It was fantastic to meet up with the staff of the national team during their preparations for the final Test-Match against England in Birmingham. Dirk Spits is the lead S&C Coach with the ‘Diamonds’ and it was such a joy to see him again after quite a long time. I managed to spend a little time with Mary Toomey who, along with her vibrant colleagues, has created a quite remarkable journey for the developing player in Australia.
She has created a journey from Physical Competence Screening through to Athletic Development for the coaches of the nation and it has been a matter of taking little steps. As with most coaches there is a degree of confidence in delivering the technical and tactical aspects of the journey. The biggest issue in today’s climate of a lack of ‘physical literacy’ is to be able to create the progressive journey for both technical/ tactical and athletic development. Mary has identified that confidence in delivering movement efficiency, consistency and resilience is not as high as the delivery of the technical and tactical elements and has created a practical journey for the coaches.
Simple resources and plenty of workshops appears to be the key strategy and the hope is that this direction will create a new generation of players with mechanical efficiency to go with their undoubted sports-specific skills. Mary also notes the reduction in controllable injuries that are experienced along the continuum to high performance. I think the major component of this ‘change’ is to prescribe a set of sessions for the coaches to follow in the first instance and to ‘workshop’ these early steps with the Why? and How? As each coach ‘grasps the nettle’ and accepts the responsibility for more than just the technical and tactical journey so their confidence and creativity will grow.
There is still a long way to go but Mary and her colleagues have made the start – a brave step indeed.