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Coaching Corner - TACTICS,TACTICS,TACTICS 2015-10-12 22:12:00

Coaching Corner Number 4

TACTICS,TACTICS,TACTICS

Barry Dunne | @darrybunne | Waterford Coaching and Games Development

 

I bumped into an old friend from down the county in Dungarvan recently. He was telling me he was after getting involved with a local club team for the first time and was telling me how much he was enjoying it. He was full of enthusiasm and ideas and it was great to see. He wanted to ask me about tactics he was planning for an upcoming game so I said fire away,if I can help I will. He wanted to play a blanket defence early on and then possibly look to play a sweeper in the second half. He spoke at length about where the opposing team was strong and where he reckoned they could exploit weaknesses. “Wait, are they a junior or intermediate team?”, I asked. “Ah no, they’re an U12 team.” I nearly choked on my Ballygowan. Needless to say I told him he was possibly after getting a little ahead of himself!

 

Bottom line here – of course tactics have a place in football, hurling and camogie at all levels but the younger the age group of the team you are coaching, the less reliance you have on tactics. The simple fact of the matter is kids at a young age don't have the capacity to fully comprehend tactics – it comes later. There's a fair argument to be made for saying that up to U13 and maybe even U14, tactics should be ignored. Just focus on getting your best players playing in their best positions and pick the best team you can. Make switches as you see fit to try to strengthen your hand. But definitely do not spend half an hour at each training trying to train a player to be a sweeper if he or she hasn't the first clue of what's involved in the role.

 

Now there may well be a few players on your U14 team that are mature or have shown an innate understanding of hurling,football or camogie. Obviously, you can try to work with these players on an individual basis if you feel they might tactically make a difference in a game and if they have shown an interest in the tactical side of the games. But by and large, players at that age are still in the ‘enjoyment’ phase of their careers – they enjoy the games, they love training and they don't necessarily give a hoot about tactics or game plans. If your squad of players is made up of players like that, don't try to force them to change. They'll have twenty or thirty years of sweepers, blanket defenses, crowded midfields, free roles and two man full forward lines. Let them enjoy the tactics free environment of underage sport for as long as they can!

 

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