GAA Football

Tyrone blown away by GAA coaching response during lockdown

Francis Mooney

An insatiable appetite for skills development during lockdown has sparked an unprecedented uptake of training opportunities among club coaches.

And officials in Tyrone say they have been blown away by the response to a series of webinars they have organised, aimed at raising coaching standards.

Two hundred and thirty one local coaches took part in the first of three online sessions last week, when Galway's Paul Kilgannon delivered a lecture on ‘Coaching Children in Sport'.

The second webinar takes place this evening (Tue), featuring sisters Emma and Louise Byrne of Dublin GAA, who will discuss the issue of ‘Connecting Players During Lockdown'.

The final webinar instalment of the series next Tuesday will be delivered by Niall Moyna of DCU and Tyrone native Ger O'Connor of Dublin GAA on the subject of ‘New Go Games Model Tyrone 2021'.

“We have been blown away by the response to the first webinar, and it shows the hunger there is among coaches for opportunities to improve themselves and raise standards among young people,” said Tyrone Coaching Officer Damian Harvey.

“We had 231 coaches from right across the county and beyond involved in that, and we're looking forward to running the next two.

“I suppose there's no better time to do this, and the numbers actually reflect that, the fact that there's a hunger there for it.

“If you ran this face to face, you might be getting 20 or 30 people at it, but to run it on a webinar seems to be the way to go at the moment.

“And certainly the numbers that have come on are reflecting that.

“There's a huge appetite for it, and we want to strike while the iron is hot.

Some clubs in Tyrone have established their own coaching programmes online, but the county Coaching Committee saw the need for a wider reach and the opportunity cater for all coaches in the county.

“We sat down in early January and worked out that there is a gap there,” said Harvey.

“The webinars are the main conduit at the moment, and there are also different clubs who have gone off and done their own thing, and that's good to see. They're providing content for their coaches.

“The Tyrone Coaching Committee took a look at that, and decided that they would concentrate on the Go Games webinars at the start of the year, focusing on the coaching of young children.

“These three coaching webinars are taking place over three weeks, we have one down and two to go.

“It's about trying to provide structure and theory around best practice to engage young people. The first one went very, very successfully.

“Hopefully we'll be returning to Go Games action later in the year, and we wanted to give the parents, the new coaches and some of the more established coaches a bit of professional development around that, to give them an idea about how best to go about setting up sessions.

“We wanted to re-set their thoughts about training young people.”

The Tyrone Coaching Officer stressed the importance of securing highly rated practitioners for the delivery of the webinar programme.

“The people that are delivering it are doing so in a voluntary capacity, which shows their dedication to the cause as well.

“We have attracted some of the best experts around on the subject of coaching, and it's great to have them.”

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