One of Asian football’s leading High-Performance specialists Craig Duncan has begun a new relationship with Football NSW. As a world renowned and respected figure in the areas of both athletic performance and preparation, Duncan will work closely with the governing body in an attempt to provide advice and support for players, coaches and parents alike.
Providing a clear and logical path through often complex, competitive and challenging junior football structures, Duncan’s work is based on a simple clarification and a reminder of why the game is played in the first instance.
Highlighting the often vicarious motivations of parents and coaches, Duncan, a former representative goal-keeper, sees football as an activity initially undertaken for the raw pleasure of kicking a ball and the enjoyment of being in the company of peers. He insightfully reminds all those involved in the game that the sheer joy of football can often be high jacked by over-zealous coaches and the lofty expectations of parents, who perhaps failed to meet their own as players some years earlier.
A lecturer at the Australian Catholic University and after stints working with Sydney FC, the Western Sydney Wanderers and the Socceroos during their successful Asian Cup campaign of 2015, Duncan’s experience and knowledge in both the successful preparation for and playing of the game of football make him one of the most respect Australian voices in Sports Science.
Duncan’s formal partnership with Football NSW will involve a collection of informative videos and recorded seminars posted on the bodies’ official website. The content will cover a range of topics relevant to young players and those involved in junior football.
The basics of physical preparation for football will feature; areas such as hydration, sleep and rest as well as successful strategies to look after a young athletes muscles via effective exercise and stretching practices.
However, it is Duncan’s emphasis on creating an awareness of what an appropriate perspective on the career and performance of a young footballer should look like for a parent and/or coach, is potentially the most important part of his work and message.
Such was the basis of his presentation to an interested and enthusiastic audience at the home of Football NSW at Valentine Park in Sydney’s north-west some weeks back. Dr Duncan’s presentation has now been uploaded and can be viewed at;
Based on a lifetime involved in the game, Duncan’s words and the effective visual aids used to simplify and enunciate his message, create a powerful insight into the pressures and expectations often placed on young footballers by the adults surrounding them.
Using alarming and dramatic recreations of abusive coaches, anecdotal tales of parents blinded by a personally driven dream for their child and the harrowing effect such behavior can have on a young player, Duncan is able to convey his message with clarity and effectiveness.
Incorporating personal experiences from his own time as a player and coach when involved in the football journey of his own child adds a weight of validity and value to his presentation that would strike a chord with any parent.
Sadly, his message will not alleviate poor behavior on the sidelines, nor immediately eliminate parents less interested in their children’s success that their own reputation in the game. However, as he correctly points out, raising awareness to such issues and reaching out to others, armed with accurate information and a considered perspective is an important step in reshaping expectations and behavior.
The path through junior football can be a difficult one to tread for parents wishing success for their child. Dr Duncan’s advice on the journey is incredibly valuable in mapping a course that benefits not only the mums and dads on the sidelines, those charged with coaching young athletes, but also the players themselves.