Continuing our celebration of Women's Coaching Month, next up is Thirds Co-Coach, Kate Francis. Kate has been involved at the MUGARS for many years (you may have spotted her at the end of Reens' profile), which earned her MUFC Life Membership, and returned this year to help coach our new Thirds side. Find out more about Kate's coaching journey below...
How long have you been coaching for and how did you get into it?
My first coaching role was with a MUGARS Youth Girls team from 2010-2012. I’ve done another season or two in an assistant role with seniors. I got into coaching because I wanted to give back to the club and because Youth Girls was the first time 14-18 year old females had their own competition and it was an exciting time to be part of the growth of female football.
What is your favourite thing about coaching?
The people and the club culture at the MUGARS is why I love coaching. You’re surrounded by considerate and dedicated people – players and support staff alike. People want to make the most of opportunities and support each other to grow; it’s a great environment to be part of.
Has coaching taught you anything or helped you in your life outside of footy?
Footy clubs always have a diverse range of people who you have to work and communicate with to achieve a common goal or outcome. This is also an essential skill in the workplace – so yes, coaching gives you practical skills in communication, leadership and general admin!
What are the standout moments from your coaching career?
When coaching Youth Girls, we won the league 'Best Conducted Club' award. I was so proud because it reflected all the facets of the year that made it special: the sportsmanship of the players; the positive can-do supportive attitude of the parent spectator group and of the club in ensuring smooth match days.
Do you have a coaching hero(ine) or someone you try to emulate?
Reens! Reens (and Michael) coached me to my first premiership, they made training fun and made sure they got the best out of us with positive encouragement and developed us throughout the season. I try to foster that approach when working with players - I want them to enjoy their football and improve their skills. Neil Barker has had a massive influence on my coaching - he has taught me so much about footy and managing people and playing groups. In terms of professional coaches, I was impressed by Bec Goddard’s work coaching the Adelaide Crows to their first AFLW grand final win. I also need to note Alicia Eva, who I think is on her way to a stellar coaching career!
What have you missed the most in the periods away from footy in the last year?
I miss the opportunity to work with enthusiastic players. When you’re working with players who want to be at training and develop their footy and are keen for every opportunity to train and improve, that’s what makes you miss it, those players. Any good nicknames you've received from your players?
None that they’re willing to share with me!
And finally, how do you get your players to worship the ground you walk on?
No idea – still working on this… any tips?!