Player welfare database for development squads

The GAA is to centralise data gathered from youth development squads around the country to build up a player welfare database.

Those attending this weekend’s GAA coaching conference in Croke Park will learn about the innovative scheme, which will seek to build up a record of player training programmes, injury histories and rehabilitation schemes over the years before those players graduate to adult competition.

With development squads now a feature of almost every county board’s plans for player development, it is intended to get those playing for those squads to facilitate the scheme themselves, which performance analyst Rob Carroll says is intended to aid those in charge of the players’ physical development. “The youngsters, who are 14 and 15 and so on, are sending through the information about their training sessions and so on via smartphone, and that willbe maintained in a central database.

“That means when they get to 19 or 20 their trainer can access what they’ve done – how hard they’ve trained, whether they’ve had particular injury problems and so on, and can tailor their adult training regime accordingly.”

Medical experts and team coaches alike have called for such a database for many years, pointing out that reliable figures on cruciate ligament injuries, for instance, would help in preventing such injuries; it is also expected to aid trainers in devising appropriate fitness programmes for players based on what those players have in their records.

The player data management system is Smartabase, which is used by professional sports franchises in Australia in Australian Rules, rugby league, rugby union and soccer, as well as national governing bodies in cricket and rowing, Liverpool FC and the McLaren motor team.

* The 2015 Liberty Insurance GAA Coaching Conference takes place tomorrow and Saturday in Croke Park.


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