Fionnuala Carr

Fionnuala Carr: Mallon is an example to all players

WHEN I was growing up I was very lucky to have great coaches in my club, who taught me the essentials for my age group.

At a young age I feel it is important for children to be taught the correct technique but to also have fun. We had Marie Walls and Eileen Hamill who corrected us when we were doing something wrong, and then ensured we did it the correct way until it just came naturally.

As time went on we were very fortunate to have coaches all through out the underage teams, from u-12, u-14, u-16, minor and the adult age groups. The thing about coaching and being coached is that you should never stop learning and never stop wanting to be better.


With games such as hurling and camogie first touch is vitally important, the more you practice the better the first touch will be. Niamh Mallon is one of the top players in Ireland but Niamh practices harder than anyone on our team. She hasn’t become one of the top players simply by turning up to training and playing matches, Niamh is continually practising outside of these times.

I know that not every one is lucky to have had the coaching that I have had, but coaching doesn’t just happen through going to training, coaching happens at home too. Having the support of my parents and my aunt Guinevra at a young age was vital, as was being able to play with in them in the garden.

To me, any good coach that I have been lucky to play under has had a genuine love for the game and cares more about the team and how well they do.

Any bad coach that I have had – and luckily there have only been a few – have cared more about themselves than the team. They wanted all the focus to be on them and sometimes I felt that they thought they were better than us as players. They often looked down on us, comparing what they did as a player and how wrong we were getting it now. One coach spoke more about their own golfing exploits than coaching a group of players.

Often when we were growing up, and also at the early stages of my adult career, a coach and a manager were the same person.

A coach and a manager are completely different roles and have different skill sets. A manager is only as good as the backroom team he has around him or her, bringing everyone together and motivating players to be better. A manager oversees everything to make sure everything from S&C, skills coaching and nutrition among others are working effectively. They have the last decision on things. A coach’s responsibility is to help the players improve which in turn helps them to achieve results.

As time as went on we now have different coaches involved in set-ups. Before we would have one person that was coach and manager, at senior level now we have our goalkeeping coach, defence coach and a forwards coach. We also have our S&C coach off the field. Each position requires different coaching and the levels of professionalism involved now are mind-blowing at times.

A player may or may not like their coach or manager but it is important for players to remember that even a bad coach is someone you can learn from.

The worst coach I ever had taught me something that I still use to this day. There is always something to learn.

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