Donegal Sports Partnership is collaborating with the Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) on the ZuCar Gaelic4Teens Programme in Donegal which got underway on recently.
Nine Donegal clubs – Carndonagh, Four Masters, Moville, Naomh Columba, Sean MacCumhaills, Naomh Muire Íochtar Na Rosann, Urris, Red Hughs and Chill Chartha – are particapting in the programme which is funded by Sport Ireland’s Sports Inclusion Fund.
Education and Training Coordinator with Donegal Local Sports Partnership, Maggie Farrelly, said she was delighted at the response from local clubs and coaches to the programme.
“Donegal Local Sports Partnership’s aim is to increase participation and support clubs and communities in their ongoing efforts to build capacity through education and training. We are delighted to support such an important LGFA initiative and it’s great to see so many clubs and coaches involved in the programme,” Ms Farrelly commented.
National Development Officer with LGFA, William Harmon, said the innovative Gaelic4Teens programme was developed as a result of extensive research undertaken by the LGFA with clubs.
“The programme educates clubs and coaches in relation to the needs and interests of our teenage cohort in our sport. The programme also focuses on key techniques and strategies that help develop the coach-athlete relationship,” Mr Harmon added.
All nine participating Donegal clubs involved will be exposed to a series of educational webinars, self-paced learning modules and club visits that will be delivered over a seven-month period from April to October. The aim of the educational webinars and club visits is to influence the content of the coaching sessions, as well as establish the best ways for coaches to communicate and engage with their players.
Programme coordinator, John Gibbons, said research conducted by LGFA reveals that players play for enjoyment, to improve and get better, to keep fit and healthy, to relieve stress and because their friends also play.
“The reasons highlighted for giving up the sport are that they don’t get enough playing time, there is no fun at training, that it is too competitive and that they are treated differently. The coach plays such an important role in creating a positive coaching environment and developing players for the future – hence what prompted the need for such a programme.”
The Gaelic4Teens Programme ambassadors will present on topics such as coaching behaviour and approach, body image and confidence, lifestyle balance, nutrition and hydration, teaching games for understanding as well how to create a positive coaching club environment to support and guide the coaches. Special emphasis will be placed on how coaches coach and how they should engage with their players. The coaches will also be provided with simple ideas on how these can be applied in everyday coaching sessions.