Steven Poacher

Steven Poacher – St Joseph’s coaching event not to be missed

COACHING is very much like teaching, where sharing good practice is an invaluable tool to have. You should never be afraid to learn from someone and to bounce ideas off each other. For me this is one of the most effective ways of learning.

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 on-going learning and reflection that helps coaches become who they are and also enhances their qualities.

For me, in the GAA there really should be more innovative, creative learning opportunities made available to coaches across the country and not just the standard national foundation and level awards.

In the last 10 years I have organised and hosted a coaching clinic in my former school St Columban’s and last year in Lismore with each year carrying a similar format. We have guest coaches deliver a couple of outdoor practical session to the observing coaches followed by an indoor session then finally concluding with an extremely informative question and answer session.

In the last couple of years, the feedback from coaches was fantastic, particularly about the format of the practical observational sessions and it’s been a huge success story with our most recent course last year having over 240 coaches attending.

That made it the largest attended coach education event in Ulster.

It was an extremely informative and insightful day from all over Ireland that would have benefited coaches at all levels of the game.

Learning opportunities though don’t have to take a similar format as the day we organised, they can be offered through workshops, sample sessions, interactive sessions (both indoor and outdoor), possible mentorship or even templates of individual sessions or bulk programmes.

There are a huge variety of ways in which coaches can gain the opportunities to learn, but the coaches must be willing and ready to learn, that’s critical.

I myself headed over to Newport Dragons last year during the summer for a number of days to spend some valuable time under the wing of Bernard Jackman.

I followed this up by taking in a matchday experience in their game against Ulster. I got to see first-hand what a professional set up entails and the learning experience was invaluable.

On Saturday, November 16 at my new school St Joseph’s High School in Newry, I am offering a unique opportunity for coaches who coach at any level in our game. It’s the school’s inaugural coach education clinic and will follow on from the events at St Columban’s and Lismore.

It promises to be the best one yet.

Bernard Jackman, pro rugby coach and current high performance consultant, will kickstart the day off with a keynote talk on building resilience in players.

This will be followed by two observational pitch sessions, delivered by current Monaghan and Meath coaches Conor Laverty and Colm Nally. Conor’s theme will focus on expanding a team’s offensive play and Colm, being the great innovator that he is, will focus on the importance of skill pollination. Both practical sessions will have a huge number of games and activities coaches can bring back to their sessions.

Last but not least, we will finish inside with a keynote talk from exercise and sportspsychologist Máire Treasa Ní Cheallaigh on the line you can’t cross, focusing her talk on controlling emotions on the sideline.

To date, the demand and response for the day has been phenomenal. To book a place on the day, please contact myself via text on 07779780919 or email me your name to

It’s £15 on the morning, it starts at 10am and proceeds will go towards helping the developing and promotion of Gaelic games in the school.

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