Today we continue our coverage of the 2018 AFCA Coach of the Year nominee profiles, as we take a look at four of the state’s top Junior coaches in the running for the David Parkin Junior Coach of the Year Award. Mark Koelmeyer reports.
Four outstanding coaches are in the running for the David Parkin Junior Coach of the Year Award which will be presented at the AFL Victoria Community Football Awards dinner on Friday November 9.
The prestigious award is one of a number of coaching accolades that will be handed out at the event, with winners also to be crowned in the NAB AFL Auskick Coach of the Year, Youth Coach of the Year, Female Coach of the Year, Senior Coach of the Year and Umpire Coach of the Year categories.
See below for a brief summary of the David Parkin Junior Coach of the Year Award nominees:
Heath Donnellan- Chelsea JFC (FDJFL)
Heath’s passion for the game is shown through his coaching, providing a safe and enjoyable environment for his under-10 kids to learn and play football.
He has an emphasis on ensuring each player is having fun while learning new skills and doesn’t focus on winning and being overly competitive.
Heath uses parent groups and assistant coaches to help create a suitable environment for kids and focuses on setting the players up for future enjoyment in the game.
While he has a desire to win each game, Heath puts fun and enjoyment above everything else even when it comes to the opposition, ensuring they have enough players to field a team and giving players from his own team when required.
Mick Finn- Heidelberg JFC (YJFL)
Mick Finn is one of the more experienced coaches in junior football, having been involved in a number of NFL championships in his time.
Mick is a great teacher, not only with basic skills but the understanding of the game, constantly repeating game situations at training and giving players clear plans to follow.
He is also a leader at the club as a whole and can be relied on to address any issues amongst the three under-8 and under-9 teams.
He has an incredibly strong bond with the players and is a very motivational coach. His presence is felt around the club by both players and parents and after earning the respect by many in the community, he is able to fill the role of mentor/leader for young kids.
Aaron Wyka- Keilor Park FC (EDFL)
Aaron Wyka has been a shining light at a club struggling with juniors, building a platform for not only young boys but young girls to play football at Keilor Park.
Struggling to fill a team at the start of this season, Aaron took time away from work to coach the Under-11s and committed to creating a positive environment for players.
In just one year he has been able to create a ‘want to be involved’ culture at the club, with more parents, players and assistants attending training than ever before. In addition, he has been pivotal in initiating a number of ideas, including a coaches development committee, signing six new sponsors for the club and creating a foundation for an Under 13 girls team next season.
Regarded highly around the club, especially by parents, Aaron has done a remarkable job in turning the fortunes of a club around in such a short space of time.
Todd O’Sullivan- College Magpies JFC (Hamilton Kangaroos JFL)
As a father of five, Todd O’Sullivan was well prepared to deal with a collection of young kids striving to have fun and learn the game of football.
He emphasises positive communication, constantly interacting with parents, coaches and players to ensure there is an understanding of what he does and why.
He focuses on helping the kids understand football terminology and how best to utilise their skills, putting them in positions to succeed on the field.
As a former footballer, Todd is able to communicate common football knowledge to young kids in a way they can understand, and his focus on building a great TEAM rather than individual players helped his squad earn a spot in the grand final this season.
He is enormously respected amongst the community and his positive and encouraging style has rubbed off on others around the club. Kids love playing for him and that is a testament to his work ethic as a coach.
STAY TUNED next week for a closer look at this year’s 2018 Stan Alves Youth Coach of the Year award nominees…