I was at a women’s VFL football match a few weeks ago – the last round of the year. The Team I was following had no chance of making the top 4 for a finals berth – their season was all but over. My daughter has played with her team for nearly 10 years, having chosen the team based on how she felt when she first trained with them (i.e. team culture). When she was looking at which team to join, there were 2 geographically close teams – she trained with one for 2 weeks but did not feel included…she chose the other and joined them, 120 games or so ago now.
She works long hours and can’t get to every training session. But her coach knows that – and that she does other fitness work through the week. She is the player rep and a member of the Committee and while she would love to play forward line, the coach values her skills in the back line, and that’s where she plays. When they gather at quarter time in their groups, she is right in there supporting the other backliners, taking direction, adopting a different strategy to combat the other team’s forwards (fairly important as they have lost more matches than won).
At this game, it was a typical Melbourne ‘four seasons in a day’ cold, wet, windy and they were hailed on. At half time, with no chance of a place in the finals, the coach brought them in and appealed to them (he doesn’t “spray”) and gave them a new strategy. It worked – from 10 points down, they doubled the other team’s score and were unstoppable.
In the rooms after the game, the Coach was so proud “best half of football in his four years with them” which they then learnt was his last game. There were tears, congratulations and best wishes, including those whose bones and muscles wouldn’t take another year of punishment because they do go hard. Just shows what a good team can achieve.
This is not about my daughter. She is one of 22. But what I observe is that if you bring together a group of people with a passion and a common purpose, provide strong clear coaching and up front leadership, you get the most from the group. And they give willingly – even if they aren’t winning each week. But winning for them is only 1 goal – there are many other targets they set for themselves which they do achieve.
As this weekend of footy finals approaches, the teams will give their all. Go Tigers and NQ Cowboys.
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