Coach In Focus ~ Chris Bates

Hawks News: Coach In Focus ~ Chris Bates

Meet Year 3 Gold Coach Chris Bates

1.How long have you been coaching footy for at AMPJFC and other clubs?

I have been coaching at AMPJFC for the last 4 years (3 years of Auskick and now the year 3’s). I started coaching 30 years ago and coached through most of my senior playing career. I have coached both junior and senior teams and am currently also a co-coach of the Brentwood Booragoon Veterans teams.

2. Did you play footy yourself as a youngster? If so who for and what age till.

I started football as a 5 year old and played junior footy in Narrogin until I unfortunately broke my back at the age of 16. We had dominant teams through under 14’s and under 17’s (5 premierships in 6 years) and I got the opportunity to play some rep footy for South Fremantle and some local league footy at a young age.

After a few years of recovery I resumed playing senior footy at Collegians in Perth, then played in country leagues for Narrogin (Towns), Williams, Lake Grace and Albany (Railways). I was fortunate to play in 5 grand finals for 3 premierships during this time and participate in Wesfarmers carnival sides. A highlight for me this year was the recent 20 year reunion of our 1998 and 1999 premiership wins in Lake Grace. 

3. Who was your best coach when you played? Why? 

Matt O’Meara was my under 17 coach in Narrogin in 1987 when most of our team was only 15 years old (playing against 16 year olds). Matt was so encouraging and spoke calmly and succinctly to each individual player before a game. I vividly remember his talk with me before the 1987 grand final where he simply said ‘I trust you to beat your man because you are super fit and can outmark anyone you play on – just play to your strengths, run hard all day and we’ll overrun them’. We went on to win the flag and all the boys had similar stories of how Matt backed them in to do a job for the team that day.

4. How many kids do you have playing with the Hawks?

My son Zac is in my year 3 gold team

5. What age groups have you coached?

I have literally coached every age group – from 5 year olds up to 55 year olds!

6. What got you into coaching?

My broken back (sustained playing basketball) was the trigger for me to go into coaching. I was the captain of our under 17 team at the time and the coach encouraged me to help him after my injury. I have coached football and basketball on and off since then, as well as some golf coaching when I wasn’t playing football. My day-job involves performance coaching for CEOs and businesses executives, so it is just something I love doing.

7. What do you enjoy about coaching?

I love sharing knowledge and watching players develop, particularly teaching them how to read the play and make good position on and off the ball. In junior footy, the looks on the kids faces when they master a new skill or do something great on the field is priceless – and our job is to give them plenty of feedback and encouragement so that they improve and enjoy their own development.

8. What are some stand out moments as a coach?

Having coached a few premierships, they stick out as the stand-out moments. Just watching the players rejoice in a team achievement after a long year together is very satisfying. It has also been great to see half a dozen kids that I have coached go on to make it at the top level and carve out AFL careers.

9. What is your focus for the team this year?

My focus for our team is on feedback, learning and parent education. We have a tight-knit team that has a lot of fun and applies what we teach them – and they are particularly good with their tackling, voice and use of handball – which underpin a game style of moving the ball faster than our opponents. We are also continually working on spreading the ball and improving kicking techniques. The more we can get parents kicking the ball with the kids outside of training the better, so we are coaching them as well!

10. What is your catch phrase that you always say to your players eg words of wisdom, inspirational message etc

I don’t have a catchphrase as such, but we are very focused on being the loudest team on the field and moving the ball quickly. MOVE IT ON, PLAY ON and USE YOUR VOICE are probably things I say a lot.

11. What AFL Team do you barrack for?

Geelong – go the mighty cats!

What Paul says: “Chris is doing an amazing job as coach of the year three gold team. He is devoted to the improvement of all players.”

What Jess says: “Chris Bates has fostered a strong and nurturing relationship with his group of footballers, all of whom idolise and respect him. He dedicates an enormous amount of time to researching and developing his coaching techniques. Having coached his group through Auskick before breaking out into Juniors this year, Chris has kept the kids engaged, focusing on team spirit, inclusion and kinship. Firm, patient and always fair, the team and parents appreciate his approach and dedication to his team and the AMPJFC.”  

What Adam says: “Chris does a great job at coaching the team, running training drills (sometimes more advanced than expected) with the year threes with good results. It’s been great working with him at training and seeing great results with the teams progress.”

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