently. Without this connection the pool of players to develop becomes limited making the quality standard remain the same. As a player myself if there is an external competition as well as an individual motivation the growth and improvement of a players is far more significant.