The Sunshine Coast’s Jazmin Tweddle never set out to become a football coach. In fact, up until a few years ago, she had never touched a football.
It wasn’t until the high-level netballer relocated to Brisbane and missed out on trials that she even considered giving another sport a go.
“When I moved to Brisbane for work, I missed all the trial dates for the netball teams. I needed to find a sport…so I went to Kedron AFL Club and I absolutely loved it,’’ she said.
“The coach was super lovely, so I started playing and loved it. It was so good to be a beginner again.”
Already wrapped up in the challenge and community that local football provided, a move to the Sunshine Coast prompted her to reignite a forgotten love for coaching young talent.
“Netball was all about giving back to the sport…when I was 13 I was coaching the U13s team,” she said.
“When I decided to move to the Sunshine Coast, I went to Maroochydore [Football Club] on the recommendation of my old coach…while I was there playing seniors the opportunity presented itself to coach and I just thought, why not?
“Coaching the U11s has been so rewarding. I think just the relationships that you develop with the girls, being female but also playing for the club in the Seniors they look up to you and it’s so rewarding to see.”
Since first giving footy coaching a go earlier this year, the 24-year-old is now honing her skills. Coaching U15s at the Brisbane Lions Hyundai Help for Kids Academy.
Her unconventional path into coaching football is one that is familiar among the women coaching at the Academy.
There’s Shannon Hill, a Sunshine Coast High School teacher with an ambition to share her lifelong love for AFL with her students. Belle Dawes, a Brisbane Lions AFLW talent chasing her passion for coaching.
It’s this diversity of experience and backgrounds that Lions Academy Regional Manager, Dayne Frew says enriches the coaching landscape.
“I think that it’s important to have variety within the coaching team,” Frew said.
“You look at a footy team and everyone brings something different to the table and it’s the same for a coaching group. Everyone has their own strengths and coaching areas, and everyone compliments each other.”
“The energy and empathy that the women we have coaching bring, sets them apart and the girls can relate to them and feel comfortable around them because of it.”
“This is the first time that 13-, 14- and 15-year-old girls have had the opportunity to get involved in the Academy, and with more players we need more coaches, and alongside that to have a good program we need good people and good coaches.”
“With the structures we have in place, we can support them and teach them, as well as the kids, the skills that they can then take back to their clubs.”