Start with the most basic thing. How do you swing a hurley at a sliothar in such a way as to make it travel as straight and far as possible? And do that while running forward at top speed? And while an opponent is doing his or her damnedest to stop you? Maybe you think you know all the answers, maybe you really do. Still, there is great value to having the best technique discussed, dissected and demonstrated by players and coaches in a meeting room before the new season begins. This is the time for talking, before the time for action arrives.
An initiative of our Games Development Officer, Liam Clancy, a coaching forum was held in the Inn at Dromoland last Tuesday evening. The first item on the agenda was Striking the Ball. I have attended many club meetings and this one was far from run of the mill. Firstly because over 50 coaches from every age group, U6 to Senior, camogie and hurling were present. Secondly, because the format was of a discussion group rather than a lecture. While Liam himself made a few points, he drew insights and experience from every corner of the room. Thirdly, because he had promised from the outset that it would be exactly one hour long. And it was! Fourthly and finally, because there was Tea and Coffee available. I like a cup of tea, several if possible, and took a seat in the back row to be near same.
There are more of these forums to come over the next few weeks, at 8pm on January 23rd, Feb 6th and 20th. Each will focus on two specific skills of the game. All of our former, current or future mentors are encouraged to attend. As it stands, it can sometimes seem like each management who has volunteered to prepare a team, is independent and isolated from the rest. Yet the way in which skills are coached to our U8s this year will not only influence how much those children enjoy the game, but have a strong bearing on the competitiveness of our senior team, down the line. These forums should counter that tendency, sharing know-how to the benefit of everyone.
Those who are new to coaching are bound to learn a lot. While others will hear something they already knew, but needed to hear again from a new voice, just to wake up to how important it is. I guarantee you’ll hear at least one vital thing, and realise it has to be a priority this season. And you’ll wish the season would start soon, so you could implement that one vital thing, while it’s still fresh in your mind.
I will be somewhere near the back, close as possible to the Tea.