LITTLE LEGEND: Bayside Strikers under-6s coach Rory Hartwell.
LITTLE LEGEND: Bayside Strikers under-6s coach Rory Hartwell. Jodie Callcott

Rory's got what it takes to lead

COACHING a team of children aged between four and five years the rules and techniques of soccer is no easy feat.

But for 12-year-old Bayside Strikers coach Rory Hartwell, it was fun.

Rory taught the under 6 Strikers for the 22-week season after his mum Catherine Hartwell asked him to fill in temporarily.

"Mum was struggling being the registrar, and she was trying to look for a coach, so I just did it to help out," Rory said.

"I wasn't really going to do it, but after I got to know the kids a lot better, it started getting pretty fun.

"Every Thursday we did coaching and they all loved that."

Rory credits his age to the reason the tiny tots listened to his teaching, which included player etiquette and how to pass the ball.

"They probably find it fun because it's different for them.

"Instead of having an adult for a coach, they have someone like them, a kid as well.

"Their last game, we scored a few goals, it was fun, it was good.

"It was probably the best game I've seen them play.

"They were learning how to pass the ball, they congratulated the other team properly instead of calling them names.

"They did pretty good."


Mum Catherine wants all clubs to call on their younger players to alleviate the pressure of securing coaches.

"Maybe clubs are thinking they're too young, or it's not going to work, or you can't have an under 12 player coaching under-6s, but you can and it's a success," Catherine said.

"Initially, he took on the role because I couldn't get a coach and he said, 'Mum I'll do it'.

"He struggled for the first few weeks because they were little, four to five year olds.

"They took a while to get to know each other, but then come into week five and six and the kids started hanging off him.

"By week 10 and 11, he'd be drawing pictures on the pitch where to position them and things like that.

"It just went so well.

"He formed a bond with the kids and the parents as well, it was sweet and unexpected."

Bayside Strikers Football Club is run by volunteers for its members.

For information, phone Dwayne McInnes on 0412 285 891, or email