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Heidelberg United FC implements interactive training system, SmartGoals

While physical performance has always been gauged using GPS monitoring, time trials and strength testing, technical attributes have traditionally been challenging to tangibly measure.

It was in his search to bridge this gap that Chris Theodorou, Football Program Manager at Heidelberg United FC discovered SmartGoals.

“It is manufactured by a Dutch company. I first came across it online where I saw the Ajax first team using it during training. It was awesome, I was totally blown away and thought we have to try and get this equipment to Australia.” Theodorou said.

The interactive training system uses a set of targets which are imbued with light signals. Once a player physically passes the goal, or kicks a ball through the goal, another SmartGoal lights up, making it the new target.

This makes the system extremely useful for physical training such as sprint tests and agility tests, but also for driving technical improvement through drills that focus on passing, shooting, or dribbling.

“It’s an interactive system that works with light signals. A smart goal lights up and becomes a target. Whether you want to run through them, shoot the ball through them or something else you do that and once that’s complete the next smart goal lights up.”

Having targets that dynamically change forces players to adjust in a split second, replicating the intensity they experience during an in-game situation.

“Basically, it trains awareness, reaction time, team play and technical skills. The target changes instantly every time a successful SmartGoal has been executed,” Theodorou said.

“It’s challenging and fun for players at all levels. Whether you are a beginner or professional you can use it, there are exercises for people of all abilities and even for people playing with disabilities. The accessibility SmartGoals provides is a huge benefit.”

All of the data gathered is recorded for coaches and players, making it enormously beneficial for identifying development opportunities as well as making it more mentally engaging for players.

“Data collection is so important in sport these days. You can keep track of how fast an individual is, how many goals they’ve scored, and determine their accuracy. The beauty of SmartGoals is that you can now measure their technical ability and watch them grow,” Theodorou said.

The App which comes with SmartGoals also includes a database that contains more than 100 filmed exercises. While originally built for football, the goals have expanded to other sports including hockey and athletics.

The database means coaches can keep training fresh by tailoring their training program to their needs. The filmed videos further assist this, by providing an easy guide on how to setup the exercise and how the player should look when executing the drill.

“The database has exercises that allow you to train individuals, or the whole team. There’s technique training, positional training, possession and more,” Theodorou said.

“They were purposely built for football and since we started implementing them at training, the feedback we have received has been absolutely fabulous.”

With SmartGoals proving a success at Heidelberg United FC, Theodorou believes it is important for more Australian football clubs to invest in burgeoning technology.

In additional to SmartGoals, he has implemented SoccerPLAY into Heidelberg FC’s football program and is a strong advocate of keeping up to date with international trends.

“Clubs must view technology like SmartGoals as an investment, not an expense,” he said.

“Australian football has been a little behind on trends and reluctant to invest. The trends are slowly changing though, we have started tapping into the types of things the leading countries have been using over the last three or four years,” he said.

For more information on SmartGoals, visit HERE.

Northern NSW Football announces Flood Recovery Package

Northern NSW Football has announced its Flood Recovery Package to assist clubs affected by the devastating floods in the region.

The NNSWF Flood Recovery Package, worth more than $130,000 in value, will help clubs replace essential equipment and support families facing financial hardship to meet the costs associated with junior registration fees.

The far northeast of NSW experienced its worst ever flooding in late February. 12 clubs affiliated with Football Far North Coast and North Coast Football were affected by flooding.

Damage ranged from the loss of equipment to total devastation. The damage bill was estimated at $700,000.

NNSWF set up its Flood Recovery Package in response. The package includes:

  • Upfront club grants worth $65,000
  • Replacement equipment valued at $20,000
  • 1400 footballs generously donated by Mitre worth $28,000
  • A specific grant to help clubs absorb governing body fees for families of junior players who face financial hardship worth $18,400

NNSWF’s major partner of community football Newcastle Permanent have also donated 25 sets of aluminium MiniRoos goals as well as pitch markers.

NNSWF CEO David Eland knows the impact of the floods on local football clubs had been significant.

“The scope of the flood recovery package reflects our commitment as the member federation to ease the burden on volunteers and help clubs get back on the pitch as soon as possible,” Eland said.

“In addition to damage and loss, clubs are also faced with the loss of sponsorship from local businesses affected by the floods.”

The Flood Recovery Package also includes a fundraising portal through the Australian Sports Foundation which enables businesses and individuals to make tax free donations.

NNSWF continues to advocate with all levels of government to ensure clubs have access to disaster relief funding.

NNSWF is also committed to helping families facing financial hardship by providing clubs with a specific grant to absorb the governing body fees for players under the age of 18.

“Sport has a unique ability to bring communities together. Its resumption will be a clear signal that the community is on the mend,” Eland said.

“We are committed to helping clubs so kids don’t miss out on playing this season if their families can’t afford registration fees.”

The generosity of the broader football community has been demonstrated through a boot drive at the Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility at Speers Point.

Used boots are being collected at the home of football for delivery to players and clubs in need.

“By the time the season starts I expect hundreds of pairs of boots to be donated to families who lost everything in the recent floods,” Eland said.

“We thank the football community for their generosity.”

Football Victoria’s Multicultural Settlement Program: Building connections through football

Football Victoria’s Multicultural Settlement Program is continuing to build connections within the community and provide opportunities for newly arrived families through the power of football.

On the second weekend of April, Multicultural Programs Officer Abraham Abraham and Greater Geelong Club Ambassador Foddy Kyprian delivered a successful program in the Geelong Region.

Newly arrived Afghan, Karan and African families united for a day of social football and fun, connecting through a shared love of our game. Following the successful initiative, eight of the participants are preparing to transition into their local football Club, located in Corio.

While the Multicultural Settlement Program has created pathways for Miniroos to connect with their local football communities, it is also assisting young leaders to make the step into coaching through paid casual coaching opportunities.

Prior to the weekend’s trip to greater Geelong, the program worked alongside up and coming coaches Suliman and Asfaw.

coaches

The pair have played a key role in introducing football to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse children to students from the WELS Language schools in the Sunshine and Melton areas by hosting free football programs over weekends.

As a result of their their tremendous commitment to growing our game, the Multicultural Settlement Program was able to employ them on a casual basis and provide new equipment for them to continue to run their programs.

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