Steven Poacher

Steven Poacher: Advance your coaching knowledge

ALL GAA coaches and managers are always looking for that extra edge, searching for that latest training craze or fad, touring the country to seminars, conferences and courses in pursuit of an increase to their coaching knowledge. That’s especially the case in the off-season.

On Saturday, November 14 in St Joseph’s, Newry, I will give you that opportunity with my now annual and highly-renowned ‘St Joseph’s GAA Coaching Clinic.’

With the breaking news this week of the closing down of the GAA club season, the school season still unclear and county football more than likely to be severely disrupted, it’s an opportunity for coaches at all levels to take a step back and reflect on their own coaching and that of the coaching within their clubs.

Some clubs have been contacting me about coming in and doing coach education workshops with their underage coaches over the winter, a subject (coach education) that is very close to my heart and a drum I have been beating in this column for a long time.

If you can get a clearly defined pathway to senior football established within your club along with an emphasis on development, upskilling the coaches in the club in the process, you give yourself a brilliant platform to build from as a club.

For me, these days are not just brilliant and crucial fundraisers for our school but they are unbelievable days for networking with other coaches from other clubs and counties and sharing the fantastic knowledge we all possess.

The structure of the clinic will be a little different this year due to Covid restrictions and the normal indoor session will now be replaced. Instead there will three practical outdoor themes demonstrated by a panel of players for coaches to observe.

I will take the first of the practical sessions. I am currently coaching our Down minor footballers and I will be delivering a session titled ‘setting the tone with the warm-up.’

This will include a number of game-related drills that coaches can incorporate into their warm-up, including all the basic skills of the game and a number of game-based activities to bring players up to match speed.

Sometimes coaches like to vary their warm-ups and it’s an area I get a lot of questions and requests about. This will be a unique 30-minute session where I will provide you with a host of ideas to take back to your own warm-ups.

The second outdoor pitch session will be delivered by the Ulster-winning former Monaghan management team of Malachy O’Rourke and Ryan Porter, one of the most successful duos in Gaelic football over the last decade.

The two men will deliver the sessions titled ‘effective tackling’ and ‘games-based scenarios.’ This will offer coaches a wealth of ideas to bring home to their respective schools, clubs and counties.

The final pitch session will be delivered by Carlow All-Star nominee Paul Broderick, one of the most accomplished placed-ball kickers in the game.

Paul will deliver a session on ‘maximising the art of free-taking.’ Paul has a wealth of knowledge and coaching drills to share and this will include a session based on physical and mental crutches for reducing the pressure on must-make frees, adjusting styles to suit the environment on the day and extending your comfort zone.

The event is open to coaches of any age level be it school, club or county or any code as the games and drills on show will be easily transferrable to both camogie and hurling.

The day commences at 10am on the Saturday, November 14 and the cost is £10 or 15euro, which can be made payable on the day. That includes a takeaway soup and an information booklet with sample training sessions.

It’s certainly going to be an information-packed morning not to be missed and proceeds from the day will go towards helping the development of GAA within the school.

Also worth noting is that those attending on the day must adhere to social distancing laws while observing the outdoor sessions.

My event is now in its 12th year and has grown from 57 coaches back in 2009 to the record 340 that showed up last year, making it one of the largest coach education events in Ireland.

It’s something that leaves me very proud to be associated with, especially as the event is now based in my home town of Newry which is easily accessible for those travelling from near and far.

For more information or to confirm a place, please either text (07779780919) or mail You can also contact me on Twitter at @stevie_poacher.

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