Training must be the focus, warns Hartigan

GAA clubs need to devise ways to ensure their marquee players, at every age level, are being challenged at training and every effort should be made to encourage them to make further progress.

The call was made by Limerick GAA official Noel Hartigan who told the Munster Council GAA forum in Killarney that the right environment must be created to keep the better club players interested.

“We must work them at a high level to ensure they improve. We must try to get them to an even higher level,” he said.

Hartigan said clubs should send representatives to various coaching academies nationwide where they will learn new training methods and pass them on to other players.

“Clubs might need to bring in guest coaches to help them develop. They must ensure there are pathways there to allow players at all levels to progress,” he said.

The Limerick games development administrator said every young player dreams of playing in Croke Park on All-Ireland final day and clubs should help them towards achieving that goal by providing stimulation and competition in training. He said at juvenile level the focus should be on children learning how to play, at youth level it’s about learning how to compete and, at senior level, the emphasis should be on competing to win.

Tipperary’s Paudie Butler, a former national hurling officer, raised the danger of player burnout and said clubs need to be aware of the issue. He said some players are being asked to line out six or seven days a week and he recalled one season when star Tipperary hurler Eoin Kelly played 52 games at underage level while his best friend got to play just twice.

“The amazing thing is that Eoin Kelly is still playing. A key factor is that he got great support from his parents but not everybody gets it,” said Butler.

Butler said coaching methods should be geared to bringing on the less talented players and one system he liked was the team that had a better spread of scorers in training being declared the winner.

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