BY GER McCARTHY
EXPERIENCED and novice Carbery hurling coaches are in a for a treat this Saturday when former National Hurling Coordinator Paudie Butler visits Randal Óg GAA Club’s Ballinacarriga indoor facility to conduct a coaching workshop.
A hurling advisor to multiple counties and former Laois senior hurling bainisteoir, Butler will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to West Cork in a workshop that any hurling or camogie coach from the Carbery division is certain to benefit from.
So what kind of training and skills information can attendees expect from one of hurling’s best-known protagonists?
‘When it comes to any chosen sport, unless people are able to enjoy themselves and get skilled up fairly quickly they won’t stay at it,’ commented Paudie Butler to The Southern Star.
‘Once upon a time, people had adequate free time to practice all the skills of hurling but now the fact is there are so many choices of different sports. Youngsters need to get a sense of satisfaction from playing hurling or camogie as quickly as possible.
‘Learning how to strike the ball well, how to catch the sliotar, how to protect themselves properly are all vital but the learning period for those skills has been shortened dramatically over the past number of years making quality coaching even more essential.
‘The modern game of hurling won’t sustain itself unless modern coaches are fairly sharp.’
Listening to Butler speak passionately about his beloved sport it is immediately obvious that an awful lot of young people want to play hurling in this country.
A suitable amount of coaches is required to properly organise and train all of these individuals otherwise expanding the game will not be feasible.
‘If we have increasing numbers of players looking to take up hurling then teams are going to need more coaches,’ said the former Tipperary minor coach.
‘My experience is that hurling coaches are crying out for help – help in how to coach the game, best manage players and how to sustain themselves in the game. Long-term, the plan is that we go out to every corner of the country and coach the various people in best coaching practices.
‘Nowadays, there are is lot more support out there for coaches, although many wouldn’t be aware of that fact. There is an obvious desire from the coaches throughout West Cork to improve themselves especially in areas that would not necessarily have a rich hurling tradition.
‘That is why I am travelling down to Ballinacarriga and I’m looking forward to meeting all the coaches from around West Cork as well as assisting and guiding them as best I can.’
West Cork remains a predominantly football area but Paudie Butler is hugely encouraged that so many clubs are anxious to promote hurling and camogie.
‘I believe there is a fierce desire for hurling within the Carbery division,’ stated Butler.
‘I have been working out of the St Colum’s GAA Club for the last while with various hurling and camogie coaches and found a massive desire not just in that particular pocket of West Cork but all over Ireland to learn the game of hurling.
‘Some want to hurl at a casual level, others on a more competitive stage but thankfully there are lots of people there who want to facilitate that through coaching.
‘The bottom line is that your division’s hurling future looks bright because I am sensing a growing demand to improve coming from the clubs within the West Cork region and not imposed by anybody else but themselves.’