SOCIAL media and technology have played key roles in helping underage GAA players continue to up-skill and maintain their sporting progress during Covid-19.
Cork GDA James McCarthy, along with Carbery GAA Games Promotion Officer Paudie Crowley, have held a series of coaching webinars in recent weeks that have attracted over 2,000 U12 and U14 GAA enthusiasts throughout the Beara, Carbery and Muskerry divisions. James has been delighted with the uptake from the young players.
In recent weeks they've recruited the likes of Patrick Collins, John Cleary and Carthach Keane to keep the drills fresh.
“It was vital we maintained regular contact with the players. The various club coaches and coaching officers were very supportive. We have just completed four weeks of football coaching. The next four weeks are all hurling related. It has been a great success.”
The webinars consisted of a one-hour session each week as the coaches divided West Cork into eight groups. Both James and Paudie gave coaching advice and demonstrated skills the players could continue to practice on a daily basis.
“It was ideal for players to follow our drills. They could do the skills up against the wall. They can continue to practice off either foot, work on their catching and doing dummies.
Maintaining regular contact with the players is vital from a mental perspective also revealed the renowned coach.
“It is vital to contact the players and touch base with them on occasion and that players continue to exercise from a mental and physical perspective. It gives them great enjoyment and they can forget about the current situation for a few hours.
“It is important to keep players motivated. We were urging the club coaches to keep in touch with the players, just to let them know their clubs are thinking about them.
“If players get into a habit of not training, they might be lost to the GAA going forward. Social media is a great way of staying in touch with players and ensuring they continue to maintain their GAA skills.”
The Cork GDA has urged all clubs throughout the county to ensure their players are being catered for during Covid-19.
“Players can train away at home, but they can also go for a walk or a jog to maintain their fitness. It is important clubs are there to cater for players mental and physical health. The GAA have come to the fore during these times. They are the heartbeat of the community. “They have raised great money for charities and helped out in communities with regards helping vulnerable people. The GAA have led from the front.”