Alex Green’s first memory of football was playing for a school team, and back then in the 1980s in England even little kids played games on full size fields.
“I remember one game playing in defence for the U8s. We played in straight lines, and moved like a military unit. The tactics were ‘kick it long, hard and early’. As a defender I wasn’t allowed to go far up the pitch and touched the ball about twice all game.
Despite there being a big difference to modern coaching, the positives were learning about discipline and being a good member of a team.
“Training was laps of the field, blasting the ball at the keeper or playing 5 aside. Any skill development came from games in the street or park with mates. I remember games finishing as the sun went down, often with scores like 43 all.
Alex kept playing for 40 years, originally in the UK and then with North Sydney and more recently Manly Allambie. His daughter plays water polo and his wife Jody plays football for Manly Vale, and he hopes he and his son can play All Age together in a few years.
“Despite little natural talent or decent coaching, playing football has been a source of fun, fitness and friendship throughout that time – and still is.”
Over the years Alex has regularly been asked to coach and manage, so he tried to avoid repeating what he had experienced himself by doing research, preparing, and trying to keep up fun and energy. When his kids started playing he got a bit more serious about coaching.
“As my son’s team progressed, I wanted to improve as a coach to help their development. I hoovered up all the coach development I could, from the brilliant short free courses the MWFA put on, through the Advanced FFA courses. I’m currently half way through my B-Licence and it’s been great to learn and test myself. In time I want to coach at higher grades, keep progressing and be the best coach I can be.”
That desire to stretch himself has taken him to Manly United where he coaches the U13 AYL team as well as his son’s U15 team at Manly Allambie. Alex is also committed to team sport being a vehicle to help young players become better people.
“Seeing players improve is hugely rewarding, as is solving problems on the field, and I aim to balance individual skill development with team success. These days kids don’t play socially as much as we did, so training must involve as much time on the ball as possible, and being part of a team provides a forum for learning social skills. As a coach you can teach more than just technique and tactics. When I remember the positive coaching moments from my childhood, I don’t have memories of learning a skill, rather I remember how the coaches interacted with players, how they made me feel.”
Alex’s involvement in football extends beyond playing and coaching, as he serves as club President at Manly Allambie where their current motto is ‘Good players, Great people’.
“It’s not always easy, but I don’t find volunteering a chore. It’s rewarding, and it’s important. Our brilliant Committee tries to be respectful and welcoming, to act with kindness, fairness and responsibility. Without volunteers, community sport wouldn’t happen. Sport has been such a big, positive part of mine and my family’s lives, that if I can play a role in helping others get the same experience, I’m happy to do so.”
Alex would definitely encourage anyone who has benefitted from community sport to find a role they can play in their local club as a volunteer, manager, committee member, or coach.
“You’ll find yourself amongst good people, it is challenging and rewarding and helps build a healthy community. If you get the opportunity to coach specifically, don’t be lazy and repeat what you saw and heard as a kid. It was probably rubbish. And remember coaching isn’t about you – it’s about the players. Start by making it fun for them, keep them coming back. Take time to prepare and plan. Lastly, take advantage of resources likes a club CCC program or MWFA clinics – they make you a better coach and so can help build a lifelong love for sport in your players.”
MWFA is looking forward to seeing Alex continuing to contribute to the development of football players and the sport in general in his various roles.
Look out for more articles on other MWFA Future Coaches over the coming weeks.