“Amazing things can be achieved when no one gets the credit” according to former Meath manager Mick O’Dowd

Back row from left to right: Ruairi Murphy & Kate Feeney (Meath LSP), Mick O’Dowd, Sheelagh Quinn, Liam Moggan, Margo Finnegan & Paul Friel (Meath LSP). Pictured at the front are coaches Rosabelle Welsh and Nora Maguire (Kentstown/Beauparc Community Games), Aisling Clarke & Roisin Clarke (St. Ultan’s GAA) Murt Donnelly (Castletown GAA), & Lizzie Broderick (Donoughmore/Ashbourne GAA).

“Amazing things can be achieved when no one gets the credit” according to former Meath manager Mick O Dowd.

Former Meath Manager and current Skryne underage girls football coach Mick O’ Dowd joined Liam Moggan (Sport Psychologist and former Coaching Ireland Coach educator) and Sheelagh Quinn (Manager of the Coaching Ireland, Coaching Children in Sport programme) on stage at the Meath Local Sports Partnership`s  Coaching Children in Sport workshop held in the Ardboyne hotel last week.

The evening began with Sheelagh Quinn from Coaching Ireland setting the scene as to the current challenges in children’s sport in Ireland today. A staggering 19% of primary school children and 12% of post primary school children only, meet the national physical activity guidelines and these proportions have not improved since 2004. As a result, Coaching Ireland believes that “Sport gives us the potential to develop children beyond the pitch, swimming pool or court and with proper coaching in sport; it can help slowly reverse these inactivity patterns”.

Mick O’Dowd is currently coaching with the under 8’s and 10’s girls football in Skryne GAA club. As a well known senior football manager, Mick has learned that “children are not small adults” and the language you use when instructing and coaching is extremely important as children respond differently to various use of words. Terminology such as “mark your man” can mean so many different things to children without proper explanation.  Mick summarised by stating that as coaches, “amazing things can be achieved when no one gets the credit”. In many of his girl’s teams there is no captain and every child feels they have an important part to play as no one individual is singled out for praise or credit. This resonated with many of the club coaches in attendance on the night.

The key note Speaker, Liam Moggan, is the current Sport Psychologist with the Kildare footballers and has extensive experience with countless teams and individuals both nationally and internationally over a long career. Liam believes that as coaches, “we should all get to know the children we coach, know their story, know their background – learn their personality. It`s this personality which makes that child different from all others”. He went on to say that “coaching is difficult, it’s hard from day 1 but we do it for the love of the sport and the children”.

Of particular note was Liam’s examples of the emotion he observed at a recent children’s cross country event in Waterford. “the passion, the laughter, the tears” all makes coaching worthwhile. As each child has different developmental needs, Liam reiterated that “the great coaches coach people, the good coaches coach sport”. The theme of focusing on the child, their “story” and “getting to know the person” carried through Liam’s talk as he really dug deep into the Coaching Ireland slogan for the Coaching Children in Sport programme of “each and every child”.

Paul Friel (Senior Sports Development Officer with Meath LSP) thanked all of the speakers on the night, the MC – David Sheehan and the club coaches who attended.

As a continuance of this seminar, Meath LSP will be rolling out Coaching Children in Sport workshops in 2018. There are 4 workshops – each 3 hours in duration & will focus on the fundamentals of movement and fundamentals of games in Children’s Sport. These workshops will better enable coaches to identify individual children’s needs in a sporting context and how to improve performance based on these needs.

For further details please contact Paul Friel on 046-9067337 or email paul.friel@meathcoco.ie

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