Fitzroy Football Club: Great football, Great community, Great culture.

John Mustafa on coaching during COVID-19



Newly appointed Fitzroy-ACU Women's senior coach, John Mustafa, knew he was in for a big season with the Roys. After all, he was coming into a new club, having to learn names, faces and the strengths of his new squad before he could even hit the park. But no one could have predicted what John's first season would look like, and while we're yet to take the field, that hasn't stopped him from going all out to coach his team in ISO.

Over to you John about how youve been coaching, how the team has been going, and what's to come as formal training begins June 1.

First of all, I want to thank Fitzroy for the welcoming environment the Club has already put around me. From top to bottom, everyone has been super supportive (especially in Zoom meetings, HA!).

Before COVID-19 decided to rear its head, I was honestly blown away by the drive and motivation of the group, consistently averaging high 40s even 55+ was truly a remarkable turn out, so kudos to the girls for getting along to those early 'pre-COVID' sessions. And thanks to the fantastic leadership group.

The immediate effects of the coronavirus lock-ins and shut-downs was heavily felt as social groups were minimised. I was proud to see the group pick each other up, dust off, reset and have an attitude of let's hit this bang on the head so when we come back, were ready to do what we set out to do.

Our first instalment of DIY home activities led us to kicking goals and being super creative whilst doing it! We had some players like Gemma Muniz and Hannah kicking goals into a bucket, Julie Meldrum (Yoshi) kicking goals into bins whilst others (cough Tess Young cough!) kicking goals into windows using a full-sized football in the house!

We were off to a flyer, like our normal season would have been, and I could tell these girls were willing to do anything to succeed.

Moving forward we understood that we had to deliver training methods online, Nathan Jumeau was a massive help. He and I were able to break down specifics of the game and tailor it to the needs of the group. Defence, Midfield, Forwards were the focus of the teaching because footy IQ is the most important part for our group moving forward.

Along with our game plan and structures, Simon Jackson (Jacko) was pumping the adrenaline with his online classes every Monday. Players got a mix of training whether high intensity, or strength, or dying on the mat (yes Lenny, I'm referring to you!). We also got fantastic support from ACU with Argells Thursday night training sessions for strength and conditioning.

Having such a wide range of women with different jobs or having unfortunately been made jobless in the current climate, meant that this pandemic would effect many of the team differently, but this led to brilliant ideas from the group to keep morale up.

Sam Hood incorporated her running group to a Zoom session so everyone could continue to enjoy how much they didnt enjoy running together. Luci Murphy decided we also needed a bit of fun so created a quiz night which was a huge success. She also coordinated a painting day where our players got their paint brushes out to create some masterpieces.

After all this time these girls have stuck strong. They are united as a group. And moving forward, are hungrier than ever to succeed.

So this is only a temporary restraint to our path to glory, and now weve had some restrictions lifted and can work on training in small groups again come Monday, we are excited to get back and show that we are a powerhouse.


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