Online workshops and webinars attracting significant interest
A total of 21,995 people participated in online GAA workshops and webinars in April.
National and provincial staff GAA coaching staff were involved in the process with several different topics discussed.
GAA Education Officer Peter Horgan explains the approach to the national seminars. "We’ve been running these sessions every Tuesday and Thursday since the end of March," Horgan states. "The response has been phenomenal, with over 9,000 people coming on the webinars ‘live’ and another 5,000 having viewed the sessions on the GAA Learning Youtube channel.
"We were very conscious when all activities were suspended that coaches would still want and need to interact with their teams. We were also conscious that coaches might have more time to think about their coaching and use this as an opportunity to develop themselves.
"So, what we have tried to do is create online sessions, every Tuesday and Thursday for one hour. Some of the sessions have focused on what coaches can do for their players now, whether that is online coaching or mentoring, while others have focused on how coaches might try to develop themselves."
Horgan stresses the reasons why the GAA have adopted these methods. "We wanted to create something for coaches that was sustainable," Horgan adds. "Early in this period there was a lot of information and suggestions for coaches and players as to what they should do, especially on social media.
"But we were fearful that some of those activities would burn themselves out. So, we said that we would pick two specific times during the week – Tuesdays and Thursdays – and one hour only.
"There is so much else going on for coaches at home, whether it is trying to have a full working day or acting as teacher at home, that we wanted these sessions to be a type of safe haven for coaches. One hour, twice a week whereby we could get great quality speakers. Some they might have known about, or heard previously, and others that might be new."
Connacht GAA Provincial Games Manager Cathal Cregg is encouraged by the response from those with an interest in coaching.
"There is good stuff going on, a lot of people have a small bit more time when they are at home in the evenings," Cregg says. "So they are engaging in these webinars.
"Peter Horgan is putting the national ones together, Eamonn O'Shea was on Tuesday night and you had top class presenters for the last seven or eight weeks.
"When you put on things like that people buy into it, they are getting huge traction and huge numbers of coaches coming into it. That shows the popularity."
Out west Cregg is satisfied with how the Connacht counties have adapted to the changed circumstances in recent months.
"We'd be very happy from a Coaching and Games point of view," Cregg admits.
"Obviously the counties have their own approach and projects, we have done some learning courses with the staff.
"All the counties are working on provincial projects. So we have them split into eight groups and they have already done two rounds of projects. On Tuesday we presented the third round of projects, we are getting a huge amount of resources.
"These are things we have been putting on the long finger, we just didn't have the time dedicated to developing resources.
"From a Coaching and Games point of view, I think we will be in a far stronger position when this lockdown finishes in terms of resources for clubs and schools."