St Peter Claver College teacher and coach Todd Riggs. Picture: Sarah Harvey
St Peter Claver College teacher and coach Todd Riggs. Picture: Sarah Harvey

Vital lessons: Why teachers make top coaches

I LOVE teaching. I am missing my Year 5 class now while they are at home and just that face-to-face contact.

Teaching gives you many skills that are transferrable to other vocations.

It helps you adapt too, as I have found out in the first two weeks of this term.

Currently three National Rugby League coaches are teachers with the Broncos, Sharks and Manly, all looking to the classroom to fill their coaching role with Mr Seibold, Mr Hasler and Mr Morris having done the pedagogy hard yards.

I looked at why teaching has such an influence on football across a variety of football roles with some Ipswich Jets.

Steve Hooper.
Steve Hooper.

Steve Hooper is currently the Wests Tigers strength and conditioner. Before that, he was at the Jets while he was a young PE teacher at Raceview, St Edmunds and Peter Claver College.

"Teaching is coaching. It helps you look for the best way of doing something," Hooper said, reflecting on both roles.

"I actually did PE teaching with the view of somehow working in footy.

"Teaching helped me follow things up, chasing detail and how important little things are to the big picture.

"It also gave me a great work ethic, and emphasised that finishing the job, and the actual time of the day are not related.

"The contacts I made through school boy coaching helped with networking for NRL jobs."

Former Jets half Todd Riggs played 73 games for the Jets from his debut in 2003 until 2012. He balanced scoring eight Intrust Super Cup tries and getting the Jets around the field with teaching at Peter Claver College and coaching at the Jets after he retired from playing.

"My teaching and coaching have almost a symbiotic relationship," Riggs said.

"In so many ways a school is like a large footy team where you need to find ways of building rapport with all the people in that community; the personalities that I have coached are no different to the teachers I have worked with and students I have taught.


Brisbane Broncos coach Anthony Seibold. Picture: AAP Image
Brisbane Broncos coach Anthony Seibold. Picture: AAP Image

Former Jet and Broncos current coach Anthony Seibold did his time teaching at Clairvaux MacKillop College and Holy Spirit at Bray Park.

"The teaching skills that have enhanced my coaching role have been things like being outcome based and process driven thinking, using feedback and assessment and just how to teach and present to people," he said.

"If I wasn't a teacher it would have changed my approach. I would have had to learn how to teach - it's not what you know it is what the players learn and retain.

"I wouldn't have known how to use questions for understanding which is a big part of coaching.''

When I was a student at IGS, Steve Nance was teaching PE and working at the Broncos.

He would go on to work with the Cowboys and Wallabies winning a World Cup and Fulham FC in the English Premier League. Nance started out at the Ipswich Jets plying his strength and conditioning trade.

"Teaching especially PE makes you appreciate organization and planning and how to control numbers outside," Nance said.

"Coaching is really only an extension of this. If you did not prepare a session or lesson, it usually turned out average or even poor.

"Teaching also taught me patience and I applied this to all areas of coaching especially how individuals are so different and quite often need a different approach."


Steve Nance.
Steve Nance.

At the Storm, the man that fills the training and Logistics manager role is former Jets' head trainer Matthew Barradeen who was once a teacher for 10 years at Peter Claver College.

"I think the biggest skill that I gained from teaching that has prepared me for my role in football, is clear communication skills,'' Barradeen said.

"You have to be clear, concise and precise with your instructions in teaching, you realise that that skill is even more appreciated within the sporting environment."