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Coaching a team is like doing DIY

Ok, apart from both being things done on weekends, and frustration went things don't go quite right and you can't do anything about them, they aren't really. But, so saying, that is how I spent this weekend.

The Welsh Australian Rules Football League's representative side, The Welsh Red Devils, played in a four-way pre-season competition with Manchester, Bristol and Chippenham. I was coaching the Red Devils, and we came up against some pretty good sides playing some very good footy. I was torn between coaching for victory, coaching for participation and coaching for the future, and I think I managed to get a reasonable mix. Everyone got a reasonable amount of time on the field, and I took the opportunity to try some players in different positions to see what they can do.

When we had the side I would have most liked out there in the positions I would ideally play them in, we did very well. When I mixed it around, we didn't do as well on the scoreboard, but I am not going to coach a side and leave someone on the bench all day. We were comfortably beaten by Bristol and Manchester, but we did beat Chippenham (by a handful of points). Most frustrating moments for me throughout the day were when players didn't do what I said. I don't mind skill errors or lack of ability. I do get frustrated when simple instructions, like how I want players to set-up from a kick-in aren't followed (particularly when we concede goals from it).

Most frustrating example was when, in the last few minutes of the last match, with no time on, a couple of goal lead but a strong wind against us, our opponents scored a goal. One of my players went and got the ball and kicked it back, thus speeding up the time until play was restarted. I sent out the runner to tell him not to do it again. A couple of minutes later, they got another goal. He went and got it again, and kicked it back. This meant the opposition has 90 seconds to try for a match winning goal rather than, say 70 seconds. They got it out of the centre, kicked it forward, and, fortunately, I had put an extra player back there and had my best players in defence, and they held it up for long enough that we won.

Later, I asked him why he did it - didn't he get the message? "Yes, " he replied. "But I didn't understand it." He didn't think to ask and that almost cost me a win. But fortunately it didn't.

And on to DIY. We have the floorboards ready to be done. I have sanded the walls in our bedroom, and will do so in the nursery this week. We have painted the first coat in our bedroom, and touched up where it needed ready for the final coat in the nursery. Once we can go back in the bedroom after the floorboards have been done, we will do the rest of it. We are entering the home stretch - we might actually be in our bedroom in the next week or two. We might even have most of the things done before the baby is born.

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