AFL footy has always run through my veins.

With a Dad being a professional AFL star in his own right, I was lucky enough to spend my early football years training and playing at local clubs.

Most of my weekends were spent kicking a footy in the backyard, learning the fundamentals from my brothers and Dad himself.

By the time I was eight, I knew that I wanted to become a pro player.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 13: Andrew Raines of the Suns celebrates a goal during the round 11 AFL match between the Gold Coast Suns and the Fremantle Dockers at Metricon Stadium on June 13, 2015 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA – JUNE 13: Andrew Raines of the Suns celebrates a goal during the round 11 AFL match between the Gold Coast Suns and the Fremantle Dockers at Metricon Stadium on June 13, 2015 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

From there, hours upon hours were spent practicing and refining my skills, training hard both physically and mentally.

It was a tough balance between school, football and social life to develop my game to an elite level.

I often reflect back on my first major game.

It was an incredible moment, one I will never forget.

Running out on the MCG, the place I always dreamed of playing (in the backyard).

Having family and friends there was amazing.

To see the smiles on their face and what it meant to them. Also playing at the club my father played at was very special.

After years of on-field success, I successfully transitioned off the professional AFL field into a role coaching young footballers.

I quickly pinpointed a demand for connecting young footballers with ex-professional AFL players who are accredited to coaches or accredited coaches with years of experience at high level football.

The benefits are twofold, growing young players and ex-professionals alike.

Andrew Raines exclusive insight

Young players are supported in bringing their best, both on and off the field.

Retired AFL professionals are able to transition from playing footy to developing and coaching the next generation of AFL talent.

Thanks to my time on-field, I has developed relationships with a network of AFL professionals in varying stages of their careers.

These players, like myself, have a deep-seated desire to help young athletes reach their greatest potential.

They have a passion to pass on their hard-earned knowledge about not only the game, but also the life skills that come with being an athlete – discipline, accountability, sacrifice, hard work and self-belief.

Every professional athlete understands the importance of support and guidance from people who have been on the journey and made it to the top.

I now mentor aspiring young athletes as Head Coach at the Gold Coast Suns Academy, but have widened my scope even further through my new venture; One on One Football.

It is a rewarding new venture that I am incredibly passionate about, as it seeks to recognise the profound impact that private coaching and a “one on one” approach had on my development.

I feel lucky that I had the opportunity to work with my father for hours on end with my craft, but I know that isn’t the same story for everyone else.

With big shoes to fill, I maintained that approach through my professional career and always felt more prepared and confident when I spent time “one on one” with my coaches and mentors.

To find out more about Andrew Raine’s new private coaching network, please visit the One On One Football website.