Fatherhood is a transformative experience that brings profound personal growth and a fresh perspective on life. For Coach Hanafiah, Head Coach of the Geylang International Football Club Women’s Team, the challenges of balancing coaching responsibilities and fatherhood have been a rewarding journey.
In an exclusive interview, he shares insights into his coaching philosophy, parenting style, and the ways in which fatherhood has influenced his approach to mentoring young athletes. Through his experiences, Coach Hanafiah provides valuable lessons and inspiration for fellow fathers who navigate the demanding worlds of coaching and family life.
Managing coaching and fatherhood
When asked about balancing his coaching responsibilities with his role as a father to two young daughters, Coach Hanafiah emphasises the importance of time management and family support.
He reveals, “I am fortunate to have pockets of time in the afternoon to pick my daughters up from school, catch up with their schoolwork, and have early dinners sometimes.”
His eldest daughter, Hannah, plays a pivotal role in looking after her younger sister, Haneen, while Coach Hanafiah is away for training or matches. This support system not only enables him to fulfil his coaching commitments but also allows his wife some space to catch up on her work.
Influencing parenting style and values
As the Head Coach of the Yale-NUS women’s team, Coach Hanafiah’s coaching experience has significantly influenced his parenting style. He commends his team’s determination and commitment to training, despite the challenges of juggling academics and other extracurricular activities.
Coach Hanafiah says, “Whenever I speak to my daughters, I always remind them not to give up easily.”
He shares stories of his team’s ‘never say die’ attitude, which he uses as examples to instil resilience and perseverance in his daughters. By bringing his daughters to tournaments to witness their role models in action, he provides them with valuable life lessons and inspiration.
Active play and learning
Coach Hanafiah strongly advocates for active play and its positive impact on children’s development. He limits his daughters’ screen time and encourages them to engage in physical activities. By fostering an active lifestyle at home, Coach Hanafiah believes his daughters become healthier, more focused on school, and mindful of their nutrition.
He asserts, “An active body leads to an active mind,” emphasising the benefits of physical activity in enhancing cognitive abilities and overall well-being.
Fatherhood’s influence on coaching philosophy
Becoming a father has significantly shaped Coach Hanafiah’s coaching philosophy and approach to mentoring young athletes. He emphasises three core beliefs: encouraging problem-solving through questioning, providing equal opportunities to all players, and recognising that winning is not everything. These principles guide him in coaching and also in his role as a father.
Coach Hanafiah takes pride in watching the kids he coaches smile during intensive training sessions, appreciating the importance of creating a positive and enjoyable environment for growth.
Supporting aspiring coaches
As a coach developer for the Football Association of Singapore, Coach Hanafiah draws upon his experiences as a father to provide insights and support to aspiring coaches. He emphasises the significance of patience, particularly when working with children.
He shares, “Coaching is about listening to your players, understanding their needs, and helping them accordingly. You have to accept that they will make mistakes, again and again. That’s part of learning.”
By sharing his knowledge and emphasising the importance of a genuine love for working with kids, Coach Hanafiah inspires future coaches to foster a nurturing environment for young athletes.
A heartwarming Father’s Day memory
Coach Hanafiah reflects on a heartwarming moment that encapsulates the joys of being a father. He recalls when his daughter, Hannah, expressed her desire to become a coach, just like her dad, at the tender age of four.
This unexpected revelation filled him with a renewed sense of purpose and motivated him to work harder and be a better coach. Through his daughter’s drawings of him in football boots surrounded by happy kids on a green field, Coach Hanafiah sees the positive impact he has on his children’s lives, reinforcing the importance of being a role model both as a coach and a father.
Setting a positive example
Coach Hanafiah strives to set a positive example for his daughters, demonstrating the value of preparation and balance in his various roles. His meticulous approach to coaching, detailed session plans, and dedication to his responsibilities have not gone unnoticed by his children.
By witnessing his commitment and passion, his daughters learn valuable life lessons about the importance of planning, perseverance, and finding happiness in what one does.
Advice for fellow fathers
To fellow fathers navigating the challenges of balancing careers and family life, Coach Hanafiah shares valuable advice. He emphasises the importance of finding happiness and satisfaction in one’s chosen path.
Drawing from his personal experience, he encourages fathers to pursue their passions and overcome obstacles to achieve fulfilment. Coach Hanafiah reminds fathers that balancing work and life is possible and that the journey may not always be easy, but it is worthwhile.
Coach Hanafiah’s inspiring journey as a coach and father highlights the delicate balance between pursuing one’s passions and nurturing a family life. His ability to effectively manage coaching responsibilities while imparting valuable life lessons to his daughters is a testament to his dedication and love.
Through his experiences, Coach Hanafiah encourages fellow fathers to find their own happiness, be patient, and be positive role models for their children, both on and off the field. As he continues to inspire and shape the lives of young athletes, Coach Hanafiah exemplifies the profound impact a father’s love, guidance, and support can have on the development of future generations.