Steven Poacher

Steven Poacher: Empower yourself by chasing education

EXTRA EDGE….Jim McGuinness was forever learning

THE last few weeks have been very refreshing for me, the volume of coaching has dropped and it has given me an opportunity to recharge the batteries but more importantly to continue some coach education.

I really enjoy reading and researching sports books and at the moment I am currently making my way through ‘Teaching Sports Concepts and Skills, A Tactical Games Approach.’


It’s a very informative book with loads of concepts and tactically theories behind a multitude of sports such as lacrosse, rugby, soccer, basketball and what it does is expand your knowledge and understanding on tactical transfer among games and how to transfer problem solving situations from one game to another.

Jim McGuinness penned in his book the line “education empowers people.” I say this to children in school all the time, you can never have enough education or knowledge; you must challenge yourself to grow.

That leads me to this week’s article, Mick Fanning of the Skerries club in Dublin recently asked me to come down and deliver a coaching morning on Saturday, January 20.

It promises to be a cracking morning, commencing at 11.30am and finishing at 1.45pm. The day will consist of a pitch session and two indoor sessions.

The first session, starting at 11.30am, will be an outdoor pitch session performed by the Skerries minor footballers and delivered by myself.

The theme of the session will be ‘Developing Offensive Transition Play’ and will consist of some basic principles of transition play followed by approximately eight innovative games you can use at all levels from underage to senior to develop your teams offensive transition play.

We will also explore ways in which teams can combat and break down crowded defences, which is obviously a big part of the modern game.

In the first indoor session, Melissa Broderick, an experienced pilates instructor with over a decade’s experience delivering PE in schools and working with senior GAA teams, will deliver a session titled “GAA Specific Pilates.”

In Gaelic Games, many of the injuries sustained on the pitch are certainly avoidable if only players paid more attention to the balance of their muscles. Common injuries in our game include: groin strains, hamstring strains, ankle injuries and back problems. Much of the problem lies with muscle imbalance in the body.

Examples of imbalance in Gaelic footballers: strong overworked quad muscles, tight hamstrings, tight calf muscles, weak gluteal muscles, tight hip flexors (prominent in kicking) and overworked back extensors.

Add into this the fact most footballers are predominantly strong one-sided (i.e. kick with right/left side) and it can cause a weakness in the opposite side. So we are basically left with a footballer’s body with a poor trunk and pelvis stability and very poor flexibility.

Melissa will show a number of ways you can improve this crucial imbalance and through an innovative pilates session, will demonstrate methods that will provide you with a more conditioned and injury free squad.

In the second indoor session, I will present a presentation on ‘Planning the Perfect Session’ and it will consist of a powerpoint presentation showing strategies and guidance on planning your perfect session, depending on the age of the squad, numbers in the squad, length of time, time of the year and what your session should consist of.

This will be followed by a short Q and A to finish the day and it promises to be an excellent morning of learning and one that no one should miss.

In coaching you should never stop learning and even on the morning in Skerries I am looking forward to learning myself during the innovative pilates session.

Remember what Jim said, education empowers people, knowledge and learning empowers coaches, don’t stop!

*The Day starts at 11.30am, it costs 10euro to attend, which can be paid on the day. Anyone interested should contact Mick on 00353 874174917 or myself on 00447779780919 or email to book a place.