Women’s Coaching Month profile – Shannon Goodenough

Photo by Hayley Carlisle


With July being designated as Women’s Coaching Month across the country we take the time to highlight the fantastic work of our own local female coaches.

In this first instalment we focus on Shannon Goodenough, coach of the Coffs Harbour Breakers Youth Girls team.

Shannon was born and bred in Coffs Harbour where her sport of choice was Basketball. She had a stint living in Armidale in 2019 where she joined her first AFL team, the New England Nomads who play in the AFL North West League.

In 2020, Shannon returned home to Coffs Harbour and was keen to keep up her involvement with footy so she joined the Breakers, becoming a Premiership player that same season.

Coming into the 2021 season Shannon had no plans beyond once again playing in the Women’s team but when the club approached her to take the reins of the Youth Girls team her horizons quickly expanded. “For the club to have the confidence in me to keep the positive momentum going, that gave me a lot of belief that I could do the job well.”

Previous experience coaching Basketball definitely helped, but Shannon has found that life as a footy coach comes with its own unique challenges … and not just because it’s a different sport. “The 14 to 17 year old age bracket comes with some interesting challenges, and it’s important to find a balance around when to have fun and when to be serious. My big goal is to keep the players motivated and engaged with the sport so we can keep them around the footy club in a positive environment.”

Shannon’s motivation as a coach is to develop players’ skills and fitness, and to provide a pathway for young women to move through juniors and play in the senior competition. Her message to other women who are considering coaching footy is simple, “Jump in and do it. Put your hand up, make yourself available, and drive women’s involvement within the club.

“Sport is such a positive outlet in most people’s lives and you never know how big an impact you might be having on someone when you’re doing something that you think is quite small.”

July 2021 is the AFL’s inaugural Women’s Coaching Month, recognising the contribution of women who coach across the country. To learn more about AFL coaching for women, visit coach.afl/women-girls-coaching.