The Support Needed by Footballers and the Expectations on Coaches

In recent years, AFL coaches face tough axes and even some of them are said due to be losing support from their players.

Former Top Dog Brendan McCartney’s resignation seems one of such cases. But communication issues between him and his players were reported after McCartney had left Whitten Oval. I think only people at the Kennel know the truth.

And then recently I have read an article about former Adelaide Crows coach Brenton Sanderson.

Fairfax Media reports that Sanderson recently revealed that he had been criticised from some senior players because of not providing enough guidance.

Through reading the article, his quotes paid attentions from me.

Sanderson says that while the next generation of footballers are coming through to the playing list, they need more support.

In addition, he says that the footy world is seeing coaches spending much time with their players; while Sanderson was playing, he did not spend as much time with his coaches during the week.

I am afraid that I have no idea about footy world which Sanderson was playing in even if I am around his age (because I am a new footy fan). But I think reasons why young players need supports from their coaches are the following.

At first, developments in technology affect in many ways. Communications are more likely to rely on technology and people communicate in person less. Then I think it is easy for young players to feel being isolated because they need real socialising. Also online bullying can cause emotional damages and then they need to be encouraged.

These days media coverage of footy is bigger so that players feel more under the pressure for their performances as well as do coaches. Predictions and tipping would add more pressures on players. Then players need supports from coaches.

Change of life style will be the third reason. Maybe their dads and mums have been too busy so they were unable to get much love and support in their childhoods. Then the surrounding world seems more complicated now and it seems to affect their mental conditions.

I totally understand young footballers need supports from coaches because I have been having too much emotion for decades. And mental issues should be taken seriously from my experience. Otherwise they face tough path to overcome. I admit it is really hard. However I hope bright and fulfilling future is on the way and will blossom well in Melbourne in the near future.

Not only young players but also coaches need supports to take such a big job, I reckon.

But rather than seeking support, Sanderson is planning to undertake a US college course.

According to, he has targeted leadership and management courses provided by several colleges in the United States. Sanderson’s potential course is sort of what Geelong coach Chris Scott and Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson have completed.

It is good that AFL coaches are studying to gain knowledge of their relevant areas (sport coaching) and I think undertaking such a course will create a path for them to understand thoughts of their players.

But from my past experience, I think AFL coaches need balanced life as well as they are humans. Also asking help is okay too.

Understanding each other is needed to build a coach-player relation and asking help is good to seek solutions to improve relations and for wellbeing.

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. Gen Y is not like the generations of the past, and approaches to coaching (and all associated care etc techniques ) that were once standard will have to be changed.

  2. Hi Rabid Dog,

    Haha, I agree with you that standards must be changed to meet current situations. However I think young players should be provided programs like what young Saints had in recent four-day camp in Canberra. They faced lack of food and sleep to cope with tough and unexpected situations to overcome tough circumstances at footy matches and to gain leadership skills.



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