Women’s Coaching Month: Erini Gianakopoulos (MUWFC)

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When did you started coaching?

Officially in 2003 when I had a year off from playing due to injury. Unofficially, have been an armchair expert since I was a kid.

What do you love about it?

I’m a bit of a football nerd so I love the tactical and strategic aspects of footy. As a Head Coach of a club, you’re responsible for the program and direction of the entire club which is a high-pressure role but I love that, and I think it brings out the best in me as a coach.

What do you want to achieve?

I think any coach’s role is to help set their club up for the future and leave it in a better place than when you first walked in the door. I want to play my part in regenerating MUWFC so we’re celebrating our 50th in 25 years’ time. If I can do that, it’ll take care of my own development needs and coaching pathway.

Any highlights that you have experienced this season?

How much time have you got?!

From first gamers in our Thirds to seeing MUWFC players earn VFLW selection, and everything in between. Overall, just seeing the current players create and build their own MUGAR DNA and culture has been exciting to watch, particularly given it’s been a really important time in our club’s history post transitioning our VFLW side over to North Melbourne. Off field it’s been the way our club has grown closer and looked after each other through times of adversity. Of course, when players finally embraced my excel spreadsheets, that was also satisfying.

How would you like female coaching to grow?

I’d like to see more females back themselves into coaching roles. No doubt many hold back as they don’t believe they’re up to it, but they are! I think we need to get better at selling ourselves and our football knowledge. In saying that, I think the sport still has a cultural shift required to create the right and supportive environment for females to take on roles and develop. I guess when we get to the stage where it’s just ‘coaching’ not ‘female coaching’ then we’ve done our job.