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Comment from the super coach
Well, it's been yet more busy weeks leading to low posting rates. Aside from the usual, over the last couple of weeks, I have been coaching the Welsh Red Dragons - the national Aussie Rules side. We had our first ever game against England last weekend. A synopsis of the match can be found here. I trained the team to be magnificent and stun the more experienced England team with the ferocity of their hardness at the ball, so it was pleasing to see that acknowledged.
It was an amazing experience. But then, how many people get to be the first ever coach of a national side in any given sport? The players were fantastic - the commitment and hard work made it a lot easier for me to get them playing the sort of footy which I thought would give us our best chance. In the end, a lack of experience on the field cost us, but full credit has to go to England who played the game well and took advantage of our little mistakes.
I found the non-match day stuff relatively easy. I thought the strategy and tactics were effective and worked well, and the training organisation I did reflected this. On the other hand, I found the actual game-level coaching quite difficult. It is hard trying to watch what two teams worth of players are doing while trying to work out what changes need to be made, when and actually getting those changes made. Next year I'll have to make sure I have the off-field team available and informed as well.
I also had to deal with the media, being interviewed a couple of times by the South Wales Echo. This was an experience, and I was glad I'd had some media training at work (as Garrett might attest, it has some value) and, while I could probably have answered a couple of questions better, and some of the quotes weren't quite what I said (particularly in the later article where the grammar was wrong in the attributed quote), there isn't anything in there that I read and cringe. Of course, I haven't seen my BBC Wales interview, so I don't know how that went. Shame S4C (the Welsh language TV station) weren't there - I had a whole lot of cliches prepared (in Welsh) to use as appropriate. Even though I would have only been taking the interview one cliche at a time.
Finally, besides only going down 91-61 - not bad for a first time - the feedback I've got on my coaching performance has been positive. Accolades such as "You were very inspirational to both myself and the team and have always been very positive in your coaching" and "your help and direction over the last few weeks made us a truly competitive side that would otherwise have struggled against England today".
My favourite procrastinations
The Head Heeb - Jonathan provides a balanced view on various Israeli and (former) colonial states in less developed regions of the world.
The Bladder - a sports satire site. Well worth a look.