Coaching Appointments Policy

The Mosman Swans coaching appointment process encourages the rotation of coaches through a 2/3 year cycle.

The rationale being:

  • kids benefit from a number of coaches through the course of their junior career, getting a diversity of learning experiences and multiple mentors.
  • tap more of the parental resources within the club, helping us to identify interested parties, making more positions available and participation more accessible.
  • in time develop a pool of experience, with former coaches and aspiring coaches adding to the team support.

Appointment process

At the end of each season we call for expressions of interest in all coaching & assistant coaching positions.

Where more than one person is interested in a head coaching position we will discuss alternatives with the applicants. If required, a three person selection panel (comprising club president, football manager and coaching mentor) will make an appointment, with following considerations:

  • Incumbent coach nominating for a second season receives favourable bias to capitalise on their experience and reward their effort.
  • No bias for third season. If a coach is appointed for a third season there is an expectation they will aim to identify and groom a potential successor during that season.
  • Bias towards a new coach if incumbent nominating for a fourth season. Time given in assistant coaching role viewed favourably in selection process.

Aspiring and retiring coaches are encouraged to take on support roles whenever possible, building a core of experience and expertise around our teams.

Divisionalisation Policy U12's

To maximise participation and competitiveness we are committed to the goal of two teams per age group, ensuring we offer the optimal playing environment for players of all standards through all age groups.

Divisionalisation begins with the Under 12 age group. At Mosman Swans the grading process takes account of player maturity, group harmony and overall team competitiveness across both divisions. For player retention and development we seek to avoid having one dominant team and one weaker, non-competitive team in an age group. Post divisionalisation we are no longer Reds and Whites, we are Div 1 and Div 3 (Bloods and Warriors). Players represent their age group and many will move between the two teams over the course of a season, as coaches balance the needs of the respective sides over time.

In accordance with the new age group focus, all Under 12 players train as one group through the preseason. Prior to round one the appointed coaches agree on two squads of equal size, aiming for:

  • competitive teams in both divisions
  • facilitating friendships where practical
  • a balanced split of former Red/Whites across both divisions.

The initial squads will be revised week to week in accordance with respective needs of the two teams. There is likely to be little difference between the top group of div 3 players and div 1- we maximum options with this group of players by moving them between teams depending on competitive situation, availability and performance.

All subsequent training sessions are to have some combined exercises between the two squads.

Coaching mentors are to have a consultative role in the process, with oversight provided by the Youth Football Coordinator and the Football Committee.

Relevant Laws:

AFL rules in divisionalised age groups require we have 10 players on a “Restricted Player List” (RPL) who are not eligible to play in the lower division. These players make up the nucleus of the higher division and will be the only players not expected to play in the lower division, should rebalancing be required.

Finals eligibility rules dictate players cannot play in lower division finals if they played a greater number of games in a higher grade (or age group). Coaches need to note this when rotating players through the lower division and ensure sufficient players are finals qualified for both divisions. It is generally easier to qualify players from the next age group down and this is an important alternative when extra players are required.

Finals Policy

In “home and away” games coaches target approximately equal playing time over the course of the season and at least three quarters every game.

In recent seasons, in our endeavour to offer as many kids as possible to the opportunity to play AFL, team squad sizes have expanded, in some cases well over optimal numbers. This is manageable during minor round, where there is flexibility to roster, modify team size, even up (lending players to opposition), plus regular illness/absenteeism to ensure all available players are getting at least three quarters every week.

In finals games where all players tend to be available, coaches must select all primary squad members. Where this leads to an extended interchange bench, the minimum playing time is relaxed. In elimination finals it is recognised that winning provides further playing opportunities for all players. Accordingly, in finals matches coaches have discretion to manage interchange as the competitive situation dictates, provided all players receive a minimum of half a game playing time.

Where the issue of minimal playing time is likely to arise coaches are required to inform players and parents in advance, so that player expectations are met on match day.

Thank you again to the coaches and team managers who, despite the potential complications, agree to take on expanded squads in the interest of getting more kids into the game.

Club Rotations Policy

The purpose of this policy is to highlight the benefits of player positional changes in AFL and align player and parental expectations with coaching practice, by establishing a consistent approach across all teams within each age group.

Non-specialisation is a major of attraction of AFL at the junior level. Under AFL rules there are mandatory rotations of players through the three playing zones (backs, centres and forwards) for the under 9 and under 10 age groups. Players do begin to specialise more as they get older, but versatility remains an essential and attractive feature of AFL right through to the elite level.

To ensure all players continue to develop their skills in multiple positions the club provides the following coaching guidelines for the respective age groups:

Junior Under 9 – Under 12

Under 9 and under 10: all players rotated through all three zones every game (minimum of one quarter of playing time per zone). This is consistent with the modified rules for these age groups.

Under 11 and under 12: all players rotated through at least two zones every game and through all three zones over a two game period (i.e. Not rotated through the same two zones each week).

All players must get at least three full quarters of playing time every game and an equal amount of playing time over the course of the season.

Youth Under 13 – Under 16

As players mature they may spend more time playing in a primary position, but they still need to play multiple positions throughout the course of the season. We know children all develop and mature differently. For example, some kids may be tall at age 12 but mid sized by age 15. If experienced in a range of positions, they will adapt far more easily to this change in relative body size. The elite development programs (Swans Academy and NSW Talented Player Program) also expect versatility from players.

All players are to average at least three quarters of playing time per week.


  • Kids enjoy playing multiple positions. It maintains their interest and level of stimulation.
  • Regular positional changes improve our player’s and our team’s adaptability and versatility. Everyone benefits.
  • Equitable rotations and playing time is critical for the long-term strength of each age group, with healthy retention rates strongly correlated to equality of opportunity.
  • These guidelines are minimum standards that must be upheld to ensure optimal development of every player, team and age group.

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