Aaron D’Antino is fast gaining a reputation as one of the best young Australian coaches in world football.
“How important individualising player interaction for learning is, as well as respecting that each player absorbs information differently.
"An example would be sitting down with particular players to preview a new drill we’re incorporating into that session, or showing particular individuals clips highlighting reasons why we’re working on a certain phase of play.
"Taking into consideration how individuals learn most effectively and then personalising my workflow to suit has been an important learning experience.”
The busy schedule in English football is in stark contrast to Australia, where the W-League season only goes for 14 rounds. In England there is a league, two cups and European intercontinental football.
D’Antino was quick to point out that creating a fun and positive environment was important, to stop boredom and to maintain enthusiasm amongst the playing group during such a busy calendar.
“Due to the busy schedule and various non-WSL tournaments the team plays in, remaining creative with the workflow and session design is important for player engagement and education,” he said.
“An example would be sporadically incorporating set pieces into traditional positional drills, creating a level of chaotic learning during a structured session.
“It seems simple, but being time-efficient both on and off the park (particularly during congested periods) is invaluable, and requires detailed planning.”
D’Antino fascinatingly addresses the differences in coaching methods in England compared to Australia.
The curriculum and system employed by coaches in Australia has come under much scrutiny in recent times especially in the female game.
The Young Matildas have failed to qualify for the Youth World Cup seven times in a row. The W-League is seen as not being able to produce players that can compete on the world stage.
D’Antino admits there are differences between coaching styles in Australia compared to England but insisted that he feels he has become a more holistic coach after being exposed to both systems.
“Interestingly, I’ve relocated to the other side of the world but work for an Australian coach.
For me, a noticeable difference is how a traditional week is periodised in England, from both a technical/tactical and physical view, compared to Australia.
“The key difference in periodisation is largely due to midweek games as we in the UK don’t have the luxury of a 6-7 day turn-around to prepare for the next opponent.
Subsequently, drill design and periodisation to efficiently maximise time both on and off the park is a noticeable difference.