Patrick Tagliazucchi grew up in Modena in the North of Italy, an area they call the ‘Motor Valley’ due to the popularity of motor sport. Despite having a passion for car racing himself since he was little, as well as a dad who was a rally driver, he soon realised it was never going to be his future, as it was more of a sport for rich kids. Instead, most who grew up in the late 70’s and early 80’s in middle class rural parts of Italy spent their days kicking a ball around anywhere that looked like a soccer field, and Patrick enjoyed connecting socially through the simplicity and spontaneity of football.
Today, those values are still at the core of what he coaches his U8s and U9s.
“My motto is ‘keep it simple’ as much as you can, but also be spontaneous when you play football. I encourage them to create things out of nothing. It’s like painting something beautiful that you are not aware of until you see the end product. Seeing the surprised looks on their faces when they score a goal is my inspiration as a coach. At that young age it is amazing to see how much benefit playing a healthy football game can have on shaping their characters.”
Patrick fell in love with coaching the way many do: coaching his young son and seeing him progressing to the next level.
“Year after year I have been blessed to be part of his journey, something I was not lucky enough to have as a kid. I believe that at a young age, the right sporting structure, in whatever code it is, hand to hand with building a hard work mentality and strong role models to refer back to, will make these kids become stronger human beings at a later stage, not only in sport but also in life. It is a fine line though, as you have to respect and understand their different characters to be able to bring the best out of them. This is my role as a coach: helping them become the best they can be, whether that’s the next superstar or just loving the game and playing football until they are 50 years old with their friends.”
Patrick would like to be remembered as a coach the way he remembers his own coach.
“When I was a teenager all the way through to my 20’s, my coach was a hard bastard, but he made me a tougher man in life. For what he passed on to me about how to deal with whatever happens on the pitch, I will always look up to him and be grateful. The values he passed on to us were above all respect, perseverance and hard work with a group ethic.”
Similarly, his main goal as a coach is to be loved as a person first, and as a coach second.
“I need that intimate connection with my players so I can transmit the message across to them in the most effective way. Trust and respect, as well as a common belief in what we are working towards even when things get tough is my coaching backbone. I found in these last few years of coaching that a tight group of players are much harder for an opposition to break down, and they give a lot more to the cause of winning the game together.”
Patrick has a lot of hope for the future of Australian Football, with a talented and multicultural generation coming through. He is currently planning to coach an U9/U10 team this year, but he is also looking for opportunities to become an assistant coach at higher level, whether SAP or NPL Youth,
“I would like to progress and improve my experience in coaching training sessions and match day, and to be able to constructively learn new methodologies from professional coaches. I am also planning to do my C-Licence this year and will keep working on my main training tool – watching football games, because I love it!
MWFA is looking forward to seeing Patrick continue to have a positive influence on the next generation of footballers.
Look out for more articles on other MWFA Future Coaches over the coming months.