Fremantle held their first Female Coaching Session on Wednesday 18 May, providing an opportunity for community coaches to come down and learn from AFLW Senior Coach Trent Cooper, star midfielder Gabby O’Sullivan and the Club’s Community Coaching Coordinator Cam Shepherd.
The 90-minute session focused on key areas such as skills coaching, player development and the differences between coaching men and women.
Shepherd helped deliver the session on the night and spoke about the importance of providing this resource to our community.
“We’re really committed to any community involvement where we can help, and to show that we care and can improve the game,” Shepherd said.
“It’s something that we’re really keen to do and want the community to realise that we’re a Club that cares.”
Responsible for delivering the Peel Thunder’s first-ever WAFL final appearance in 2015, as well as the club’s inaugural back-to-back premierships in 2016 and 2017, Shepherd shared some of his expertise and personal stories with the group on the night.
“I spoke about what the most important aspects of being a coach are, which were that you want to build trust through caring and you want to give honest, constructive
and positive feedback to young players as they grow,” Shepherd said.
“Once the ice had been broken amongst the group there were some real common themes that came through, and a lot of them shared similar stories and some of the challenges that they had as coaches.
“I think that’s one of the great things about doing one of these workshops, is that they can bounce around ideas, concerns and areas that they might want to improve on with their peers.
O’Sullivan spoke with the group specifically about skill development in key focus areas like kicking, marking and tackling.
As a young female who didn’t have the opportunity to pursue female football in juniors, O’Sullivan said it was fantastic to see the female community coaching space grow.
“Obviously at Fremantle and the AFLW level, it’s the highest level in female football and to give them that end goal and that clear pathway into hopefully playing AFLW one day is super important,” O’Sullivan said.
“Junior football is not a luxury that I had growing up. I did to a certain age but to see that you’ve got coaches who are coaching year 9, 10, 11 and 12 girls is fantastic.”
“For me, (the most important part is) going back to the fundamentals and ensuring that these coaches are drilling into their girls the basic fundamentals of football, how to encourage them, how to inspire them and basically how to get them involved in the game of footy.”