Gym, GPS and social media: How one local GAA club are meeting the new challenges

The life of a club footballer has changed dramatically over the last ten years. 

With players now training up to five nights a week, using all kinds of protein products and even dipping into ice baths there is only one thing left to ask ... is the GAA advancing too quickly and where do we go from here? 

There once was a time when your brain power on the pitch was worth more than your physical power but long gone are those days.

Now inter-county club footballers train all year round. Outside of two scheduled pitch sessions and two gym sessions, players are still expected to work on their own fitness.

St. Mary’s GAA club in Rochfortbridge, Co. Westmeath are leading the way when it comes to keeping up with the times.

This intermediate level club has managed to adapt greatly to the evolvement of the GAA by developing a €200,000 state of the art gym.

Hoping to stay top of their game, St. Mary’s also use GPS technology to monitor player’s performance.

These GPS vests track speed, acceleration and distance covered of the players who wear them.

As well as making use of this type of technology, social media plays a part in their game too.

Players here are encouraged to share pictures from their gym sessions in order to motivate each other and mostly communicate through WhatsApp groups.

This however, doesn’t suit everyone.

Some players dread to see their GPS stats being shared online and some just aren’t as tech savvy as others.

Welcome to the life of an inter-county club footballer in 2017.

* This story and video were developed as part of an ongoing collaboration between the Irish Examiner and the Univeristy of Limerick.

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