Steven Poacher

Steven Poacher – ‘I’m excited about our Coaching day’

Coaching in schools is crucially important

I HAVE said in this article many times before about the similarities between teaching and coaching and how so often a good teacher makes a really good coach, not always but quite often.

Why is that I often ask myself, but it’s probably because so many things associated with teaching, such as organising, planning, discipline, control, structure and man-management, are directly relayed to coaching.


Next Saturday (October 28) sees the biggest day of the year for me as regards organising, planning and preparing – our annual St Columban’s College Coaching Clinic.

The idea of our coaching clinic surfaced as a fundraising idea between Cathy (my PE colleague) and I about eight years ago but it came as a direct result of a coaching course I witnessed in Croke Park in 2008.

That was the National Games and Development Conference when over 300 coaches had an opportunity to witness an on-field pitch session delivered by Donie Buckley (the then Limerick coach), Michael McGeehin (director of Coach Ireland) and Martin Fogarty (assistant manager of the Kilkenny hurlers).

There was a football session built around small-sided games with a group of young minor club players from Donegal. The hurling session was similarly built around games. These three men were high-level coaches at the top of their game delivering a coaching session for us, and in teaching terms it was what we call ‘sharing good practice.’

I have been teaching over 16 years now, I would have a lot of confidence in my ability as a teacher to nurture, inspire and develop young people both personally and academically and I would like to think I am a good teacher.

Am I an expert? No. Do I know everything? No. Am I open to more learning and greater knowledge? Absolutely yes and I always will be.

This is where sharing good practice comes in. If an outside coach comes to our school to deliver a block of PE lessons, whether that be rugby, gymnastics, soccer, basketball, dance, anything, I will always look to take ideas away from their sessions.

You never stop learning. In the classroom, if a younger teacher or an older teacher says to me, “listen I have a great idea” show me, tell me, I want to use that, I love learning and I love seeing good practice.

On Saturday week coaches will have a tremendous opportunity to see good practice and I am extremely grateful that Peter Donnelly, Paul McIver and Turlough O’Brien are giving up their time to share good practice in both our outdoor practical session and our indoor forum.

Peter Donnelly’s session will involve approximately 16 players. It will be a number of conditioned games and drills you can use to coach your players to use effective transition play.

My own session is based on small-sided games. It will involve a similar number of players and I will be showing approximately six small-sided games, all focusing on a different theme within the game.

In the indoor element, you will have an opportunity to enhance your learning by listening to the wise words of some top managers and coaches in the current game, Paul McIver current Kilcoo senior manager along with Turlough O’Brien Carlow senior manager and also Peter Donnelly himself. It promises to be an excellent morning of learning and coaching.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Paddy Tally, Paul McIver, Donie Buckley, Mickey Ned O’Sullivan, Cathal Murray, Barney McAleenan, John Morrison, Shane Mulholland, Mark Poland, Martin Clarke, Turlough O’Brien, Mickey Donnelly, John McElholm, Gearoid Adams, Frank Fitzsimons, Conor Laverty, Jim McCorry, James Mc Cartan, Brendan Rice, Brendan McVeigh, Ambrose Rodgers, Aidan O’Rourke, Lorcan Martin, Anthony McGrath and this year’s guests for all the contributions to the coaching day over the past eight years, whether that be in a practical session, the indoor theory or even a contribution to the booklet.

It has been greatly appreciated. Many thanks and look forward to seeing you all there next Saturday!


The day commences at 10am on Saturday morning October 28 and the cost of the day is £15/E20, which can be made payable on the day and includes, tea/coffee, snack and an information booklet with sample games. For more information or to confirm a place, please either text or email Steven Poacher on 07779780919 or or contact him on Twitter on @stevie_poacher.