Being a coach to adult hurlers and footballers can be a difficult job. By this stage, players should have developed physically, psychologically, socially and emotionally – special consideration in this regard should be given to teenage players playing on adult teams.
Coaching adult players places unique demands on the coach. The motivation to play differs slightly from that of children.
Players remain involved in Gaelic Games because of:
Ø Enjoyment – Gaelic Games are fast and fun games, often high scoring
Ø Skill – Gaelic Games are considered very skilful games
Ø Social recognition – As well as being skillful, Gaelic Games are seen as being physically demanding and tough games, where courage and determination are important. Showing proficiency at such games can lead to a player developing high self esteem, and be recognised amongst their peers
Ø Possibility of success – Many players continue to participate as they have aspirations to play at higher levels – whether that be at adult Club level or Inter-county level.
Ø Coach – The coach can be the most important factor in whether a player continues to play at this stage. Situations where the coaches’ goals and players’ needs can lead to players becoming disillusioned and dropping out.
Ø Participation – Low involvement through poorly designed training sessions or through a lack of games is one of the most serious causes of drop out. Being pigeon holed into one position, especially one seen as a less glamorous one can be an issue here.
Ø Training and games – Games can be fun, but if training is dull or set at too high a level players can lose interest quickly.
Have conflicting commitments –
Work, financial and family commitments might impact on the ability of adult players to commit to all requirements
Display independence – Players often want to display a higher level of independence and want to be part of the decision making process
Pressures from 3rd level – Attending 3rd level schooling places additional pressures on players, in terms of playing for additional teams, and attending to their college work
Some practical considerations that a coach can make for adults to assist them include:
Ø Where training and competition schedules overlap
Ø Provide flexible schedules to accommodate the demands of family and work
Ø Carefully follow the progress of each player, offering encouragement and advice where necessary
Ø Provide quality training equipment and facilities
Minors playing in adult Gaelic Games
Teenagers are in a phase in their lives where there is a distinct change from the fun filled environment of childhood play, to a more structured type of organised training and competition seen at adult level. Coaches should always maintain the enjoyment factor in sport, and many teenagers will attempt to keep this through trying something different, some tricks or touches that they have developed through individual practice.
Some of the problems associated with the progression to adult Gaelic Games include:
Ø Adult training regimes imposed on less developed teenage bodies and minds
Ø Player skill levels may not match the demands of performance in adult situations
Ø The player may not be sufficiently developed cognitively to understand and implement the coach’s instructions – especially when dealing with Team Play issues
Ø Coaches may question the player’s commitment and discipline as they struggle to come to terms with the more demanding nature of teenage play over childhood play.