Coaching tip Number 51 - SPEED SHOOTING

Take a look at some of the shooting drills you run. Many are probably unopposed and are designed to allow players to develop better technical skills.

However, one of the characteristics of unopposed shooting is 1/2 pace or 3/4 pace running that does not reflect match situations. No matter how many times a coach asks players to work at full pace, most will not because there is nothing physical to force them to do so.

To solve the problem, use runners to work alongside the ball carrier/shooter. The runner is really more of a pace-setter rather than a shadow runner and may even be the person who delivers a fist pass and then tries to chase the carrier or even beat the carrier in a short race to the point where the shot is taken.

Demand honesty from the pacesetters by convincing them of the importance of their task - they are helping prepare a teammate for a similar situation in a real game.

So, cut down the unopposed drills, think of different ways to use pacesetters and help your shot takers to work at match speed!

Good luck.

Coaching tip Number 52 - FUEL UP

Would you plan a long journey in your car without putting fuel in it? If you did you would not get very far. You always hear coaches say ‘empty the tank’ to get their players to give their all? How do we ‘fill the tank’ in the first place? 

Gaelic players, like all athletes must hydrate themselves on a regular basis. It is important to drink enough of the right type of fluid at a pre match/session meal. One of the main problems that dehydration causes players is a loss of concentration and that’s what can cause basic errors in performance.

Often games are won and lost in the closing stages, with the opposition dropping the ball or making a sloppy pass. Proper hydration can help to eliminate these problems. In conjunction with a balanced healthy diet, all players should be taking the proper fluids. 
This can be in the form of water, dilute squash or sports drink.

Most players will require between 2 and 3 litres a day, which does not include the fluid lost as sweat during exercise. Remember to take your water bottle to all coaching sessions and games. 

At the break in play or a change in training activity, you should drink as much as possible. 
Remember thirst is a late sign of de-hydration, so get into the habit of taking fluid even if not thirsty. Within 20 minutes of the session, the bottle should be refilled with water and consumed along with a light snack. 

Also, remember to get fluid on board 1-2 hours before the game/session along with the pre activity meal. You can sip fluid at regular intervals until exercise begins.

Coaching tip Number 53 - ARE WE RESTRICTIVE?

Your team is two points behind, time is almost up. You are looking around for that spark that cannot be found. All the players are cancelling each other out and there isn’t a match winner to be found. 
Since all our coaches are following the same steps, preaching the same things it is very often the team with the talented performer that comes though. We call him the match winner. One example was in an Australasian final in Perth. Scores were level, John Farrelly from NSW lined up a sideline kick off the ground from at least 50 metres and curled it over.
Our goal in coaching is that we will develop players who will play on our club senior teams and maybe go on to play for the State. We want them to be able to be fit enough to last the game, we want them to take the ball first time and break a tackle. They will also be taught about diet and preventing injury. 
Why not dedicate some time in your coaching sessions for players to express themselves. In the dying moment of a final you may want your wing forward to drive forward evading opponents and kick over the bar, so we need to give them a chance to practice. 

It is very important that we promote team play but there will always be the day when a bit of individual brilliance will be required.

Coaching tip Number 54 - Back To Basics

In the past children played in the playground at school. They played, tag, hide ‘n’ seek etc and got all the exercise they needed. Times have changed. 

So in an era where the internet, TV and video games are highly accessible, youth officers and coaches need to have very well structured coaching schemes to teach kids basic movement and exercise skills.

However there is another worrying trend creeping into our game. How many players can kick a long pass accurately? How many players can catch a high ball in a ruck of players? Can they put the ball over the bar on a regular basis?

Coaches/Managers are tending to place tall players at full forward. However, for this to happen you need two things…..a strong target man who can win his own ball and players who can direct a good pass into the full forward line.

In your club team do you have players who can pass the ball accurately? How many forwards in your can score regularly from play? Can your midfielders, full back and full forward win a high ball against their opponent?

There are so many other things creeping into our game. Third midfielder, two man full forward line, blanket defence, breaking ball and turnovers. The list could go on. 

These can all be very useful additions to a team’s armoury if they are looking for success or trying to play against a difficult opponent. But are we neglecting the basic skills of our game? 

Consider the advantages of improving your long kicking; can your passes unlock a defence? 
Consider the advantages of increasing your scoring rate; can you be another source of scores for your team? 
Consider improving your overhead catch. Can you win more kick outs or make a match winning catch at the edge of the square?
Just something for us to think about.