Brett Ratten is the senior coach for Carlton, a leading Australian rules football club, but spent this week in Abu Dhabi training in the desert sun and sand. He discusses coaching his players, not only on how to win big games, but also on planning for careers after football and managing their finances.
In season, I'm usually up. This week, the boys will be down on the beach [in Abu Dhabi]. We'll do some grappling, a little bit of game-play and decision-making.
I try to get in to work [when in Australia]. I find I get a bit more down time and structure my day; everyone comes in around the 8am mark and then we're away in meetings. The budgeting side of it is structured fairly early, [such as] the wages of the staff. That's done in October and November. I have to worry more about the staff and management. I have to look after 47 players, roughly 12 coaches and then a fitness manager [who] would have between 15 to 20 staff under him.
Usually in preseason, we'd review training. We have video cameras at the club, where we'd sit down and watch training and show the players the next morning to see what we did well and what we have to improve on. Most of the time it's about planning.
There are a lot of meetings on player welfare. [Players are] drafted from 18 years of age; our average age is about 23. Sometimes players put too much energy, or all of their eggs, in one basket. The lifespan for our players is around four years, which isn't a long time, and we try to help them get a career after football. We talk about their schooling, housing accommodation, making sure they have a career after football and that their finances are kept intact so they don't go out and spend it all. It's more of a welfare check, and we run through those every two weeks.
We have our seniors and our reserves. You don't get to catch up with all the younger players from one season to another; I'm looking forward to catching up [in Abu Dhabi]. We'll be doing a fishing charter with some of the younger boys when we're not doing the football work. I'm not a great fisherman, but I'll have a go.
Some boys are doing paint-balling, and some the skiing [in Mall of the Emirates]. There's Ferrari World for some of the other boys.
I usually try to leave work, go home and chat to my wife.
I look at video stats. [There's] reporting I might have to do from the last game, or [looking] at opposition reports from the team coming up.
I go to bed.
* Neil Parmar