In The Technical Area With Elise Finlayson

In the Technical Area with Elyse Finlayson Title Image

Elise Finlayson is is currently a Girls Youth League coach at APIA Leichhardt.

Can you give us a an overview of your coaching journey thus far?

I’ve been directly involved in football for 26 years through playing, coaching, refereeing and as a passionate spectator / supporter of the world’s game.

I’ve played within the FNSW NPL space for approximately 12 years. I played all my youth and senior football within the FNSW NPL environment as a Goalkeeper with teams such as Illawarra Stingrays, Macarthur Rams and Sutherland Shire FC. Throughout my time as a player, I had a few years having dual responsibilities as ‘player-coach’ and have been within the FNSW NPL coaching environment for approximately 8 years.

When did you first start coaching and why?

I pride myself to be an avid learner. As a player I would pride myself as a student of the game and this desire to understand the game and increase my knowledge increasingly grew as I entered senior football. There were a few coaches growing up that made an impact in my day-to-day life, and this is what influenced me wanting to pave my own pathway as a coach / teacher in the future.

As I grew a stronger passion for coaching, I attended several courses and really enjoyed the experience of learning new content and then applying what I learnt into a team environment. The feeling of creating an idea, applying it, watching the execution, and observing players achieve success, a positive outcome or react with sheer happiness is an indescribable feeling which really drives me and inspires me to continue coaching.

What do you think are the 3 main characteristics of a successful coach?

  • Communication & Emotional Intelligence
  • Being Approachable
  • Problem Solving and Decision Making

How do you keep developing yourself as a coach to be the best you can be for your players?

I’m taking my current role with the U16’s at Apia Leichhardt as an opportunity to develop, broaden and increase my own football knowledge so when I do coach senior football, I’m confident in my understanding of the game and as a coach, I can provide the best environment for players to achieve success and positive outcomes. I have a vision and philosophy that assist the style of football I’d like my team to play which I’m continually modifying / defining and will continue to modify and define.

However, I’m taking this season as an opportunity to really increase my own tactical understanding and football knowledge by trialling new systems within my current understanding of the game. I’m also always learning through watching the game, whether it be the FNSW NPL Youth and Senior Leagues or following professional leagues such as the English Premier League, Champions League, or Women’s Super League. I also participate and engage in any formal education workshops, events or courses that are provided by Football Australia, FNSW and other organisations to improve my understanding of the game but I genuinely believe that creating, implementing, and executing training sessions, analysis and game day plans are the best ingredients to produce excellent learning.

If you could turn back the clock, what advice would you now give to yourself when you first started coaching based on the experiences you have had?

Don’t determine your success on results but rather your effort towards your vision and goal. Don’t be so hard on yourself because as you are helping players achieve their own potential, you should be looking at your own development through the same lens, be confident in your ability. Strive for progress and not perfection as a little progress each day will add up to big results in the future. Trust your process.

What law of the game would you change to make a coaches life easier?

I would change that you can score directly from Throw Ins. I’m not entirely sure if it would make a coaches life easier but I really think that if teams could score directly from Throw Ins, it would change how coaches look at Throw Ins as set-pieces which would be something exciting to explore.