Steven Poacher

Steven Poacher: Don’t cover your homework, let’s learn together

Coaching should be about qualifications

CONTINUED Professional Development (CPD) is something that is encouraged and embraced in the teaching profession, and I feel it is something that is not encouraged enough in coaching.

Personally I don’t think coaching should be about qualifications or letters after your name, far from it, but coaches should be encouraged to learn and value learning.

Qualifications and a nice certificate are all well and good, but it’s the learning that helps coaches become who they are and also enhances their quality. It allows them to bring back a world of ideas to their own team environment.

One man in Gaelic football who is not reluctant when it comes to sharing and learning is Louth man and current Meath coach Colm Nally.

Colm has been a breath of fresh air on social media. In a GAA world where so many coaches adopt a cover-your-homework type policy, Colm is the complete opposite. He is very comfortable and content to share various games, drills, and priceless pieces of coaching advice freely.

Just this week, a copy of Colm’s new book landed through the post box. The book is titled ‘Games Based Training Sessions for Gaelic Football.’ This is the second book Colm has released into the world of GAA coaching and there are very few books like it.

The last book I would have used for resources within Gaelic football was that from the great John Morrison. John’s books ‘Game Sense’ and ‘Advanced Game Sense’ were a must-read for any coach. I remember collecting my copy of the book (I still have it) and John had scribed the words “good luck on your coaching journey Stevie, remember players won’t care what you know until they know you care.”

Men like John and Colm are an invaluable resource in our game, and the time they give to offer others ideas, and help spread good practice is truly admirable. Any coach out there looking an extra edge or a few little coaching jewels needs to be sure to get their hands on this book.

The book contains a number of great warm-up ideas, all football related and all relevant. It also includes some excellent goalkeeper resources and ideas and has 20 full football sessions, each session containing a number of specific activities related to a specific aspect of our games. For example, break ball, maximising scoring opportunities or effective defending. Everything is covered.

Within each football session there are key coaching points and top coaching tips from Colm. There is also an RPE rating for each session, which means a rating of perceived exertion. In other words, how hard players taking part in these particular sessions rated them. Colm’s book is very easy on the eye with the coloured diagrams very easily understood, but it’s the various pages of other coaching info that really stands out.

Examples include five ways we take information on board, the benefits and why we should perform a dynamic warm-up, creating your own coaching language, the theory of two (extremely interesting) about how long it takes to ingrain learning into your players.

There are also sections on playing as you train, pitch templates to assist your coaching, game reflection templates, and brilliant informative information on benefits of good nutrition. There are also notes on the importance of using the gym, but the mental gym!

Colm is currently the Meath senior football team coach and he is more than accommodating when any coach is looking guidance or advice.

He is easy to find on social media and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed scanning through his latest book and look forward to trying out some of his excellent ideas in training in the near future.

Sharing is learning and the greatest resource we have as coaches is each other.

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