Seated coaches model positive behaviour

Glenunga Football Club junior coaches are seated to coach during play in a National Pharmacies SANFL Juniors Under-12 Division 1 boys match this season as part of the Sit Down to Coach initiative.


After successful stints over the past two years, SANFL’s innovative ‘Sit Down to Coach’ initiative has been expanded in the 2024 season.

Sit Down to Coach Round requires all coaches and team officials to be seated in the designated coaching zone on the sidelines during play for all National Pharmacies SANFL Juniors competitive matches.

The expansion, which will see nine rounds across the season in total feature the initiative, had resulted in positive ‘ratings’ for coach behaviour, highlighting its ongoing success.

The opening three weeks of this season were compulsory Sit Down to Coach rounds, with Rounds 7-9 and 12-14 also to see clubs undertake the initiative in every match from under-12s through to under 17.5s (boys) and under-18s (girls).

The Sit Down to Coach weekend was first introduced as a pilot in National Pharmacies SANFL Juniors late in the 2022 season to help teach and improve positive behaviour towards umpires, and in general at matches.

SANFL Competitions Manager – Juniors and Schools Oliver Graham said after the successful pilot, the number of rounds was increased to three in the 2023 season, with some clubs even electing to adopt the method for the entirety of the season, resulting in significant improvement in behaviour.

“The Sit Down to Coach Rounds across the past two seasons have seen the average score ratings for coach behaviour reach a new positive level, with more maximum coach ratings of ‘five’ than ever before,” Graham said.

“Poor coach ratings, player incidents (red and yellow cards) and spectator behaviour all decreased on average across these rounds.

“This really reaffirms the pivotal role a coach plays on the overall match day environment.

“Further to this, it’s been pleasing to see individual coaches and some of our SANFL Juniors clubs implement the Sit Down to Coach philosophy across their club at all home matches.”


Golden Grove Football Club’s junior coaches and officials are helping to provide positive role modelling and improve on-field behaviour by supporting SANFL Junior’s Sit Down to Coach initiative.

SANFL Juniors Football Operations Coordinator Nick Bremner highlighted the importance of having initiatives such as Sit Down to Coach Round to help ensure that both players and umpires enjoyed a positive match day environment.

“With junior umpire numbers increasing as rapidly as they are, it’s important that we retain them and by sitting down to coach, it helps takes a lot of the emotion out of coaching,” he said.

“By sitting down, coaches are more calm and less likely to yell out or make a poor decision.

“We want everyone to have a great matchday experience, with sitting down to coach a great step towards creating a better, more positive matchday environment.”

A significant rise in umpire numbers in National Pharmacies SANFL Juniors also was contributing to a better match day experience, with a positive impact on behaviour both on and off the field.

National Pharmacies SANFL Juniors Umpire Manager Jason Brown said that with over 700 umpires registered in the competition, SANFL was able to fill umpiring appointments at every one of its 550-plus junior games every week, with decisive umpiring inappropriate behaviour.

“All of our junior umpires are provided with ongoing training and education to equip them with managing games, and we have more umpire coaches at games supporting them than ever before,” Brown said.

“However, it must be remembered that the majority of umpires in SANFL Juniors are Under 18 and, just like players, many are still developing and learning the game and should be supported and treated with respect.”


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