“The reason everyone loved him was because he was empathetic,” he says. “Some coaches treat their players as commodities; he treated them as humans.”
Associated with this, is his meticulous preparation so that players are empowered to be the best that they can:
so the messaging arrives via different mediums, each time reflecting the unique challenges of that match, but always delivered with the same intent: to provide the best preparation for his team.
Beyond the endless files of scenarios he has stored up over time, a glimpse into his preparation is provided:
Hussey and White recall their coach’s habit of preparing three whiteboards before a match, each teeming with accumulated knowledge. The first would have the 11 opposition players listed, with their strengths and weaknesses condensed into a single line next to their name. The second would have Victoria’s 11 players listed, together with their batting and bowling strategies. And a third whiteboard would have the team’s goals for the match, details on how the pitch was playing, the quality of the outfield, a session-by-session breakdown from the match as it unfolded, and so on.
With a foundation of relationships and preparation, Shepperd has shown that he is able to adjust to the particulars of any organisation.
The trick, Shipperd explains, is to tailor one’s approach to the needs of both the playing group and the organisation. In Tasmania through the 1990s, a young squad (and a relatively new addition to the competition) learning to consistently compete demanded a focus on fundamentals and selection. Later, Victoria, Melbourne Stars (with whom, Shipperd muses, things might have been different had he been given “just one more year”) and the Sixers all set their focus on regularly claiming silverware.
This reminded me of theand had me wondering about what story might be told from looking at Shepperds’ various teams from this perspective.
As side note, often the testament to a successful coach is how many pleayers/assistant coaches follow in the footsteps and become coaches themselves. For Shipperd this list too is continually growing.