“It’s having that mindset that it’s not what I want to get out of it; it’s what I want the players on the pitch to get out of it.” – Jarrod Pollard
Photo Credit: Pedro Garcia
Jarrod Pollard will be the under-12s Girls Skills Acquisition Program (GSAP) coach in 2022 in what will be his fifth year coaching at South Coast Flame. Pollard also played for the club in 2018 and 2019 making his first-grade debut in that time, which he said was his favourite memory in the game so far.
“I was driving up with my parents in the car; I was in the back seat and we were halfway up Mount Ousley and I just get a call out of nowhere saying ‘yeah, you are starting first-grade’. This just came out of the blue because I hadn’t trained one session with first-grade,” he said.
“I got up there basically three hours before I had to.
“We probably defended for about 95% of that game and we won 2-1. There was a feeling of accomplishment on that car ride home.”
Having coached from the age of 16, Pollard began coaching at the Flame in 2017 after completing his Football Australia Youth-C licence. He said being involved more in the sport was one of the key reasons behind getting into coaching.
“It’s a getaway from when playing can be frustrating sometimes,” he said.
“It’s just a different perspective. I’m overseeing a whole team and I’m focussing on getting other people better rather than focussing on myself and my teammates getting better on the pitch.”
In 2021, he coached the under-11 GSAP team where he said there was great development from the squad over the year. Pollard believes the experienced coaches at the Flame as well as taking his own experiences from his time playing the game have been important parts of his coaching development journey so far.
“Having an open mind when you’re younger and coaching definitely will keep you in good stead in the long run for sure,” he said.
“I remember at the start of this year, out of the 11,12 [players] we had, only two or three of them were in the SAP program last year, so a lot of them came from club [local teams] and we struggled a bit at the start of the year. We went up against Sutherland [Association]… we lost by a fair bit.
“I told them at the start we will get near them by the end of the year and it got to the point where one of the last games we played before lockdown we were down 2-0 [to Sutherland] with about 10 minutes to go and a couple of goals either way, we would have been in it.
“That’s when I thought these girls have come leaps and bounds from the start of the year and [it was] a confidence thing as well. Watching their confidence grow, I had a couple of players who didn’t want to say ‘boo’ at the start of the year because they were just too nervous coming to a program and now they’re all settled and they’re chatterboxes!
“Allowing them to feel comfortable in an environment like that is a goal of mine, so watching them develop throughout the year both in technical ability and confidence; that’s a must for me.”
South Coast Flame has recently announced the trial dates for the 2022 season with trials starting from next week.