Cats assistant coach Jess Foley says building strong relationships is at the core of her coaching style as she steps up as assistant coach this season.

Speaking at the AFL National She Can Coach graduation seminar on Thursday night, Foley shared some of her key coaching philosophies with the program’s participants.

“I’m really big on building relationships, and then, with that, with every group that you coach is building your own core values for that particular group,” Foley said.

“That’s something that I think should be built together… and then from that, driving standards.”

Jess Foley and Hockeyroos coach Katrina Powell spoke with the graduating class and alumni of the National She Can Coach Program

The Cats’ new defence coach spoke of her transition from player to coach at the AFL National She Can Coach graduation seminar on Thursday night.

Foley, who joined the Cats as a ruck coach last year before stepping up to a line coaching role for 2022, said her coaching style was reflective of the lessons she had learnt from her basketball and football mentors over the years.

“My coaching journey – it’s in its infancy, really, so a lot of what shaped me as a coach and my style has come from those that have coached me,” she said.

“Currently under Dan Lowther here at the Geelong Cats, just soaking in all sorts of things from him as a mentor as well has been really helpful.”

Geelong's AFLW Coaching Group. Left to Right: Elise Coventry, Josh Finch, Dan Lowther, Aaron Black, Jess Foley and David Morgan. Photo: Arj Giese

The 38-year-old spoke about her sporting journey, starting out in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL), then onto college basketball with Duke University, before being drafted into the WNBA and eventually making her way across to the AFLW to play with Adelaide.

Foley spent two years with the Crows, playing in the 2019 Premiership side, before switching her focus to her medical career.

In 2021, the former ruck combined her coaching duties with her career as a GP and was the club doctor for the Cats VFL team.

This season, she has taken on the role of assistant coach – defence with the Cats’ AFLW team, with Josh Finch taking on midfield line coaching duties, and Aaron Black continuing as forwards coach.

The 2021 AFLW season begins the weekend of January 6-9, 2022.