Development the key for Miller

Shane Miller isn’t just about winning games of footy at the helm of the Cairns City Lions Under 9’s team, be believes it’s as important to develop them as people as well.

“We are trying to develop kids for life, not just for footy. It’s personal development as much as it is sports development,” Miller said.

Miller, the 2015 AFL Queensland Junior Coach of the Year, loves his role, and loves all that footy brings the kids who play it.

“I love it, I absolutely love it. This group of boys gets to develop relationships with people who they might not usually associate with, especially with the area that we are in. They develop friends that we think will probably be there for a long time through their footy,” he said.

“In terms of coaching, not so much changed football wise, but it definitely puts a much bigger focus on the development side of things, with juniors coming into the game.”

He doesn’t just stop with the coaching gig though, Miller plays a big role in the Auskick program, and is the key driver of the Super 6’s program, aimed at getting kids under the age of 6 involved in football, which he hopes will get off the ground in the next year or two.

“We didn’t have a Super 6’s this year, we couldn’t get the numbers to do it, but we introduced a club based Auskick program. It’s going to take time, but because the Auskick program, particularly the club based one as opposed to the school based one that we run, is focused at those juniors to get involved,” he said.

His involvement in the Lions started out as a parent, but it didn’t take too long for him to get his hands dirty.

“It started with my young fella taking up the sport and playing Under 8’s. Obviously I had a keen interest in AFL, but it wasn’t until he started and I got involved that I realised how much I actually enjoy the coaching side of things,” Miller said.

“Basically, I put my hand up to assist with the bloke who was doing the under 8’s coaching role at the time. From there on, I took over that role the next year, and have hung onto it since.”

He uses two key philosophies in his approach.

“Especially with the younger group you have got to make it fun, but you have also got to make sure that they are learning things. I think they get as much out of learning as they do by having fun. As they develop, they take enjoyment in seeing them develop and pick up new skills,” he said.

As for the future, the coaching aspect is definitely something he wants to explore further, because, did he mention he loves it?

“I would love to get more heavily involved in the coaching side of it because I absolutely love it,” he said.

“Early in the year I got involved a little bit with the under 15’s and stuff like that, but obviously that takes up a bit too much time when you are trying to coach your under 9’s side as well, but I do love it and would love to progress further with it.”

While Miller said being awarded the AFL Queensland Junior Coach of the Year was great, it reflected as much on the kids as it did him.

“It’s things like that you get to take back to the kids and tell them it’s as much for them as it is for me, the way they go about it, they way they listen, they are a good bunch of kids.”

I dare say this won’t be the last we hear of Miller in the coaching space.

By Andrew Wiles

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