Fostering respectful relationships with players

words by Tackle Your Feelings, Monday 14 February 2022

Daniel Giansiracusa had to adapt quickly.

Straight into the Bulldogs’ coaching ranks after a decorated playing career at the club, the challenging conversation soon came with a former teammate.

“He was young, I reckon in his first or second year, and he squirted me with a drink bottle when I was coaching him,” Giansiracusa reflected, speaking of a young Zaine Cordy on The Coaches’ Box podcast.

“I said, ‘Mate, that can’t happen … you’ve got to understand that there’s a line there now’.”

The crafty forward swiftly learnt the importance of establishing a relationship with players that would be respectful enough to offer – as well as receive – robust and honest feedback. Developing a safe environment, Giansiracusa explains, is crucial.

“It essentially allows people to be at their best,” he said.

“Our coaching group at Essendon at the moment, we’ve got a guy from the University of Queensland, Cliff Mallett, who works on that with us, just our coaching, our education and how we teach. Feedback, how we give it and receive it.

“There’s still opportunity to go really strong and be hard on your players, but there’s got to be a good foundation there with the respect and the relationship that you’ve built with that person.”

Listen to the full episode on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.