Often we think of ‘coach’ as a label for those who give instructions to a playing group but have you ever thought about what being a coach fully entails? They are essentially teaching us, just as our classroom teachers do! You can learn so much from great coaches, not just about the game but also about life itself. Whether that’s handling stressful situations or finding motivation, these lessons have the potential to teach us things that we might carry with us and use in adulthood. The dedicated coaches of TAS member schools play a crucial role in our community, providing support, encouragement and practical skills to their student athletes. 

Below are our favourite pieces of advice from some of Australia’s greatest coaches. Take what you need! 

NRL: Coach Wayne Bennett

Wayne Bennett represented Queensland 9 times between 1971-1973 as a young player before working as a Queensland police officer. He coached in the Brisbane Rugby League winning a premiership in 1985. He was later appointed the first coach of the Brisbane Broncos when the club was formed in 1988 and has since gone on to hold the Australian rugby league record for the most Grand Final wins and most seasons with a single club in a coaching career that spans nearly five decades. 

Team Culture

“It’s who we are and what we stand for that’s important within clubs” 

Wayne Bennett’s philosophy is that the team generally plays the game better if they’re all on the same page and believe the same thing. This starts by having clear boundaries and expectations in the group along with all players knowing where they fit in, what they will be measured upon and how they are supported. 

It’s Okay To Fail

“When a winner fails, he trains harder while a loser blames others. When a winner makes a mistake he says: ‘I was wrong’. A loser says: ‘It wasn’t my fault’.

The lesson here is to live above the line by not blaming, justifying or making excuses when the outcome is not what you had hoped. As a team player, you should take full responsibility for your actions so you can continue to play the game the right way and have the courage to grow. What also matters is learning to accept criticism and disappointment as a part of life so that when it comes you can look it in the eyes and not let it defeat you. Sometimes you’ll have no choice in losing the game, but you do have a choice about how you come back and prepare to win again. 

Basketball: Coach Sandy Brondello

Sandy Brondello started her coaching career in 2005 in the WNBA as an assistant, before becoming the head coach in 2010. In 2013, she won the final as well as the WNBA coach of the year award for the same season. She took over as coach of the Australian women’s basketball team in 2017, taking Australia to a gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and a silver medal at the 2018 World Cup. 

Expect The Unexpected

“Every game we cannot underestimate anyone, we just have to put in more effort and play more like a unit.” 

Chaos and the unexpected are inevitable both in life and sports. This quote from Sandy Brondello reminds us that hard work and dedication is the key to success and, while there may be speed bumps, supporting one another and being prepared for a range of situations will prove to be valuable.

Keep Learning

“It’s okay not to know everything, so ask questions or else find a resource that can help you improve in the area you seek. Most importantly, bring great energy and a great attitude to every single practice and game.”

Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better and this comes from taking small steps each and every day to make a tiny improvement. You can never stop improving yourself and your game, so it’s a great idea to work with someone better than you, equal to you and someone who you can teach. At the end of the day, doing your best is what matters most and any external rewards are just extra. There will only be one person who knows if you play your absolute best and that is you, so your only point of comparison should be yourself the day before.


Football: Coach Ange Postecoglou

Ange Postecoglou started his coaching career with South Melbourne in 1996, the team he played his entire career for; where he won back-to-back NSL titles in the 1997/98, 1998/99 seasons and the 1999 Oceania Club Championships. He coached Australia to win the 2015 Asian Cup before going on to coach teams in Japan and Scotland. 

Play Together

“The team exists because of the players and their ability to follow the team plan.” 

This is an important lesson to learn when it comes to team sports because the ability and willingness to serve your team as both individual players and as a unit is one of the greatest leadership mindsets. You have to learn that you are there for your team, not the other way around. 

Stay Humble

“Every morning the players have to shake the hand of and acknowledge every other player and staff member that they come across.”

Being present and engaging with everyone in your team creates a dynamic and inclusive environment. No matter how successful you become, the ability to act with humility is a trait that will take you far in life and in your career.

We appreciate and would like to thank TAS coaches for the way they’re able to create a balance between setting our students up for success and giving them a safe space to grow into their potential. Some of the best advice we’ve heard from TAS coaches over the years is to believe in yourself by having confidence in your abilities and, most importantly, to keep having fun!