Being a good coach – the possibility of being both good player and coach

In the previous posts, I wrote about great coaches, Alastair Clarkson and Luke Beveridge.

They were average players and spent a lot of time seeking improvement on playing, so they know how to develop young players more than great players.

“Great players cannot be great coaches” is said in Japan as well. I have seen average baseball players becoming great managers.

While I was creating the big pictures in the previous project, I was wondering if great players could be great coaches or not.

Some favourite sons have been appointed as senior coaches at their clubs, but unfortunately they seemed not great coaches.

Opposed to great coaches who were average players, these favourite sons saw ups in their playing career so that they had less knowledge of how to improve performances.

But I think some great players can be good coaches.

Lenny Hayes is a legend at St Kilda. He captained St Kilda for a couple seasons and experienced down to up and to down in his playing career. Also his great attitudes that he turned up training early to improve himself after the shocking Grand Final losses are impressive and admirable. Also he had ups and downs in his on field performances.

Currently being an assistant coach at GWS, he will coach a club in the lower level to gain work experiences before coming back to AFL, I think. Then he can be a great senior coach.

Although he has not struggled much in the playing career, Nick Riewoldt would be a great coach in the future. Reasons are the almost all the same as Hayes. Rooey’s great leadership skills and captaining in both good and bad times are bonuses, I reckon. His great attitudes of being loyal to the club would add to form a strong team.

Indeed I want him to play great footy in 2017 and beyond. And I want to see him in the premiership team as a player soon.

Positive and possible are the key to be both great player and coach. Lenny and Nick will be.

About Yoshihiro Imagawa

Being a passionate Japanese St Kilda supporter currently based in Kyoto, I love writing articles in English and am glad to be a part of the Almanac family. Having the AFL Global Pass, I follow all St Kilda games mostly live. Otherwise I watch replay. Thanks the modern technology! But watching footy at the stadium is what I want. I'm sad not being able to watch an Anzac Day match in my favourite Wellington, but would love to do in Melbourne. Attending a St Kilda game in 2017 is sort of officially promised. My life needs to improve like did our boys in 2016. I wish I could contribute writing in English more to work even if I am less likely a professional writer.


  1. Yoshi, I enjoyed reading your post and challenging my preconceptions with what the actual results say is true! Great players can be great coaches (Leigh Matthews, John Coleman, Malcolm Blight). Great players can be poor coaches (Royce Hart, Malcolm Blight!).

    What about coaches who haven’t played at the highest level? In Aussie rules I suspect the jury is still out (Wayne Brittain, Brendan McCartney, Brendan Bolton). In other sports it is more common (John Buchanan had an amazing record as coach of the Australian cricket team).

    What is it that makes a great coach great? Has that changed over the last 50 years?

    Is Lennie Hayes a great? Rooey certainly is. Both have traits that suggest they could be good coaches. Hardworking and courageous.

    I hope you get to see your beloved Saints in the flesh in 2017.

  2. G’day Mick,

    Thanks for your comment with compliments!

    As a new footy fan, I am not sure about coaching legends in the past. I need more research!

    Also I think being a good captain will lead being a good coach. At least he should be in a leadership group.

    I guess Brendan McCartney and Brendan Bolton are good leaders at their playing career. Otherwise they can’t coach an AFL club.



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