TOUCH OF CLASS: This photo, taken by Chronicle chief photographer Alistair Brightman, is of Hervey Bay’s Rachel Hinks trying to get around Maryborough’s Jackie Stevens in a touch football game in May 1996.
TOUCH OF CLASS: This photo, taken by Chronicle chief photographer Alistair Brightman, is of Hervey Bay’s Rachel Hinks trying to get around Maryborough’s Jackie Stevens in a touch football game in May 1996.

Solve the Australian coach riddle

I HAVE written on the topic of coaches in the past - but there have been some interesting trends when it comes to national coaches lately that can't pass without some discussion.

Have you noticed that the sports we (Australians) have traditionally been leaders in on the world stage have branched out and hired overseas coaches, whereas sports that we have been average in on the world stage are looking locally for change?

Swimming, rugby union and cricket are examples of sports that have predominantly been guided by Australians and been high performers on the world stage.

They have all shifted to international coaches at some point in their recent history, to varying levels of success for the latter two, while swimming's appointment has been new and time will tell.

Soccer, in past weeks, was vocal in appointing an Australian to the top job.

The recent memory of coaches in this sport, however, has been overseas proven performers, so it is a big shift.

Australians have been popular on the world stage in those dominant sports, with many local coaches accepting jobs overseas.

With the world getting smaller in its accessibility, we will see that continue to improve and the recent appointment of Brett Brown to the Philadelphia 76ers head coach position shows that Australia can also be a great stepping stone to higher positions.

I think Frank Lowy coming out and saying that Football Federation Australia was going to appoint an Australian devalues the position in some way, as was pointed out by Ange Postecoglou.

Any coach who receives a position wants to be the best person for the job, not the best local.

The trend appears to have shifted based on culture and performance.

Union and cricket (Mickey Arthur) wanted a higher level and an open viewpoint by targeting people outside their system.

FFA and cricket (Darren Lehmann) needed a reinforcement of culture and the Australian ethos.

Makes an interesting point with your local club: it is important to pick the best qualified person for your club.

If the club is deemed to have favourites getting an easy ride on their name, parent or history, then bringing a coach from outside that knows little about its members puts everyone on the same level.

If your club's struggling to keep its values and history in check and losing players then someone with a strong history at the club is important for stabilising things.

It is not always about the best coach on the field; it is about the whole package and what position the club wants to be in two, three or four years.

Never do what FFA did and state that the coach would be picked on the basis of a fact that was not credential-based.

By all means select what is best - and an Australian probably is at this point of time - but do not limit your options or devalue the position by those statements.

Search far and wide and don't rely on what your club currently has available, but don't discount them either.


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