Glenn given new perspective by coaching juniors Bears
Author : Lachlan Prince QRL
Alex Glenn is always one to find a positive amongst any negatives and during his time on the sideline with injury earlier this season, the Brisbane Broncos captain took to opportunity to delve into the world of junior community coaching.
Glenn said the experience of coaching his son’s under 6 team on the Gold Coast came from an unusual set of circumstances.
“Originally, I didn’t plan out to be a coach,” Glenn said.
“It just so happened, there was a few possible teams down at their footy club and they didn’t have enough coaches, so they sort of put it on us to be a coach.
“So [myself and three of my mates whose boys are all in the same team] made a deal that if they put all our boys in the same team, then we will coach.
“Obviously with my schedule, it’s hard to commit to coaching the boys’ team, because sometimes I might not be able to make training on a Tuesday afternoon with my own training, so I couldn’t really commit [100 per cent], so the help of the other boys will definitely benefit our team, but I really enjoy the process so far.”
The junior coaching role has been a very different experience, but Glenn said he was loving every second of it.
“It was an eye opener the first training session, I was definitely not prepared for what was about to happen,” Glenn said.
“Obviously, being a professional athlete, you understand what training all is about and everything goes out the window when you coach under 6s, because their attention span is gone in 20 seconds max – so trying to explain drills to the kids doesn’t go down too well so you learn pretty quickly.”
Glenn said the community coaching course he completed with fellow Broncos players, including Brodie Croft, to become an accredited community rugby league coach gave him a few tricks of the trade which he has utilised during his tenure.
“I think the best thing was when I was doing the coaching course was, they taught me that training under 6s is about playing games and trying to put it in a way that is related to football, but at the same time, the kids just want to play,” Glenn said.
“There are little periods in the session where you can do some very basic skills, like catch and pass; but the majority of the session, you are playing bull rush, you are playing war tag and you are having little games.
“In the (few) weeks, I’ve really enjoyed the challenge and seeing the kids enjoy the footy side of things, at training and playing games, but it has definitely taught me a lot in regards to patience.”
Coach Alex Glenn and his little Under 6 charges. Photo: supplied
The experience coaching at the Burleigh Bears – where he himself played as a junior – encouraged Glenn to look back on his rugby league journey and the impact his junior coaches had on him.
“I definitely have a memory, because my uncle Toni Kapi was my first junior coach and he’s been a great mentor for me both on and off the field, still to this day,” Glenn said.
“Back then, I was in the halves, so he taught me a lot about trying to be the best five-eighth in the competition.
“I wasn’t the biggest guy and I played in Auckland, New Zealand, so I was coming up against huge Islander players and for me, I wanted to be the best defensive player, so I got great practice against the big boys.
“My uncle used to always say ‘the bigger they are, the harder they fall’, so I just chopped their legs and hung on for dear life.”
The main difference Glenn noticed when comparing the eras was the inclusion of the no tackling rule.
“The biggest change is the no tackling and I think it’s great because at under 6, if a kid cops one big hit, they are going to be scared of playing rugby league again and that’s not what we want,” Glenn said.
“We want the kids to go out there and have fun and not be scared and enjoy playing footy, so I think it’s an amazing rule that they’ve brought in.
“It allows the (kids) to still play football, but to take out that contact.
“But in terms of everything else, I think the training is still the same, where there lots of games, kids just want to go out there and throw the ball around and if you can structure it so there’s aspects of learning footy at the same time, that’s going to help them.”
Glenn said his son shared many characteristics of his own and reminded him of what he was like at that age.
“It’s cool when you see your own child go through their own footy journey, it brings back memories of when I was that age and I got to lace up the boots for the first time and now he is doing exactly what I was doing,” Glenn said.
“He doesn’t want to take his footy boots off and wants to wear his training gear everywhere, to the shops and everything so it’s awesome to see his excitement because it brings back memories I had when I was with his age.”
The Gold Coast Junior Rugby League are currently on a two-week junior holiday break now, with games to resume on July 17, with rounds 10-14 still to come.
Find out more about how you can follow in the footsteps of Glenn and become a community rugby league coach at qrl.com.au/play.
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