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 President’s Blog January 2012

At this stage of the New Year your resolutions are either well embedded or broken altogether.  Let’s hope it’s the former!

At national level we’re preparing for Annual Congress at the end of March in Cork. The Camogie playing rules are for review/decision there. It’s been useful over the last couple of weeks to get feedback and suggestions on the proposed changes.

All Ireland club semi finals

Clubs and counties are back on the training fields now getting ready for games action.   5th February is an important date for the All Ireland Club semi finals day at senior and intermediate levels. Four interesting games are in store:

Casement Park: Loughgiel v Oulart the Ballagh

Nenagh: Drom/Inch v Killimor

Dungarvan: Lismore v Ardrahan and

Killyclogher: Eoghan Rua v The Harps.

The latter is a replay of last year’s Intermediate All Ireland Final so a bit of rivalry building up between the Derry and Laois champions.

Best practice in coaching teenagers

Coaches are back in action too. The recent National Coaching Conference in Croke Park focussed on coaching teenagers. International and Irish speakers with sports science and related backgrounds addressed the conference. There was loads of content very relevant to current debates in Camogie including the topical issue of involving young players in competition for older players and/or adults.

There were several key messages based on sports science evidence and experience on this. These included:

·         Teenagers are not miniature adults so we shouldn’t treat then that way by imposing adult training schedules and adult competition schedules on them

·         When coaching teenagers, a focus on the needs of teenagers is more effective than a focus on winning or losing

·          Physical, social and emotional development and tactical awareness and skills development are the key needs of teenagers at this stage of their sporting life.

Former Galway Camogie player Aoife Lane, who lectures in Waterford IT, joined Gerry Fitzpatrick who has experience with the Wexford Senior Camogie Team in presenting a thought provoking session on improving teenagers’ motivation. It highlighted the significant impact that a coach’s style and interaction has on young players as well as giving insights into coaching psychology.

One interesting feature was the concept of mindset or attitude– and the differences between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. The type of mindset within a player or coach can either lift a team (growth mindset) or tear it down (fixed mindset).

Another interesting session I attended focussed on organising purposeful games’ based activities. Brian Cuthbert talked about his journey away from a ‘traditional’ coaching approach involving repetitive drills to a games based approach. The games’ based approach aims to support players to think for themselves through incorporating questioning and reflection in games based coaching. In these sessions, the games are structured so that players are empowered to think for themselves on e.g.  shot selection, tactics,  using space on the pitch etc .

All the theory was put into practice in a hurling session on the Croke Park pitch which really demonstrated how motivating and stimulating games based coaching could be.

It was great to see a number of Camogie coaches in attendance and wonderful to have such an opportunity to learn more about supporting players to be the best they can be. The debate on young teenagers’ involvement in adult completion or higher aged competition reminded me again that our responsibilities, in the context of young people, extend to being concerned about the whole person and the young members’ well-being as well as their sporting ability.


Final word of congratulations to Waterford, All Ireland champions who collected their silverware, plus National League Division 2 medals recently at a Presentation Dinner in Dungarvan and who also won the WLR Team of the Year.

Happy 2012 to everybody!

Joan O’Flynn

Siobhán Ní Fhloinn


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