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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

LOCAL/AMATEUR WOMEN'S FOOTBALL THOUGHTS


I finally got the chance to watch our newly formed women's team on the long weekend, albeit on the vast expanses of Trevor Barker Oval where they played the curtain raiser to the curtain raiser of the Sandringham/Werribee VFL game on Sunday.

18 degrees, sunny and lovely green grass for all - not a sight we see too often at point of the year in Melbourne.

We don't quite have full numbers but I think both teams played with 14 for a half then 13 for the 2nd half, with the other team (Frankston) providing the extra for us the entire game on a rotation policy.

If I was coaching the women's team this week then these are the things I picked up and would discuss with them before this week's match in no particular order:

#1 - RUN TOWARDS THE BALL

There were a lot of times where our players waited for the ball to come to them which won't happen to often at this level of football which left the opposition easy pickings to simply move forward and get easy ball.

#2 - IF YOU'RE WITHIN 5 METERS OF THE BALL, TRY AND GET IT

Piggy backing off the last point if you were to find yourself close enough to make the ball or an opposition player with the ball, do it at all times.

You ever know what level of pressure will end up with them coughing the ball up.

#3 - KICK THE BALL OFF THE GROUND BUT ONLY WHEN NEEDED

I am a fan of picking the ball up off the ground at all times but with less overall skill level comes even less skill level under pressure so if you find yourself in a sprint race to the ball and you'll get there at the same time, then I'd suggest kicking the ball off the ground in your direction but ONLY to gain some extra space and thus time, for you to now pick the ball up and hopefully run way with it.

#4 - USE THE SPACE

Low skill level means that coaches need to try and take away some of the skill dependent parts of the game.

So many times from both teams players tried to hit teammates up under pressure but sprayed the kicks and turnovers ensured.

I wouldn't want to try an st this entirely but we had some pretty good runners in our team so using the space could have really paid off for us on such a big ground and only 26 - 28 players on the ground.

If you have the ball, kick it into space to give your runners a chance to do what they're best at.

If your up the ground preparing for the ball to come to you then try and push into space for your teammate to kick it into.

In both scenarios the kick only needs to be "good enough" and in the vicinity of where it needs to go plus your teammate will hopefully some extra time to pick up the ball and make decision of what to do with it instead of getting and getting tackled straight away by 3 opposition players.

#5 - TOUCH THE BALL ON THE GROUND

I also see this in Auskick each week where players love to try and bounce the ball on the ground, and I saw it a lot on the weekend with our gun runners.

Unfortunately without perfecting the bounce, as we all know it can become a shambles when it all goes pear shaped!

3 - 4 times we were running into out forward line only for an errant bounce from our player with the ball to wreck it all

By the time you find the ball and pick it back up again, the opposition has made up the ground to tackle you and it's a wasted opportunity.

Again I wouldn't take the bounce right out of the game but I would strongly encourage touching the ball on the ground until bouncing perfection is attained at training.

You could use the kicking off the ground point here though to get extra space again once the bounce goes awry and hopefully you an regain possession in the clear again.

#6 - TALK

Women love to talk so if you tell them the intricacies of "footy talk" then this should be picked up quite easily.

Teammates telling players they are clear would make them feel comfortable touching the ball on the ground if they know they have the time t do so.

#7 - LEARNING

I did the runner's role on Sunday and all of the girls seemed appreciative of the tips and feedback I was giving them while out on the ground.

I don't think they've had a runner all year so they were only given instructions at the breaks which isn't idea for 1st year players 5 games into a brand new sport!

Resources are being stretched at teams with big football programs - we have 6 football teams and 4 netball teams - and thus having people at each and every game is very hard, especially with conflicting draws where teams might play at the same time opposite sides of the city.

As a player, if there's something you'd like to learn about footy then don't just assume they'll tell you.

Ask questions.

Ask many questions.

#8 - DON'T BE A LOOSE MAN UNLESS TOLD TO BE

With uneven team numbers at times (13 v 13 for example) there was times where they had 4 forwards v 3 backs and then vice versa up our end.

As they were the stronger team it didn't make sense to have more forwards up our end with the backline under siege.

I  moved our spare back where she cut off an entry straight away but as a player or a coach, be aware of these things and if you see something a it off, again ask your coach about it.

#9 - SPACE...AGAIN

As the distance on kicks is 20 - 25m on average, again keep ample space between you and the ball if your not directly in the contest.

A lot of times we had the ball in our 50 but our players were 10m off the ball which is a bit of no man's land as it's too close and kick will go over your head, but it's too far away for a handball or spillage to reach you.

I'd push back 30m so that kick that comes out is yours for the taking.

Don't get drawn into the play if you already have players there.

#10 - TACKLING

This is obviously a foreign skill for most women bit instead of tacking with just your arms, get your whole body into it and pretty much give them a bear hug of epic proportions.

#11 - WIN THE TERRITORY BATTLE

There's 2 ways to play football:

* The possession game where you handle the ball very often and use precise disposals to work the ball up towards your goals requiring a very high level of skill

** The territory game where you focus on getting the ball as close to your end as possible, as fast as possible with long kicks and running of the ball which doesn't require as much skill level.

With skill level being low I'd play the territory game as much as possible right now and train my team to play that way.

Again with kicks being 20m on average, on a 150m oval that's 7 - 8 kicks in a straight line just to get to the other end.

The chances of being able to hit target after target like this is very low.

If you can kick to space so the kick goes 20m, slides 10m and a running player can take off with it for another 30m then that's now 60m per kick and you'll only need 3 of these to get to your goal line.

#12 - POSITIONING

Teaching positions and positioning are 2 completely different things.

Most of my input as runner was positional things and the players soaked it up like a sponge and often what I said would happen, did happen.

Slight positional changes can have huge implications on a low skill level type game and only requires basic understanding to perform so it can have a huge immediate impact as well.

#13 - BEST BITS

Every time I offered advice as the runner i was greeted with a very nice "thank you" and a player had also baled some brownies for post game snack.

Far better then getting sworn at and cans thrown at you that's for sure!

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