When Nina Sallenave’s oldest daughter decided to play her first season of winter football, she was suddenly faced with the challenge of putting together and coaching a team of 9 year old girls, something she had never done before. The majority of the group had never played before or even watched a game of football, but now they are in their third year at Forest Killarney playing in W11s.
“I grew up watching football, I always knew all the rules, I knew the game, it was part of my life in Brazil, so I thought that coaching the girls would be easy, but I had no idea. The weekly sessions, the behaviour management, those eyes looking at you searching for guidance and answers… I realised then that I had a lot to learn to be able to give them the coaching they deserved.”
Nina then started to attend every free coaching workshop offered by MWFA that she could. It was a little bit hard for her though to fit these extra commitments into her life while also working full time and having 2 young kids.
“I knew I needed it and it was the best thing I could have done. The result were not immediate – the first year was hard, but by the second year it all started to fall into place.”
Nina completed the FFA Skill Training Certificate last year, and then decided to join MWFA’s Future Coaches Program.
“This year is my third season coaching the girls, and as they grow and get more skilled and more into soccer, I realised that my coaching knowledge needed to keep evolving too, not only in a training and game perspective but also as a team leader. It gave me a lot of confidence and resources to be around so many different coaches with different backgrounds.”
Nina’s passion for football has clearly rubbed off on her girls, but she also realised that at some point the players cannot rely on their coach to direct every play. In a recent game, she took a big step back and challenged the girls to take responsibility for being in charge of their own performance as a team.
“I only coached the subs on the sideline, and I also managed to get the parents to be quiet! It was a very nice game, for us all! The girls were a little scared at the beginning, but really proud of themselves at the end.”
Nina has also taken on committee roles at her club to help advance the girls programs, but coaching will always be her number one priority.
“Coaching is not easy. There is a lot of work involved if you want to give your team a good experience, and I truly believe our kids deserve the best. The more you learn, the better you become as a coach, as a person and as a community member.”
MWFA is looking forward to seeing Nina continue to inspire young girls to improve themselves and enjoy their football experience.
Look out for more articles on other MWFA Future Coaches over the coming months.