Learning and evolving the key

Justin FrisSouth Western Times
Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault league coach John Baggetta has learned a lot since he started coaching in the mid-90s.
Camera IconHarvey-Brunswick-Leschenault league coach John Baggetta has learned a lot since he started coaching in the mid-90s. Credit: Jack Gibellini

A young Carey Park player named John Baggetta had just finished a gym session at Kelly Park during 1994, when a conversation ultimately change his life in football forever.

“On the off nights I used to use the gym and it was a week before the under 16s had their first game,” he said.

“They needed someone to fill in the following week as they did not have a coach, so John Martinson asked me to take training and eventually coach on the Saturday.

“So I did that and the following week, they asked me to coach them (for the season). I was a bit apprehensive because I was a young guy coaching young men.

“We only had limited numbers. Back then you could only play 20 people, so we went all the way through and dropped one game, but we won the grand final.

“And I think in the last six weeks we only played with 19. I was able to keep a good bunch of kids together and ultimately it was a great grand final — we won on the final siren, so that is where it all stems back to.

“I still see some of those guys around today and I have developed some good relationships.”

Over time, Baggetta moved through the grades and has achieved sustained senior football success in the SWFL.

His most recent silverware came last season, when Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault joined Carey Park as the second club under his guidance to go through a season undefeated and win the premiership.

But Baggetta, a passionate family man who does nothing at half pace, has always learnt throughout his stints at the top, particularly in the ever changing world of communicating with players.

“Back in our era (1980s and 1990s) and the ones before us, it was tough,” he said. “You were told in no uncertain terms what was good and bad.

“You had no choice — you stepped up and did it at training — everything the coach threw at you. It did not matter what it was, you did not question it and you would be back at training the next night.

“As I went along, even in my coaching at first, I was probably too blunt. And I learnt straight away that if you wanted someone to do something for you or wanted players to perform, you had to work with them, not against them, because the era was changing.

“Today, it is more like that in every social aspect.”

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