Official Connacht GAA Website
“A coach’s primary mission is to help sport participants develop not only as athletes, but also as people. To fulfil that aim, a coach needs functional and task related competences that are underpinned by knowledge and reflection’ European sports Coach Network
The coach must keep the emphasis on participation and enjoyment with an increasing emphasis on winning introduced into competitive age groups U13, U15, U17 and U20, thus encouraging high performance in pressurized situations. Be conscious of keeping everyone involved. The aim and focus at all times must be on long-term player development – it can take 10 years to develop a top-class player – so take the time to work on fundamental skills.
At the core of underage coaching there must be quality time given to fundamental movement skills. Significant research has clearly shown that if fundamental motor skill training is not developed by the age of 12 then skills cannot be successfully recaptured. Good fundamental movement skills must be developed before we can perfect the specific skills of Gaelic football and Hurling.
Always keep in mind that you as coach are a ‘role model’ who will influence how youngsters feel and act towards others, both on and off the field. Your attitude and actions as a coach, must demonstrate proper behaviour and good example in terms of winning humbly and losing graciously, and explaining what can be learnt from both experiences.
Children generally try to do their best; by focusing on their strengths and addressing weaknesses sensitively you will make children better team players.
Remember, the will to win is instinctive in human nature, and when kept in perspective can bring out the best in young people, however an over emphasis on winning can hugely effect player development and give rise to all kinds of negative thoughts and behaviour. In a club the order of priority at underage should be: – player development first, winning second. With winning becoming more a priority as the player develops through their teenage years and takes part in competition. However, there should never be a win at all cost’s mentality at underage football.