COULD a formally run VAFA Coaches Association be a way to further bring the men and women who lead our clubs into a tighter unit?
Simon ‘Punchy’ Williams has gone through his coaching career at Old Brighton and Caulfield Grammarians in Premier C, Premier B and William Buck Premier across the last decade.
Punchy coached for nearly a decade taking both sides to Premiership victories. Old Brighton in 2013, and Caulfield in 2019. Both victories saw his teams move into William Buck Premier and Williams experienced the ups and downs that come with playing in the VAFA’s topflight.
Speaking on the latest edition of VAFA Legends, Williams was asked about the challenges that come with being a senior coach and whether the competition can do more to support all coaches across the VAFA.
“In terms of are we looked after? I just don’t think we know each other well enough.” Williams told Russell Barnes.
“There’s a lot of opportunities for players to mingle, generally speaking the coaches have got families. It’s just not the same, one’s won, and one’s lost. There might have been something going on during the game, or you might have not coached well and you’ve got the irrits a bit. It’s just not as good”
“If there was a function or something you go, you know what, I might ring him.”
No matter the section, the common thread amongst the contingent of coaching who’ve come and gone, as well as the ones still toiling away all exude the same sentiment.
You wear your losses for a lot longer than the players do.
“It does, you really do” said Williams when asked if he felt the same way when his side experienced a loss.
“There’s a lot of common ground, it is sometimes hard after a game (to have one on one conversations), there’s a lot of people around. If there was something where we could get together at different times.”
“I just think there’s an opportunity to build that network and get some tips, you know like what do you do in the depths of winter when your ground is getting cooked up and do you roll them on or do you not roll them on”
“Do you go to a gym, or do you go to a pool?”
“You can maybe get a bit of a light bulb moment and go okay, maybe I should do that and maybe that’s a good option for us.”
Coaching in the VAFA has become more professional as the years have gone by.
“The stats side of it, the homework side of it. I like to pride myself on doing homework, I’d be on VAFA TV watching oppositions” Williams remarked.
“When you’re invested in a club like you are… As a coach, all you want to do is win, not at all costs but you want to win because you want to make people happy”
“When you go into the rooms and you sing the song, and you look around and they’re there in the rooms, that is exactly it. When you don’t do that, yeah you go home and you’re upset, you reflect on it and possibly my biggest weakness is for too long.” Williams said.
Williams decided after the abandoned 2021 season, at the conclusion of 2022 to step away from coaching, opting to spend more time with his family. Choosing to spend his weekends watching his son and daughter excel in their respective sports.
He would like to return to the senior fold eventually, but for now he is content in being a father and keeping across the competition one step removed from the inner sanctum of a club.