Fionnuala Carr

Fionnuala Carr – Are we good role models for children?

Children need strong role models

Children need strong role models

The role of a coach is to teach people to improve at a sport, skill or subject.

A coach plays a huge part in any the development of any player but crucially so in an underage player’s development.


I attend a lot of matches and it’s easy to see the difference in the personalities along the line. Many people focus on the game and their team; shouting encouragement, giving instructions or giving someone the curly finger warning.

However, in some instances you get the opposite of this, managers or coaches turning around to the crowd behind throwing their hands up in disbelief, laughing at decisions or even worse ridiculing mistakes.

Some will even go so far as to get involved with opposition management teams or players and this makes me wonder how they can really be there for the better of their team when all they them seem to do is want the attention on themselves.

There is a fine line between being a coach and becoming a spectator.

Last Saturday at an intercounty u17 development day blitz two of the managers / coaches of opposing sides got involved in a melee over a side line ball.

Anyone who is involved in sport know that some decisions go with you and some go against you but it’s how you react to those decisions that determines the player that you are.

It’s so easy to get caught up in a game; I’ve always said it is much easier to play than to watch.

Perhaps this is where the frustration for some people boils over because they are only looking at one team and they have no influence in the outcome of the game they need to point the finger of blame / responsibility at someone.

Instead they should be looking at how they can improve their team, their decision making, planning the next training session and making players better.

When you are managing or coaching teams you are the first person that is setting an example as to how players behave.

Children are so susceptible to outside influences now that the role of the coach or manager is even more important.

Alan Brogan had an article in one of the papers this week and he spoke about how Jim Gavin believes that by being better people it will make them better players.

This mentality should be a given for all managers, mentors, coaches or whatever title you want to put on it.

Creating a positive environment that children want to be part of so that when the new season comes around they are pleading with their parents to let them go back training.

Children who start their season with low self-esteem and have a good coach will show greater self-esteem at the end of the season than children who are trained by a bad coach.

Coaches should understand their players and the development stage they are at.

The coach of an under 12 team should have a different approach than someone who is coaching under 16s or minor.

Despite the age of the player all coaches should have a fundamental approach with the core focus on skill development and making better players.

A better player or team will overcome a bad one nine times out of ten.

All the things that they are seeing on TV such as diving, pulling players down, questioning referees can be stamped out by a good strong coach.  Someone who is telling and showing them how to play the game in the right way.

Coaching children to have respect for themselves, their coaches, teammates and officials will be a long term benefit for everyone involved.

However, some things can’t be coached and if you haven’t seen Ciara Donnelly’s goal playing for Armagh in the All Ireland Junior Camogie final then go and google it.  It is possibly one of the finest pieces of individual skills you will see this year in Croke Park.

Lastly this week I would like to bring to your attention an online fundraiser that Eoghan Rua, Coleraine are launching.

Eoghan Rua has a decorated history dating back to the troubles they now have 25 underage and senior teams in all four GAA codes, with all these teams they now need a second pitch to facilitate everyone.

Anyone involved in the GAA will know how crucial it is for fundraising and Eoghan Rua are no different except that they are also raising money for two well-known charities Aware Defeat Depression and Pieta House.

How it works is that Eoghan rua will nominate people on Facebook from different clubs all over the country and challenge them to post a GAA memory in the form of a video, photo, story etc.

They then text to the number provided to donate either £2 or 2 euro as well as nominate 4 friends to do the same.

The majority of the money will go directly to the charities so its for a very worthwhile cause.