Airlie Schirmer - Coach Airs
"Follow your dreams and never let anyone tell you that you're not good enough!"
Players make great coaches; it doesn’t take much research to see how accurate that statement is.
However, in most cases the player doesn’t even consider transitioning into coaching until the final stages of their career.
And this is where Airlie Schirmer steps in.
And no; it is not because her career is nearly over. In fact, it is the complete opposite as Airlie’s very bright career is only just getting started.
So instead of waiting until the end of her playing career to shift into coaching; Airlie has had a head start and has been passing down her football knowledge to her team.
And given the amount of success she has had in her last four years of football; that knowledge is very valuable.
Spending these last four years with the Christies Beach Football Club and South Adelaide’s junior pathway and senior squads; Airlie certainly has enough experience to go around.
These four years has seen her captain the Christies Beach U18s team in 2018 and also become a “2018 and 2017 SANFL Statewide Super U17s premiership player” in which she was also a “shared captain for games in both seasons”.
And if that wasn’t enough to satisfy you; Airlie is also a part of South Adelaide’s back to back SANFLW premiership squad and she also played in Christies Beach U18 Premiership in 2018.
And her list of accolades continues; as she is a two-time school premiership player for Tatachilla Lutheran College and she also won Christies Beach U18s Best Team Player in 2017.
And to top it all off; Airlie also received the “Most Valuable Player award in 2018 for South Adelaide Football Club’s under 17s girl’s development squad”.
So, with her impressive career sorted; what about her coaching career?
Well, a very respectful aspect of her coaching career is;
“At school, I also run lunchtime clinics for girls in the primary school who are interested in AFL.”
And on top of this;
“I have also coached an 8/9 girls AFL football team at Tatachilla Lutheran College, and we played in the grand final in 2018.”
All of this has led to another and more recent opportunity for the humble Airs;
“I have also been asked to be a line coach for the under 15s girls at South. So, I am doing that at the moment to.”
And she isn’t just doing this to pass the time either;
“I would love to become a full-time coach in the future!! That would be amazing!”
So, with high ambitions, great experience and a bright path in both coaching and playing. What is it actually like to hold a coaching role while also playing?
“Sometimes it is hard to juggle both coaching and playing footy along with school and family life, but I manage to find a way as they are both things that I love to do.”
“I find that my coaching experiences help me to further my game development as through teaching skills and strategies I am able to implement these in my own games.”
“Coaching has also extended my leadership skills and I have been able to use these in my own game too.”
Well that answers that question; the benefits out way the negatives, especially with coaching helping boost her leadership skills and vice versa.
And as anyone who has seen Airlie play knows; she does possess great leadership skills.
But how did she get into coaching in the first place?
“In regard to the school clinics I noticed that a lot of younger girls were becoming more involved in footy but were not being taught simple skills. I decided to run these clinics hoping that it would encourage the next generation of young girls to become involved in footy and I just wanted to show girls that they can play footy.”
“The clinics have really helped the younger girls to discover different avenues and with this I have created many relationships and bonds with them.”
Airlie herself loves the game; so, with her passion and wholesome nature it isn’t a surprise that she had the very respectful idea of helping the next generation.
“I love the physicality of footy and how challenging the game is. I also enjoy the thrill of the game and how it pushes me both physically and mentally. However, the main thing that draws me to footy is how team orientated the game is!”
“I absolutely love being involved at both South and Christies and you make lifelong friends through footy.”
But given her exciting career and great talent, not to mention her leadership; Airlie is also a bright part of female footballs future.
And with ambitions in both playing and coaching; she will continue to be very valuable parts of both the Christies Beach and South Adelaide Football Club’s;
“I love both clubs so much and they have made me feel included and at home. I have created so many relationships and bonds with teammates, coaches, supporters and staff within both clubs.”
“It has been great to get a taste of footy at a local level and then have the opportunities to be a part of an elite environment at South Adelaide.”
And her most recent season with South Adelaide; saw the number 31 collect 24 disposals in four games. But the best part is that she very rarely wasted possession, as she finished with a remarkable 96 per cent disposal efficiency.
As this humble product currently sits in a unique position; with success in both playing and coaching. She can reflect and be proud on a very successful first four years of football;
“I have got to say that all of the premierships that I have been involved in have been amazing experiences. I have been so lucky to have such a successful career as I know that many people wait their whole lives to play in a Grand Final, so I feel very blessed to have played in 7.”
“I also think that one of my fondest memories was winning the under 18s premiership in 2018 as the girls had worked so hard all season and we lost the 2017 grand final by 4 points, so it was nice to redeem ourselves.”
And with seven Grand Final appearances; any advice given by the very reliable, respectful and agile player/coach is absolutely worth listening to;
“Follow your dreams and never let anyone tell you that you're not good enough! Always seek support and fight for what you believe in! I would also tell other players to take any opportunities given to them and to never be afraid, my slogan is 'go hard or go home'.”
But despite having an exciting future in two aspects of football; one of the best things about Airlie is unquestionably her humble, gracious and upbeat personality.
Which is best shown either through the fact that she passes down all her knowledge to the next generation or by simply talking to her. Qualities she will continue to display as she her career hits new and fantastic heights.
And with this in mind; Airlie would like to thank those who have helped her each this great part of her career;
“I would like to thank all of my family and friends for pushing me to follow my dreams and believe in myself. I would also like to thank all of my coaches and the support staff at both Christies and South for the guidance and help that they have provided.”
Images - Nick Hook Photograpghy