The Central Coast Academy of Sport is blessed to work with some of the region’s best coaches and support staff. The Central Coast Academy of Sport is pleased to introduce the ‘Our People Series’. A series of media alerts designed to shine the spotlight on the amazing work done by a committed group of highly qualified individuals. The series will acknowledge the depth of talent the volunteers of the CCAS provide to the athletes, to our region, and to the sports sector as a whole. In 2019 alone the CCAS volunteers provided in excess of 6,000 hours which equates to a value of $240,000.
Brett Johnson – Head Coach Hockey
When it comes to experience look no further than the extensive background that Brett Johnson brings to the UAA Hockey Program. 35+ years of involvement in the sport, a Queensland representative and Australian National Champion, an Australian Institute of Sport Scholarship holder, an Australian representative (1995) capped six times, a person who has toured quite extensively throughout his playing career and more recently his coaching and administrative drive for the sport is possibly second to none on the Central Coast. Brett Johnson brings this wealth of experience and passion to the Central Coast Academy of Sport UAA Hockey program.
Brett finished his playing in 2000, his retirement from playing coincided with the birth of his first child and his resumption in coaching coincided with his children’s pursuit of Hockey when they began playing in 2010. In 2015 Brett also took on the difficult task as President of the Central Coast Hockey Association, a position he holds to this day and a person who has overseen significant governance changes along the way. The most notable change was the merger of four sub-associations into the one governing body, a job of significant proportions. To support such a merger Brett oversaw with his Board the re-writing of the associations by-laws and associated policies, doing this while he committed considerable time on the field as a highly valued coach.
Brett’s coaching philosophy is very insightful, where he focusses on two major elements, the importance of sound basic skills and to be able to apply those skills as a problem solver. As a graduate of the AIS his understanding and exposure to fundamental skill development and the importance they hold at all levels of the sport was ground into his development while at the AIS. As a problem solver Brett encourages his athletes that sport is played in an ‘open’ learning environment, there are no predictable outcomes, the playing aspects are always changing and players have to adapt their own game to be equipped to solve the problems that arise in games with open skills. One mentor of Brett’s is Rick Charlesworth, and Brett quotes him: “you don’t see too many hockey games where players follow witches hats to know what to do next – so why train like that?” This philosophy has seen him achieve significant success as a coach, probably none more so that locally with his U17 Erina Club team winning three years in a row during the CCHA competition.
Brett has been involved with the Central Coast Academy of Sport for the past three years and in that time his drive, passion and commitment to the local athletes has mirrored his own success in the sport. It has been nothing less that exceptional, in his own words he describes his time as follows:
“I have absolutely loved getting Hockey involved with the CCAS program. I was sitting in the audience at a School function and heard Ian talking about the program and sent a text to a friend saying that we need to join the Academy. I think it was 2 months later we had started our first program. For too long our best coaches and players were involved in other Regional Academy programs making other regions stronger. We had athletes here on the Coast that would miss selection and therefor miss the opportunity to improve. Getting the support of the Academy to start the hockey program on the Coast has been fundamental for us to keep those athletes with ambition engaged and allow them to continue striving to either Regional or State selections. It means that we can continue to develop our own Association players and coaches making our Association stronger in the long term. The added benefit of being involved in the Academy program is being able to draw on the wealth of knowledge and experience from other Coaches and Admin staff. This year we have drawn on other Squad programs to add different skill elements that are transferable to hockey. Our favourite session this year was probably Jess Morgan, Head Coach of Netball coming and running 90mins of drills for our athletes.”
When considering Brett’s involvement it would be remiss if we didn’t gain an insight into where Brett see’s the sport of Hockey heading into the future:
“Hockey is an Olympic sport, everybody has played it at school yet it has always had an identity crisis when compared to some of the other mainstream sports so we are aiming over the next 10yrs to try and rectify that here on the Central Coast. We are shortly commencing a $1.5M facility upgrade which will see 2 new artificial playing surfaces laid at our complex. This enables CCHA to host both State and National Championships which in turn injects additional revenue into our Association as well as the local economy. This will enable us to look at creating some alternate options for traditional hockey in our community – school-based competitions linking to the Sporting Schools program, ‘walking’ hockey for the elderly or mums, or beach hockey which is big in Europe. Hopefully with all this activity we will see exponential participation growth in our Sport”.
One doesn’t have to guess, when you hear and read of Brett’s commitment it looks like Hockey is certainly heading on a path to further success, the sport is being well led and driven by a person with a true love and commitment to the sport. Congratulations and thanks to Brett Johnson for his support of the CCAS and the many local athletes who have been supported by his genuine commitment to the sport.