Ipswich Knights technical director Joe Fenech.
Ipswich Knights technical director Joe Fenech. Rob Williams

Let elite juniors focus on one sport: Fenech

AS the region's best young footballers enter pre-seasons for next year, Joe Fenech raised another important issue.

That was expecting kids to play multiple sports and excel at them all.

"Why put kids under pressure? They have enough pressures in life with school and everything else,'' Fenech said.

"Parents are now wanting their kids to play too many sports.

"One example is a lot of the kids that make the elite level - such as NPL (state football competition) - they can't really play another sport because it's a 43-week season.

"What happens is a lot of them play cricket, play futsal, play all sports, and then what they are doing is missing out on a pre-season.

"They are underdone, which then causes injuries if they are not prepared for that particular sport.

"You can be fit but you may not be match fit.

"And if you don't attend the pre-season, you don't understand the playing style. You don't understand the tactical requirements, the individual roles, the collective roles and they miss out.''

Having travelled widely fulfilling his multiple coaching roles, Fenech said the most promising players needed to decide what sport to concentrate on.

"Australia wide, we are really delivering a lot of a "Jacks of all sports'' but masters of none,'' he said. "Whereas in the 50s and 60s and 70s, Australians were champions at everything.''