Action from the Ipswich City Bulls Heat under-10 team playing Rochedale in their first game of the 2021 Football Brisbane season. Picture: Gary Reid
Action from the Ipswich City Bulls Heat under-10 team playing Rochedale in their first game of the 2021 Football Brisbane season. Picture: Gary Reid

Young Bulls enjoy innovative approach when can’t play

AS he watches his teams move up the ranks each year, Ipswich City Bulls coach Mitchell Gifford retains a wonderful attitude.

Like many other junior regional coaches, the Bulls Heat under-10 mentor continues to nurture a sense of fun as the young footballers learn the all-important skills.

"It's just fundamentals,'' Gifford said having guided a similar side from under-7 development to under-10 level over the past few years.

"Make sure they are learning the right things. All the basics of football, key elements and just to be competitive.''

Action from the Ipswich City Bulls Heat under-10 team playing Rochedale in their first game of the 2021 Football Brisbane season. Picture: Gary Reid
Action from the Ipswich City Bulls Heat under-10 team playing Rochedale in their first game of the 2021 Football Brisbane season. Picture: Gary Reid

However, Gifford had to be innovative before the latest Football Brisbane junior competition kicked off last weekend.

"We tried to have a pre-season. It's been tough when all the COVID things kept going and going,'' Gifford said.

"We started some sessions then all that rain came.

"We had another month or so because the fields were wet.''

So the junior coach started putting training drills on Facebook for his youngsters to do at home.

"Little skill tips and stuff like that,'' he said.

Action from the Ipswich City Bulls Heat under-10 team playing Rochedale in their first game of the 2021 Football Brisbane season. Picture: Gary Reid
Action from the Ipswich City Bulls Heat under-10 team playing Rochedale in their first game of the 2021 Football Brisbane season. Picture: Gary Reid

The positive was the kids took advantage of the successful approach.

"They were constantly asking for me,'' he said, appreciating the fantastic response.

Gifford is also pleased to see his young players tackling new opponents this season, against teams like Rochedale, Redlands and Tarragindi.

The Bulls drew 2-2 with Rochedale in their opening game of the new season at Sutton Park last Saturday.

"We're staying in the same division so it's one of the tough divisions so we're going to give it another crack,'' the Heat coach said.

"We never played any of these teams last year so it's a whole new competition.

"I couldn't have been prouder with them at the weekend.

"First game, a couple of new players and wow, they just put in. It was really good to watch.''

The Ipswich City Bulls Heat under-10 team playing in the 2021 Football Brisbane competition. Picture: Gary Reid
The Ipswich City Bulls Heat under-10 team playing in the 2021 Football Brisbane competition. Picture: Gary Reid

Although points aren't recorded in competitions below under 13, the Bulls side Gifford coached last year finished in the top half.

For their first year in that division, he was happy how the young Bulls fared.

He has two girls in his latest side, along with some new faces who performed well in their first 2021 game.

The new season is scheduled to run until September.

The Bulls under 10s play Oxley at Sutton Park in their next game on Saturday.

Action from the Ipswich City Bulls Heat under-10 team playing Rochedale in their first game of the 2021 Football Brisbane season. Picture: Gary Reid
Action from the Ipswich City Bulls Heat under-10 team playing Rochedale in their first game of the 2021 Football Brisbane season. Picture: Gary Reid

Gifford is a former Coalstars and Ipswich Knights goalkeeper who also played church soccer with Blackstone.

As a former player with strong Ipswich club ties, he was among the dedicated junior coaches who had to contend with last year's COVID challenges.

He's hoping this year's Saturday morning Komodo series games are less disrupted by stoppages like rain and COVID.

But through all the challenges, his focus on teaching the basics remains the same.

It's all about developing new talent at the Ipswich City Bulls.

Action from the Ipswich City Bulls Heat under-10 team playing Rochedale in their first game of the 2021 Football Brisbane season. Picture: Gary Reid
Action from the Ipswich City Bulls Heat under-10 team playing Rochedale in their first game of the 2021 Football Brisbane season. Picture: Gary Reid