Official TFK GAA Coaches Corner


No. The average age was 22. I might also add it was the toughest minor championship played in a decade.


But thats what the article is saying.
And it was Mark that shared it.

However i am sharing to create debate and facilitate a broader view for people. Its not that i agree with every word. There is alot of research suppirting allowing self organizing to happen. Takes alot of skill and practice as a coach. And bravery.

I think the ligical way to adjust is to phase out drills and technical stuff and slowly add games.

With kids in hurling is the obvioys debate here.

So i would suggest bat games, bean bags, small hurleys, one handed batting games keeping ball off ground.
Show them the ideal grip and then create fun games that will intrinsically motivate them to maintain that grip.
Then get them to design games themselves. This will help the lads/lassies who find it easier.

So i don’t believe that allowing “self-organising” thus learning, should happen purely by “playing the game” as there is still the drop out/confidence/dominant issues. But i would develop A game to produce the holding the hurley etc.

Do most people now use the tiny hurleys? If not thats a problem.


Yup, agree with that.

In fairness, I really only breezed thru the article, but it seemed to make the assumption all thru that the player finds the solution themselves and that you shouldn’t correct them for the sake of it. If it works, there is no need to change them up. But that’s a huge assumption that it does work.

I only use the small one hand hurls with our under 6s. And bean bags. Large soft sliothars for batting and further balancing games. Doesn’t help us when other clubs want to play challenge games, but longer term I feel it will help them more. Plus it means they are all at the same level, rather than the bigger or older ones who can play dominating.


What you are essentually trying to avoid is forcing technique or even it being iver emphasized and coaches wasting sessions getting 1 or 2 lads better.

Even at self organising some just may not get it.
I realise in a rural area its hard and chouces are limited, but sometimes other spirts are the best optiins for kids.

What you want to avoid is fellas hammering kids for “poor technique” and losing them to the game.

I would suggest in some cases playing with other groups within a club may facikitate some learning and development as well.

And i wouldn’t be afraid to use the small hurlers older. For fun games, dexterity etc.


And like Mark says, its about them learning not you coaching


Again, nothing I’d disagree with there. And even rural areas can take to it too. You would still have the older former players saying they never had bean bags etc, but what it does do is encourage parents with no gaa background to get involved as no prior experience or playing ability is needed. So it widens the net, which is most important.


And i find those parents can be very useful for finding games etc.

Its like i said to you before. Dxplain it to them in a way that makes sense.

Rounders + Olympic Handball + big tag + dodgeball + hopscotch = hurling

They can get their heads around games.

Put rounders with days you are working on striking as your warm up game

And so on.


In Gaa terms. How long should a coach stay with a team in juv teams.


That really is a million dollar question.

I think generally 2-3 years.

Although again a rural club may not have the luxury


As long as the expenses are there, or as soon as you’re found out to be a spoofer. That’s kevs experience of it anyway.


Yeah. In rural clubs its parents who are coaching & tend to stay with their child up the ages. In some clubs coaches tend to jump onto a good team. I personally would prefer to work with an average team with potential to become a good team & see their improvement. This year I worked with an U-16 team & won an A grade hurling county but has potential to be a great team going forward. We finished County Final with 2 U-14 and 3 U-13 on the team.


Have 4 years done with the lads I’m currently with. I’d say they need a change now . A very good bunch of lads but after 4 years I’ve found it a bit stale and samey this year. “They know it all” at times but that could be a lot to do with the age group as well. Most 16 year olds are arseholes(In the best sense of the word :grinning:). Finding someone to take over in smaller clubs is the issue as you say.


Ya there is cycles.

But its great you recognise it yourself.

Sometines the big thing is to quit while winning.

  1. They get freshened up
  2. So do you
  3. You don’t get addicted to the winning and they get a bew vouce which will hopefully bring them on another bit that even if you were a better coach you may not be able to get out of them.
  4. They will appreciate you even more.


Ya my finest work is still with a group who played 1 game of football at u16. We got them at 17 and the team the tear behind them only ayed 3 games or something. We got them to 3 minor finals. Lost them all but more if that team played Adult 1st grade (Prem Int) than any other team in club recebt history over 20 years. Teams that made Premier Finals.

People had given up on them cos they were hard work.

Walking away after winning can be a good thing.

However i would suggest u16 to Minor is no harm to have same coaches. Stability big help there


Kev, I have a group of 50 x u7. Lots of willing parents helping out and most of them are very good but only 2 of us have played the game before. There are 7-8 players using the incorrect grip. .I have tried a mixture of coaxing, explaining, modified games with no success. I am wary of forcing it too much and turning them off but I also feel they will not achieve their full potential with a cack grip.

What do you think?


Jesus, where to start? 50😂

Can i ask how do ye structure your training as of now?

As in from rocking in the gate?


6 X stations. 3 x Hurling and 3 x Football. Approx 8 x Kids and 2 x Coaches per station. Kids rotate every 12 minutes or so. Coaches stay at the same station. Stations would be a mixtures of Fun Games, Conditioned games and skill drills concentrating on technique. It sounds like a logistical nightmare and it was at the beginning but it runs smoothly enough now.

I’m interested in your thoughts on the hurling grip? I feel a correct grip is very important but am struggling to change kids without being too overbearing.


Glue their hands to the hurley with the right grip.


Ok the question is,
Is the present grip a particular problem for them all?
If it is put good lads with them and make them the coaches for a little bit.
No certainty of working but it might trigger one or two.

Also go backwards. Maybe the whole thing went too fast for them? Thats often the issue. Again pick out a few handy but relatively mature/easy going lads and group them. Go back to small hurleys, bean bags etc.

1 step back may be 2 forward.

And then you have tried. You have corrected, looked at areas you may have rushed them or whatever and held you hands up looking for a solution. There may not be one for a handful. Let them off. You mught even find one or two of these change themselves as they have intrinsic motivation to remain hurling. Its important to them.
Some of them it simply isn’t and you could be wasting good lads time as well.

I would suggest grouping 3-4 good lads with each one in a group. And give it 4 sessions.
4 sessions seems to be the magic number for anything to click. I see it in everything. Tegular people in the gym stryggling with technique - 4 sessions. Kids with a new skill - 4 sessions. Adukts with a new tactic - 4 sessions.
Always seems to take 4 for oennys to drop. Not saying expert, just that you see you are on right track.


That’s a good idea. I used to scrape an X and an O onto the back of their hands with a rusty nail, it’s scars them for life so they’ll never forget which hand is the one on top