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So you're thinking about getting involved in Coaching? 2015-08-25 15:26:00

Coaching Corner Number 1



Barry Dunne | @darrybunne | Waterford Coaching and Games Development


Down through the years we’ve all spoken to people who say ‘I’d like to get involved in coaching but I don’t have the time/don’t think I’d be good at it/was never much of a player’ (delete whichever is applicable!). It's understandable that some people feel they don’t have a natural flair for coaching or in their head they feel that it is something that would be too challenging for them for various reasons. But if you examine the reasons why people do not get involved, very quickly those barriers can be broken down and the pathway to you becoming a coach can actually be quite easy.


Firstly, some people say ‘Ah sher, they have enough coaches and volunteers, they don’t need me.’ I can categorically state here and now that I have yet to come across a GAA club across the country that will refuse a volunteer of any kind! Most juvenile clubs are crying out for more people to spare a few hours each week to help out in some capacity, whether that's washing jerseys or indeed coaching a team. And if a club does indeed have no capacity for coaches across different age groups, they will virtually always have a need for people to come on board as selectors or looking after gear or simply helping out at training. As the old proverb goes, ‘many hands make light work’. No matter your skills or ability, there is a place for you in your local club. The GAA is a fantastic organisation in that it has a place for absolutely everyone whether you are 9 or 90 or a player, coach or administrator. Thus, to say that your help will not be needed in your local club is wrong; help is always needed and if you offer to get involved it will be gratefully received.


Secondly, some people use the argument that they do not have the time to get involved. This is completely understandable in a lot of cases as people might be self-employed, have young children or have other commitments. Trying to spare some time can be quite difficult. But if you do have a few hours to spare during your week, there are few better ways to spend them than down at the field coaching. It’s a great stress buster being out in the fresh air and good for you physically. It acts as a release from the day job where you can park any issues at work for an hour or two and focus on something you really enjoy doing. And invariably the time involved in coaching a team might not be as great as you think if you are organised. Perhaps sharing the coaching duties with one of the other management team will make it work better, indeed that system can work well as players get a bit of variety in training then. So time commitment, although challenging, should not prevent you from getting involved.


Another reason put forward by people for not getting involved in coaching is ‘I wasn't a great player and I wouldn't know that much about the technical side of coaching.’ Very often, the best coaches were themselves not especially successful players in the past – Seán Boylan, Mickey Harte and Tipp manager Eamon O’Shea are very well respected in coaching circles without having stellar playing careers. José Mourinho, Arsene Wenger and Joe Schmidt are examples from the wider sporting world. Playing ability has little or no impact on your abilities as a coach – obviously there are parallels there between both but just because you never played above junior B level yourself doesn’t mean you can’t be a successful coach at a higher level!


With regards to the ‘technical’ side of coaching, this area is not as daunting as it seems to some people. There has never been more information readily available to anyone looking to get involved in coaching. In our own county, Waterford Coaching and Games Development regularly run foundation coaching courses across the county during the winter/spring to help people who are looking to start out. On top of this, there are many practical courses ran by Waterford C&GD with well-known coaches which take place in spring. These are great for gaining insight and picking up drills no matter what grade you’re coaching at. There are also hundreds of helpful GAA coaching sites on the Internet –,, the Waterford GAA and Munster GAA website Coaching sections and of course YouTube has some superb ideas and drills from a host of different clubs and counties.


So all in all, if you have even the slightest interest in getting involved in coaching, I would heartily recommend that you do so. All you have to do is approach your club chairperson or secretary and I'm sure you will be warmly received. You will just need to complete a Child Protection course and be Garda vetted, both very straightforward and simple tasks. Once these are done, away you go. Invariably, anyone who gets involved will not regret doing so, and there is a real satisfaction in taking a group of young players and helping them reach their potential. Who knows, you could be the one guiding your club or county team to success in a few years’ time. But they won't succeed unless people like YOU put up your hand!



Twitter: @WaterfordGAACG

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