GAA delays introduction of mandatory coaching standards

The introduction of mandatory coaching standards at inter-county level has been delayed until the end of the 2016 season, GAA director of games Pat Daly has revealed.

GAA delays introduction of mandatory coaching standards

The onset of obligatory coaching requirements, whereby each inter-county management ticket must contain an Award 2 coach, was due to come into effect this month, but has now been pushed back to offer coaching personnel serving at inter-county level a more “realistic timeframe” to obtain the necessary coaching badges.

At club level, the directive that all management teams must include an Award 1 coach is presently in operation and Daly is confident of strict compliance.

“At inter-county level, managements come and go and if you knew six months ago the make-up of every team management, you could realistically say the start of 2016 for the introduction of these coaching standards,” remarked Daly.

“But when you have a situation where the thing is in a state of flux, it would mean that in some instances you would have three or four or five weeks to get this done. It just wouldn’t be realistic.

“By the end of 2016 is a more realistic time frame if one has regard for team managements and the nature of how they are appointed.”

The GAA’s director of games believes the initiative, first mooted in January of 2014, will be relatively straightforward to police, but stressed that top-brass would not be reprimanding counties who did not meet the new deadline.

“At the end of the year we will get a list of people from various management teams and will cross reference them with the coaching registrar. It is in people’s interests to ensure that they are up to speed in terms of having their level 2 qualifications.

“You can use the carrot or you can use the stick approach. As of now, what we would like to think is that what we are doing is of sufficient quality for team managements to say ‘I want to be in on that, it is in my interests to be part of that’.

“We are pretty optimistic we will have met our targets by the end of the year without compelling or brow- beating or forcing the issue.”

Daly reckons there is still a smattering of coaches working within the “cones and drills” environment and his hope is that over the next couple of years, each individual overseeing a team at both club and county level would be primarily driven by a holistic and humanistic approach — by the start of the 2018 season, all inter-county head coaches must be Award 2 qualified.

“We want a games based approach to training and development so the game is at the centre of whatever is happening. We are saying you compliment that then with fitness, the psychological and analytical stuff. What we are trying to ensure is that there are decent standards, but more importantly, coaches have a good knowledge of what capacities they are trying to develop and they learn how to develop those capacities.

“For a lot of people, coaching is cones and drills. In reality, it is a much more relational type of thing and we are talking about what type of disposition does the coach have, what do you do on the field and what type of relationships do you create. Getting coaches to understand that the day of the demagogue are gone, the day of the command and control merchants are gone.

“We see GPS systems where players can run ‘x’ km over ‘x’ amount of time. There is a place for that. But at the end of the day, you have to look at the total person, you have to look at the totality of the team and you have to have an understanding of how you get the best out of all those.”

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