Less was more for Gearoid Hegarty in 2020
By John Harrington
Limerick hurling star, Gearoid Hegarty, can empathise with the saying that sometimes less is more.
His outstanding form for the Shannonsiders in their 2020 All-Ireland SHC success was recognised last week with PwC All-Star and Hurler of the Year nominations.
And when asked what was the secret last year to finding the form of his life, he believes his decision to stop pushing himself so hard to be the best ironically made it easier for him to fulfil his potential.
"In past years, I was probably doing a small bit too much and burning myself out,” says Hegarty, who last week was also honoured as the PwC Hurler of the All-Ireland Final.
“I wasn't super fresh coming into games. This year, I actually stopped doing that extra work.
"Even in the gym I would always do an extra set - if we were given three sets I would do four. It sounds great but Mikey Kiely is a super strength and conditioning coach and if he thinks three sets is enough when why was I doing a fourth one when I don’t know anything about it.
"When you actually get there, they (management) know what they are doing so if you give everything in training for Paul Kinnerk on a Tuesday and Friday night, and stick to Mikey’s Kiely plan in the gym on a Monday, and then go out on a Sunday and take into account maybe what Caroline Currid was talking to you about during the week and a couple of tips the other lads might give you, that is enough.
"I stood back a small bit this year and stopped doing a ridiculous amount of work."
Hegarty has always been interested in sports psychology and is a very driven and self-motivated sort of character.
But he has come to realise that the answers don’t always lie within and quite often you’re better off being guided down the most productive paths rather than try to find them yourself.
"I would have asked for a lot more help than I would have before," he says of his approach in 2020.
"Going to Caroline, our sports psychologist, going to Paul Kinnerk - maybe in the lead up to a game, I might ask him questions about how the opposition will set up, how they'll defend. I'd go to Mikey (Kiely) in the gym on Monday and ask him a few things.
"This year, I really went out of my way to ask more questions. Thinking about it, I always say it to my students in Desmond College in Newcastle West, that they need to use the other students as resources; if you're stuck on something, just ask the person beside you if they know how to do it.
"I was asking myself internally, 'Am I asking enough questions of the people that are in our group?' Fortunately, we have some fantastic people in their departments, top of their class in their own thing.”