Austin Stubbs’ plan was always to become a coach, playing was never his main interest.
From a young age he always considered himself a tactical person and was driven by his competitive nature.
His first exposure to sport was participating in AFL Auskick at the Marong Football Oval as a junior and this is where his love of kicking the footy started.
“From when I was very young I always tried to improve my performance as a sportsman and was very competitive with other people in my class at primary school,” Stubbs said.
“I have always had a coaching mindset with strong tactical awareness.
“I love the responsibility of being able to take action within a football team. When I coach, if I make an incorrect decision and I’m wrong, I will always wear it.”
As a junior player Stubbs always found himself wanting to improve the performance and ethos of his clubs, rather than his individual achievements.
Over the past five years he has gained in-depth experience with time at the Gisborne Football Netball Club as a senior assistant coach, training at the Simon Black Academy and various other positions.
Stubbs recently signed as coach for the under-19 Maribyrnong Park Football Club team (EDFL) in addition to senior assistant coaching duties at the club under Dean Laidley.
He is a product of the AFL Next Coach program, is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Sport Science and has other numerous coaching qualifications.
“I’ve also been fortunate to be involved with several workshops hosted by the Richmond Football Club,” he said.
“My passion is working with players and teams to help them reach their full potential, as it’s something I couldn’t do when I was younger because of my vision.”
But it hasn’t always been clean sailing for Stubbs, when he was a teenager he experienced a major visual impairment which hindered his ability to play sports.
“I noticed it one day at a school soccer tournament. I was the goalkeeper and I was struggling to see the other end of the field,” Stubbs said.
“It was a fairly glary day so I thought it was just the sun.
“Not long after I had my eyes tested I then realised that it was something more than just needing glasses.”
Now in his early twenties, his vision has dramatically improved and is now focused on the next stage of his career.
In February 2018 he founded AFLHP Coaching, a sports focused business which provides high performance Australian rules football coaching to players who want to improve on and off the field.
“It’s very rewarding to be able to work with footy players of all abilities, genders and skills levels,” Stubbs said.
During the process of developing AFLHP he sought advice from his father who runs two businesses and his roommate who holds multiple qualifications in business and finance.
“You would have a hard time starting a business without consulting other people who have been through the experience before as they understand all the challenges,” Stubbs said.
“After speaking with them I developed a solid business plan and they helped me think outside the box to create innovative ideas of how to take everything one step further.”
I love the responsibility of being able to take action within a football team. When I coach, If I make an incorrect decision and I’m wrong, I will always wear it.- Austin Stubbs
One of his personal goals is to develop his ability as a coach off the football field in regards to addressing media and public speaking.
With years of experience as a junior player for Marong and Bridgewater football clubs, he understands the vital importance of the crucial development years for football players and athletes.
“From the age of 11-15 you can develop an ability to understand sport, which in the future will help create a better grasp of almost any game,” he said
“And especially with football it will help players become more refined which will undoubtedly help increase the chances of being drafted as a senior player.”
Stubbs’ focus is to now continue running his coaching business and forge greater connections within the AFL industry.
“I would love to learn more from high profile coaches, not just football but all sports,” he said.
AFL coaches David Wheadon, Alastair Clarkson (Hawthorn Hawks) and Chris Scott (Geelong Cats) are individuals he plans to sit down with and learn from their extensive backgrounds within AFL.
Stubbs’ hardwork is paying off and is not far from his ultimate goal as he recently had several interviews with AFL clubs for a range of different positions.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.