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Wicklow GAA ‘COACH NEWS’ Week 2

March 4th, 2021

Wicklow GAA ‘COACH NEWS’ Week 2

A further period of Lockdown is very difficult to get our heads around. But if all we come out of this better prepared and organised there will be greater benefits to clubs, coaches and players for the remainder of the year.

Garden County Academy Football squads

Our garden county Academy players are now back completing their individual Strength & Conditioning training our U14 footballers have 167 players completing three sessions a week with one Online session every Saturday. This will be followed by skills and nutrition workshops.

Our U15 Footballers has 40 players completing three sessions per week with the live session on Saturday morning. Like the U14 this will be followed by a skills and nutrition workshops.

Our U16/17 also have three sessions per week and the live session on the Saturday. Paddy Dalton Minor manager will take these players from the 1st March. Any U16’s that don’t make the minor panel will come back to the U16 GCA Squad.

Garden County Academy Hurling squads

U14 70 players completing two sessions a week, all resources will be online through YouTube channel

U15 35 players completing two sessions a week, all resources will be online through YouTube channel

U16 35 players completing two sessions a week, all resources will be online through YouTube channel

Minor 33 players completing two sessions a week, all resources will be online through YouTube channel

All Players and parents have received an information and explanatory webinar with Patrick Walsh Strength & Conditioning Coach, Phillip will also organise Nutrition & Specific coach related webinars over the coming weeks.

GCA Coaches in Hurling & Football

All our academy squad are still looking for experienced coaches to help with our Hurling & Football squads for 2021. Any Coaches who have an interest please contact Football Talent Development Leader Paul Garrigan or Hurling Talent Development Leader Philip Campion.

Coiste na nOg

Can all clubs please return their Coaches contact list as soon as possible? Coiste na nOg are currently putting together a list of all coaches from U10 – Minor to circulate to all clubs so they can contact one another in relation to fulfilling our Fixtures programme.

Coaching & Games Development YouTube Channel

Wicklow Coaching & Games Development YouTube channel has only recently been set up and has 390 subscribers this resource provides information to club’s coach’s and teachers. On this channel we upload coaching webinars, workshops, conferences and coaching sessions for Schools and Clubs. In addition, we provide online resources for our GCA coaches and Players. We hope this channel will provide us with a closer connection with coach’s and teachers. Recorded videos are produced each week by our coaching staff and sent to all Primary schools from Junior Infants to 6th class with over 300 teachers forward the link through their seesaw platform. I would encourage all coaches to subscribe to our free YouTube channel.


Social Media

All our coaching & games development activities and coach education courses and webinars are advertised on all our Wicklow GAA Social media outlet. Official County GAA Twitter account, Instagram and Facebook accounts (Wicklow GAA, Wicklow Coaching & Games Development and Post Primary Schools) Wicklow GAA Website.

In Short if it’s not working CHANGE IT

C – Coaching Style: Provide feedback or change activities without interrupting development

H – How you Score/Win: Increase opportunities to score during your coaching sessions

A – Area: Increase or decrease the game/training challenges by changing the shape/size of the playing area i.e. long and narrow, short and wide, smaller/larger

N – Numbers: Use different team numbers of players to overload the advantage of one team or vary the number of passes before you can take a score Goals/Points etc.

G – Game Rules: Change the rules slightly i.e. Minimum number of passes, can’t pass the ball backwards,

E – Equipment: Vary the equipment used i.e. bigger goals, Bigger/smaller balls, more goals etc.

I – Inclusion: Engage the players by modifying the practice, provide more options, consider what a player can do as opposed to what they can’t or your perception of what they can or can’t do

T – Time: Reduce or extend the time to perform actions i.e. how many passes in 20 seconds, get a shot on goal within 30 seconds

Quote of the week:

“Never quit. It’s the easiest cop-out in the world. Set a goal and don’t quit until you attain it. When you do attain it, set another goal, and don’t quit until you reach it. Never quit” Bear Bryant, American Football


Three Weekly Coaching Tips:

  1. Connect with your Players
  2. Plan & Organise your session in advance
  3. Make Practice Fun


Coach Education Webinars:

During the Month of March our Coaching & Games Development staff are holding TURAS Player Pathway webinars see social media for full details. On Tuesday 9th March we have included an extra Webinar “Introduction to Mental training for GAA Coaches” this will discuss how adding mental skills to coaching sessions will help your team reach its full potential. Presenter Paul O Riordan.

Drill of the month:  WINDOW HAND PASS/FIST PASS


  • Group A handballs to Group B
  • Group B handballs to Group C
  • Group C handballs to Group D
  • Group D handballs back to Group A
  • Players run to the group they are hand passing to
  • The aim of this drill is for players to concentrate on their Football/Sliotar only while there are players from other squares running across their path.



  • Use only a minimum of players on each group e.g. 2 players per group
  • Use additional footballs/Sliotars
  • Footballs/Sliotars go opposite ways
  • Put a time limit on it Squares competing against each other
  • What other variation/modification can you include?




Coaching Staff

Our coaching staff of GDA’s, GPO’s and CE coaches are planning a return to school coaching this week to coach the classes who have returned from Junior infants – 2nd Class.

Our staff have been very busy producing FMS and Skills videos for Primary school children to access during lockdown. 300 Teachers have signed up covering 65 Primary Schools. Sessions are specially designed for Junior/Senior infants, First/Second, Third/Fourth and Fifth/Sixth classes with over 2200 views.

Coach Profile 15 Questions

Name: Alan Lawlor

Club: St. Patricks GAA

Age Group You Coach: U15

  1. Would you change any of the GAA Playing Rules?

Perhaps consider 4 points for a goal!

  1. Why did you get involved in coaching?

I was gone too old to play and love being involved with teams.

  1. What is the most rewarding element of being a coach?

Seeing kids improving their skills and playing / training with a smile on their face.

  1. What advice would you give to young players?

Enjoy it – and practice between training sessions on both feet for football and two sides in hurling.

  1. What resources do you use to assist you in your role? and the many webinars that Wicklow GAA and others run.

  1. What does success look like to you?

Retaining your numbers and as many players as possible going on to play at adult level

  1. What do you see as your three main responsibilities as a coach?

Treat everybody equally, care about the person, and use positive reinforcement

  1. How important is winning to you? why?

Everybody loves to win, but for me effort is the real measure. Being part of a winning team is where memories are made, however you won’t win every day so being able to walk off the pitch knowing everybody gave their best and we can work on certain aspects at training is just as important.

  1. You have 10 footballs & 10 cones in your coaching kit bag. You are in charge of 30 players how would you conduct training to maximise all equipment & player involvement?

I would put them in groups of 6 for a warm up with 2 footballs for each group, incorporating hand passing and foot passing, where they all get regular touches. The entire group would then go through our S&C exercises (lunges, squats etc. and stretching. I would then split the group in two with one coach taking 7 footballs for a shooting practice session, while the other group would work on tackling exercises using the other 3 footballs. Next we would do small sided conditioned games (5 v 5) for 3 groups, followed by 8 v 8, and 7 v 7. Finish with a warm down and stretch.

  1. What part of training or games do you dislike the most?

I’m not a big fan of coaches encroaching on the pitch at juvenile games.

  1. What does a normal coaching week look like for you and the team?

We would look to train twice and have a game every second week. The players would also be encouraged to practice themselves between sessions

  1. Why is planning your coaching sessions so important?

It’s huge, when you aren’t organised the kids will pick up on that and a lot of time is wasted when you are figuring things out. There needs to be a structure and areas you are looking to develop covered, which is enhanced and tweaked week to week.

  1. Why is feedback so important to player development?

Players like to feel they are valued and by offering them positive feedback and then areas to work on you will motivate them. Praising visible improvement will make that player feel good about themselves.

  1. If one of your players are constantly overplaying the ball how do you get the player to correct this?

I would speak to the player about the importance of moving the ball quickly in trying to minimise turnovers and to create scoring chances, and ask them to focus on letting the ball go earlier. At training I would introduce conditioned games where the ball had to be released first time – I would give positive feedback to the player / team when they put this into practice.

  1. Explain how you have kept up to date with coaching methodologies and tactics?

There is a huge amount of coaching workshops and webinars available and through discussion with other coaches you are always learning and looking for something new that would suit your team. You are always following the latest tactics at Senior level such as the possession based game that has developed in hurling, kick out and puck out strategies, and operating with or without a sweeper etc.

You can contact us:

We also invite emails from Wicklow People readers if they would like any topic or area covered in more detail in our “Coach’s News” section. Coaches can email their queries and questions to and we can address them by providing the relevant information each week.

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