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The Winning Formula

The Modern Game Article – Monday 18th April 2011

Charlie Sheen slotted the word into every second sentence, however, most of us realised by any definition he probably wasn’t “winning”.  Winning is important and sought after but it takes many different shapes and can be seen from many different angles.  “The Modern Game has a simple philosophy for junior football clubs.  Development and improvement equals winning.”  Says The Modern Game founder Craig Winter. 

“We have a firm and simple belief; winning has to be about more than the scoreboard.  This is just so important at junior levels.  We want to keep kids involved in the game.  We want parents and players to enjoy the game.  At the end of the season only one team will be premiers.  The players and the parents must have come away with something other than their position on the ladder.  Skill development and improvement, both for coaches and players is a win.  It is about the kid that now kicks with both feet, or can mark above his head, has played in every position or is simply more confident about their footy.  Junior players are far more likely to stay connected with the game and their club if they are getting a dozen of these little wins.”

It can be a tough sell, as Craig knows.  The desire to leave the field victorious is a seductive and powerful motivator.  “You can’t coach the scoreboard.  You can coach your players.  If they are learning, understanding and enjoying the scoreboard tends to look after itself.”

A new pathway

As the game grows and evolves all of the people involved with the organisations that are a part of the game must evolve also.  This has been true of The Modern Game, the brain child of Craig Winter.

A familiar face at local football clubs for many years Craig started The Modern Game with dual aims.  “Initially I spent most of my time providing analysis for senior clubs, on both opposition and their own teams.  Whilst doing this I became aware that many clubs had well resourced senior clubs, however, junior clubs that, serviced many more players were struggling to best use their resources.  The most valuable resource these clubs had was their coaches, most of whom were passionate parents.”

Helping junior football clubs better support their coaches and as natural flow on, their players, quickly became the main focus for The Modern Game.

“Supporting coaches through skill development, advice, exposure to a wider base of information and then helping them implement this knowledge has become our core business.  It is incredibly rewarding to see coaches grow in confidence, try new approaches and better develop the kids in their care.”

The Modern Game is currently working with a number of junior clubs and has provided support as far away as Queenscliff and Swan Hill.  “The bottom line is that parents want to be involved.  We want to help the clubs help them be better coaches.” Says Winter.