My first month in the chair has been an interesting one, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time just observing ‘how we do things’ and the observations have prompted some modifications to some of our programming.

NB: These are observations, not criticisms:

  • No established structure, as far as our training planning and structure (each coach doing their own thing)
  • No Defined playing style (all teams play differently)
  • Poor playing structure ie: playing out from the back – starting positions of players.
  • Poor defensive structure and individual competency in the defensive space (all age groups).
  • Training intensities well below expectations and performance requirements.
  • Some training sessions (particularly U/13-16) are too short in duration.
  • Teams training in unrealistic sized areas ie: 11v11 FQPL teams training on a 1/4 field.
  • Too much emphasis on the team’s RESULTS rather than how We PERFORM (HOW we play is important for the ongoing long term development of players).

 

I had a meeting with our Komodo, SAP, and FQPL coaches last week to discuss these elements of our programs and to get their personal feedback. Over the next couple of weeks we should start to see some changes in how we do things, some subtle (which may need to be pointed out to you) and others not so much….

Coaches working in our High Performance areas (Komodo, SAP, FQPL) have all now have in their possession a structured training periodisation (Training Framework) for the next 6 weeks in advance. This will enable us all to get on the same page as to what coaches are delivering, ‘specific’ to the needs of the teams and individuals in the squads.

We now have a ‘Team Model’ the basis of how we intend to play. Our coaches will be working towards this team model in everything we do tactically and technically.

Playing style…. You will start to see some modifications in the way we play, our own playing style. This will take some time to fully implement but you’ll already see changes (based on things we’ve already worked at in training – timetabled in our periodisation) in the way we play out from the back. Our starting positions for the Centre backs will be higher (instead of level or behind the line of the goalkeeper), fullbacks get high and wide, midfielders get higher up the park instead of blocking the back 4.

Coaches will be more accountable for their own sessions online with the new planning, with them also having to produce written session plans for review and also as a requirement for our Football Queensland compliance.

We are also presently working on a ‘Club Handbook’. In keeping with our philosophy of fairness, equity and greater transparency, we are developing a ‘living document’ which will incorporate position descriptions, processes, procedures, codes of conduct, expectations, provisions and policies. From now on if we have an issue, the clubs management committee will assess the incident formulate a process to best deal with it and document the policy in the Club Handbook. The handbook will then be made available on the clubs website so that it can be easily referenced by members.

As this document is in draft and still being compiled we will commence by releasing completed sections progressively. The first was released this week through Team App, our ‘Participation Policy’ clearly provides guidelines for players, coaches, and parents as to the expectations of playing time, and exceptions based around attendances at training, etc. Hopefully, this will alleviate some of the complaints received from club members and afford some protections for any players who may have been underutilised, and for coaches who may get criticised for how they manage their squads.

Another thing that I’ll be encouraging will be ‘Sideline Meetings’ with parents and the coaching / managerial team of each squad. The idea of this is just to give you a 3-5 minute briefing on how the team is performing overall, what we’ve been working on around our structured planning and what we will be working on in the coming weeks.

I think if parents are a little more informed, we can assist with their understanding of where in reality the teams are at in the development process. We can all identify what areas teams are deficient, but if you’re unaware of the planning and not armed with the knowledge of what has been worked on (or not) then we get subjected to criticism of things we may not as yet have had an opportunity of correcting.

I’m hopeful the sideline meetings will facilitate that understanding. These will be conducted either at training (before or after the session) or after games. Team managers will keep you informed of when they will be held for your team.

I have received a number of concerned reports from team managers regarding the sideline behaviour and comments from some parents. Whilst we encourage ‘support’ from parents and spectators, it is not your place to be making disparaging comments nor is it the place for parents to be providing coaching advice. As discussed previously I will be asking the coaches to conduct their own ‘sideline meetings’ with parents so that you have a clearer idea of what is going on. Some of the comments at present are totally contradictory to hat the coaches have been working on. I have attached the FFA’s Spectator Code of Conduct for your reference, please take the time to review it and I ask that we all conduct ourselves appropriately.

Anyhow, I hope this first briefing provides our members with some information which is helpful to you in understand where we are at and what we are doing to improve our football programs.

The developmental ‘Process’ is a long term endeavour, it is not an overnight quick fix.  We are putting several processes in place with anticipated developmental outcomes, which should (provided everyone is all on the same page and following the process) see the club begin to produce better players and coaches, and establish the type of ‘development system’ that other clubs will aspire to.

Yours in football

Mark Boyd 

Football Director
Holland Park Hawks FC
E-mail: footballdirector@hphawksfc.com.au