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Cork GDA offering coaching webinar service

By Cian O’Connell

Throughout the country workers are finding different ways to adapt. So Cork Games Development Administrator Colm Crowley came up with an interesting concept.

Last Friday evening coaches from around the country joined Crowley’s webinar about planning a season for an underage team.

There has been no shortage of skills videos and tips, but Crowley just felt that this might offer guidance and assistance to coaches, regardless of the code.

“We had about 40 people on it at various stages,” Crowley explains. “We've had several hundred views since it has been put up on YouTube. It is a positive enough reaction.

“It was people from all over the country. We had fellas from Armagh, Monaghan, so you had a fair amount of fellas from all over the country following it. I wouldn't even say 50% Cork, it was country wide.”

The webinar method of delivery is something which Crowley believes can be used, especially during these demanding weeks and months.

“I know webinars have been done in various other guises, educational sessions and stuff like that in the last couple of years,” Crowley adds.

“So we just said we would throw it out. Primary schools are closed, post primary schools are closed, clubs are closed, 80% of our workload is shut down so we are trying to think of other ways to do our job, to help clubs and coaches in some capacity.

“The way we have it in Cork is we'd do 20% of our time in primary schools, 20% in post primary schools, 20% Club Development through workshops and stuff like that, 20% would be development squads and associated parts of that, and the rest would be 20% miscellaneous.

Colm Crowley delivered a webinar for underage coaches last Friday evening.
Colm Crowley delivered a webinar for underage coaches last Friday evening.

“So when you shut down a few of them you are really limited in what else you can do.”

Supplying help and support to coaches is precisely the mission Crowley wants to accomplish with this particular project. “We are trying to keep ourselves busy, to try to do something productive,” Crowley states.

“There are so much skill challenges out there which is brilliant, but there has been nothing really for coaches to expand their own minds.

“January and February would usually be the best time for coach development, to do workshops just before the season starts. Now we have a second pre-season and it is something coaches are interested in, that small bit of learning, just to keep up, to move to the next phase of it.

“What we find is that there is a window when people are really open to learning - the January and February window before games start.

“Once games start they are just busy themselves with training and matches every week. I did a nursery presentation online, that has got more than 2,500 views on YouTube.

“So you can tell that there is that many people interested in learning, taking on board new stuff, and just hearing a different opinion. From a GAA perspective it is so promising in that regard.”

It is an area Crowley hopes to explore further with more webinars expected to be offered imminently. “We are just trying to come up with different topics to do every three or four days,” Crowley admits.

“The first thing even for us and with every other line of business is to make a plan. In the GAA we've been a bit ad hoc probably for a long time because we'd go with what is topical or what happened in the match last week.

Páirc Uí Chaoimh before the 2019 Munster SHC clash between Cork and Tipperary.
Páirc Uí Chaoimh before the 2019 Munster SHC clash between Cork and Tipperary.

“Now at least coaches can try to put in place a plan that might help them plan. They are also setting out to make progression, that they aren't just going ad hoc week to week. We'd know a lot of clubs in Cork, who would have their own Club Development Plan.

“They might have a plan for each age group, a rough plan, but to be able to put the level above it, to make it a bit more theoretical to what they are actually doing.

“That was the thinking on Friday's topic. We will do another topic next week for nursery coaches.

Everyday life has altered dramatically for GAA coaches on the ground. It is why new approaches are being tried presently.

“I'd like to think that we would be able to do Foundation and Level One courses via some sort of format similar,” Crowley remarks.

“Traditionally they have been done face to face. Obviously with the lockdown at the moment we don't have the ability to get to a coach. So if we can do a foundation course via a webinar, I know the e-learning site carries a lot of the theory based stuff.

"If we are able to talk to them and explain it in person it might make it easier for the coaches.

“I'd like to think that is where it will probably go, depending on how long this goes on. We had to cancel between 10 and 12 foundation courses in Cork between last weekend and this weekend.

“Those coaches want to learn. If we can do that via a website or whatever format zoom or google hangouts, we think it could be really valuable to get some extra learning at this time.”

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