AFL Coaches and Technology

Seeing coaches’ box grabbed my eyes. You would expect me that it was Mick Malthouse’s reactions at SCG coaches’ box (Round 17, 2014). I have to admit that I laugh at Mick hiding from Channel 7 cameras putting a big piece of paper with Carlton’s sponsor’s logo after his reaction of frustration was on a screen at the Sydney Stadium and on Channel 7’s live coverage.

But the answer is no!

Over the weekend, I watched the reply of St Kilda-versus-Fremantle Game (Round 18, 2014) and realised that St Kilda coach Alan Richardson used a headset in a coaches’ box to communicate with assistant coaches and staff at the bench while Fremantle coach Ross Lyon used a phone for the communication.

Then I started wondering what equipment is used on footy game days at stadiums, even if I should have learned about footy more (rules) and found attractiveness on playing. I will watch footy replay(s) more later and then write what I find in game(s) for the art of footy, and then let myself to leave them in a piece of paper for the next article. I do realise that I should write more about the art of footy games first rather than something like today’s topic…

As in coaches’ boxes, Scott brothers (Geelong’s Chris and North Melbourne’s Brad) use phones while Malthouse uses a headset.

Later I remembered that some senior coaches coached on the benches during their coaching careers. Former Carlton coach Brett Ratten was popped up in my mind. And Melbourne coach Paul Roos whom I saw him coaching on the bench at the last match for 2014 against Kangaroos followed.

Both men used headsets, I found. And assistant coaches sitting close to senior coaches used headsets and laptop computers. I guess that computers were used to connect headsets for communicating with some assistant coaches who were in a coaches’ box and to analyse the game, but not hundred per cent sure.

While I was watching a Footy Classified clip on the Internet to survey about Ratten, I heard that former Gold Coast Suns coach Guy McKenna and Richmond coach Damien Hardwick coached from the boundary line for a while to encourage young players. Then I researched about McKenna and Hardwick, and found that they used headsets while coaching on the benches.

My conclusion is that coaches ordering at the boundary line use headsets.

Now let’s see other equipment on the footy field and coaches’ box.

Before starting each quarter, coaches come down to the ground to order what to do to players and assistant coaches. Strategies are shown on white boards that is classic, I reckon. I do not think it would be replaced by an electrical screen because coaches have no time to make an animation file during the matches.

But as for statistics, I found Richo used pieces of paper to fill (that I guess he brings to the boundary line) while Lyon used an IPad. And I had already found that Malthouse’s statistics were done with pieces of paper too and he brought them to post-match press conferences.

Although I am good at using computer and smartphone, I am unfamiliar with IPad, so I was not able to find what the technology stuff can do with statistics. Then I was not shy to go to an electrical store to survey displayed items.

However I found different things that I had not expected to see. Before visiting the electrical store, I found that IPad could have specific software for particular purpose. My mobile phone company now used the device to show documents to customers and make processes for contract, making payments and etc.

Then my thought that Lyon used a Tablet not IPad came up.

No matter what device he uses, I reckon the specific software is installed in his device for statistics on footy matches.

It is good and interesting to see what AFL coaches use to do their game day jobs, but the most important thing for them is winning the game.

About Yoshihiro Imagawa

Love, passion and pride are seen on the footy that is the biggest part of my life. 1. St Kilda Club member: I am a passionate and crazy Sainter. Just hope we will win the second flag soon, especially after Dogs and Tigers having ended long premiership draughts. 2. The Osaka Dingoes Player and Public Relations Officer: Player number 44 that I chose to honour Stephen Milne with my wish being like a small forward like him. Lenny Hayes' hardworking attitudes are adopted on my trainings and practices. Nick Riewoldt's great plays are in my player audiobook too. 3. Writing: Here on the Almanac and also on the World Footy News. My skills utilise on great footy websites.


  1. Earl O'Neill says

    Good take, Yoshi. I reckon that coaches who use fones want something to beat against the table when their team is playing crap football (cf Rodney Eade at the WACA). Headsets are the only practical option when coaching from the boundary.

  2. Yvette Wroby says

    Hi Yoshi your fresh insight is interesting. I have never thought about the differences before and now I know I will look out for it when I watch tv replays. I still have that game recorded. It was such a surprise win and now I will look at how they communicate too. As well as enjoy the best win for ages. Am so enjoying your contributions and wonderings. Thanks again for sharing


  3. G’Day Earl,

    You have a good point of view. That’s why Scott brothers use phones, I reckon. But Malthouse is a grumpy coach, so why doesn’t he use a phone? I think because he is going down to the boundary line when Carlton are behind. Richo doesn’t need a phone because he is a calm coach. If you want to see coaches’ anger, search ‘Brad Scott Unlease’ and ‘Alastair Clarkson anger’ on YouTube. For Clarkp’s one, pick a Seven News report of his punching a hall at MCG coaches’ box in 2012 and then you will see some footy coaches angry reactions.

    Coaches at the boundary line won’t use a phone because they need to move to see how their boys are playing and won’t show anger. Otherwise they will be in troubles.


  4. Hi Yvette,

    Thanks for your comment and win over Freo is absolutely great and we haven’t had another one since then (very sadly).

    I hope you enjoy watching the reply of the game. Do you subscribe Fox Footy?

    I’m glad to hear that you enjoy reading my articles and happy to share my thoughts.

    Have a good weekend my great friend :)


Leave a Comment