There are many important characteristics that good AFL coaches require. The coach is the backbone of the team and needs to be able to understand each of his players and where their talents lie in order to get the best out of them. There needs to be the ability to form a cohesive team who work together and be able to take on any opposing team using their strengths and weaknesses against them.
Personal qualities that make a good AFL coach
Hard working AFL coaches look at every aspect of the game and are able to form plans for the team for every single round. There has to be a level of patience and respect towards the players and coaching team in order to get the best out of them. Communication is the key to this and being open and positive is the best way to move forward with the players. Positive feedback helps the players with their confidence in their ability to play AFL football and work with their teammates.
Spotlight on prominent AFL coaches in history
The best AFL coaches such as Jock McHale, who had a prominent coach award named in his honour, and Kevin Sheedy have been stand-outs due to their uniqueness in how they handled their players. McHale would treat the team like a machine, with each player no more important than the other, where he could determine and assess each player’s strengths and fitness levels on a weekly basis. Sheedy would often change the players’ positions around during a game to try and get the best out of the team and this paid off in the 1984 grand final where Essendon came from behind to win the match against Hawthorn at the MCG.
Who is the best AFL coach when it comes to changing a team’s attitude and approach to the game? Arguably, Alastair Clarkson is when it comes to helping a team come back from rock bottom as seen in his tenure as coach of Hawthorn. They had a disastrous season in 2004, coming in second last. Clarkson was surprisingly brought in for the 2005 season. Little by little the team improved and, under Clarkson’s leadership, Hawthorn won the 2008 grand final against Geelong.
Crucial aspects of a good coach
One of the most important qualities of a good coach is that they have played some form of the game in a professional sense. Many of the most successful and respected AFL coaches have had long and successful careers as players in the AFL and are therefore intrinsically part of the game. They bring years of experience on the field and apply it to the new generation of players. It is this experience and knowledge of the game that can lead to the team in improving their statistics over time and having a shot at becoming the favourites for the AFL Premiership in any particular season.
All these characteristics go to show that being a good AFL coach requires the patience, flexibility, and confidence in order to coach an effective and successful AFL team. With the right positivity and intuition from the coach, any team can be brought forward to be the best they can be. As we see the next generation of AFL coaches beginning to move through the ranks, we will remain interested in the latest coaching techniques and methods to see how they can affect their team’s performance.