(Image: Tom McDonald at a Girls Come and Try Day in Biloela)
Visits to each of Football Central Queensland’s 22 clubs is forming part of a busy start to 2016 for Football Queensland Regional Development Officer Tom McDonald.
Based in the CQ Zone, McDonald has held the region’s RDO role since completing a two-year stint as a Development Officer for the Vanuatu Football Federation.
The B-Licenced coach helped design the developing nation’s youth curriculum, worked with national teams and provided technical education to coaches after arriving as part of the then-Australian Youth Ambassadors program.
Now, the Sydney local is committed to raising the standards of coaching in Central Queensland through an extensive series of workshops.
“I’m getting around to each CQ club within a 16-week block to work with all of the community coaches,” McDonald explained.
“That’s specific to what the clubs request. I contact the clubs a couple of weeks beforehand, they tell me what they want and what their coaches want and we work on that.”The coaching workshops are part of a full schedule of engagements which also include plans to develop two AIA Vitality MiniRoos Kick-Off sites in Rockhampton and Gladstone and a 10-week Skill Acquisition Program for nine to 11-year-olds held in Rockhampton, Gladstone, Biloela and Emerald.
In May, McDonald will make the roughly eight-hour trip west to Longreach to engage with local communities.
“I’m going to hit Blackwater and Emerald on the way out there to do some grassroots coaching courses, get into some schools and do a bit of work with the local clubs there,” he said.
McDonald combines his RDO responsibilities with a role as Technical Director at CQ Mariners, which has bases in Rockhampton and Gladstone and competes in the Inter-City Challenge junior competitions.
Though admitting the player pathway is “still a work in progress,” McDonald is pleased with the response to recent initiatives like this year’s school holiday clinics – which attracted 120 participants across two camps.
“We had 80 kids at the last one and did a coaching session on the last day. We had six coaches and 16 players come help us and I put on a model session, talking through the coaching philosophies,” he said.
“The Mariners are really trying to give back to the community because there is a perception that they just take good players and that’s it.
“Through the Academy and through the clinics we really want to show that the club is giving back.”
If you are player, coach or club seeking more information about football in Central Queensland, contact Tom McDonald via TomM@footballqueensland.com.au or head to Football Central Queensland’s website.