CARBERY Games Development Administrator James McCarthy has urged underage coaches to make sure kids have lots of fun and time on the ball in their training sessions.
Underage GAA training returned recently and McCarthy explained that it should be all about fun these first few weeks.
‘For the U12s down, it’s all about fun, everyone having a ball and making sure they are enjoying themselves,’ McCarthy says. ‘Give the kids a chance to talk as well. As a coach we tell kids to stay quiet but it’s the opposite now because you might have kids coming from different schools and they haven’t met each other since last September.
‘Also, set up little drills where they have to communicate and can have fun. Mix them up so they are not in their usual cliques.
‘For the first couple of nights I wouldn’t be enforcing any regimental drills. Once they are soloing and hopping the ball, running around the field and kicking the ball to each other. It’s about going back to the basics, but once they are not lining up in fours and fives and waiting for the ball to come.’
McCarthy has emphasised that kids need plenty of time with the ball in their hand.
‘I’m always asked this question at work: how long should you train?’ he said.
‘You could be there for the week but you might do no training, and you could be training for an hour but doing no coaching.
‘Let’s say you are there for an hour, have 24 four players and have four cones lined up, that’s four groups of six. If you are doing drills for the hour, if it’s six per cone and they are doing different drills – like soloing out to the cone, turning, soloing back and giving a hand pass – it means every kid would only be active for ten minutes in that hour. And he or she might not have the ball for that ten minutes. For coaches, they need to think about what they are doing.
‘If you are teaching 24 kids to solo, the only way to teach them is for them all to have a ball in their hand.’