Experienced duo warn against creation of ‘textbook coaches’

Two former inter-county managers strongly oppose the mandatory coaching standards introduced by the GAA.

Cork’s Billy Morgan, who guided the Rebels to back-to-back All-Ireland titles in 1989 and ’90, and former Waterford hurling boss Michael Ryan labelled the coaching requirements as completely unnecessary, adding that it is wrong to attempt to define an inter-county manager by a piece of paper.

Under the new system, any individual wishing to serve as an inter-county manager must hold an Award 2 qualification by 2018, while at club level head coaches must be Award 1 certified.

Ryan said it would be ridiculous to think that Jimmy Barry-Murphy or Brian Cody would have to attend a coaching course should they wish to continue wearing the bainisteoir’s bib.

“If somebody like Brian Cody has to go and do a course after winning nine All-Ireland finals, it is sad,” he asserted. “I mean just because somebody has a qualification doesn’t make them a good manager. It depends on the individual. I know a lot of people over the years who have been involved with clubs, have carried out the coaching courses and yet their coaching records wouldn’t be great.

“The Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s and Brian Cody’s of the world, I don’t see why they should have to do a course. They have proved themselves over and over again.”

Both men warned against the pitfalls of the “textbook coach”, believing first-hand experience on the line serves a far greater purpose than any amount of PowerPoint presentations.

Moreover, they fear mandatory coaching standards will reduce interest in managerial positions at club level.

“There are a lot of good people who come up through the ranks, played with their club and went on to coaching afterwards. They would have worked under a lot of good managers and they have turned out to be good managers and coaches from what they have learned,” Morgan said.

“They mightn’t have a piece of paper and I find that a lot of these coaches are textbook coaches and don’t have a right feeling for the game. Also, you have lads who have been to college and are very well qualified in training methods and well up on fitness ideas and now they have to do some sort of course. I don’t really know is it necessary.

“I have a masters degree in management but it was from Noel O’Mahony and Donie O’Donovan I learned. I learned an awful lot from Donie and don’t think any sort of course would give you the knowledge that you learned from him.”

Ryan added: “The GAA wouldn’t want to get too hung-up on theory and just because a manager has attained the necessary qualification that they are good at their job. If you are looking for people to manage a team you are looking at their track record.

“Certainly, it is a good idea for young people coming into the game, but for those that have been managing for 10 and 20 years at club and inter-county level I couldn’t see how it would benefit them in anyway.”


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