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Steven Poacher

Steven Poacher: Huge learning opportunities at St Joseph’s Coaching Day!

COACHING is very much like teaching; 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 ongoing learning and reflection that helps coaches become who they are and also enhances their quality.

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 12 years I have organised and hosted a Coaching Clinic in my former school St Columban’s and last year pre-covid we carried a similar format in St Joseph’s Newry, my current school.

At the event we invite guest coaches to deliver a couple of outdoor practical session to the observing coaches followed by an indoor session. Then finally we conclude with an extremely informative question and answering session. Unfortunately this year we will not be inside at all.

In the last couple of years, the feedback from coaches was fantastic, particularly about the format of the practical observational sessions. It’s been a huge success story with our most recent course pre-covid having over 340 coaches attending, making it the largest attended Coach Education event in Ulster and one of the largest in Ireland.

It was an extremely informative and insightful day from all over Ireland which 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 & 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 absolutely critical.

I myself headed over to Newport Dragons a few years back during the summer for a number of days to spend some valuable time under the wing of Bernard Jackman. I followed this up by attending a match day experience in their game v Ulster and getting to see first-hand what a professional set up is like. The learning experience was invaluable. For me the greatest resource we have as coaches is each other!

I am offering a unique opportunity for coaches who coach at any level in our game. On Saturday 23rd October, St Joseph’s High School Newry, will host the annual Coach Education Clinic, simply a follow on from the previous hugely successful St Columban’s Clinic and Lismore, and this year promises to be another fantastic event!

Former Down Senior Coach and current development squad coach Benny Coulter will kick start the day presenting a pitch session on “setting the tone in the warm-up.”

Benny’s huge experience from his playing days and more recently from his hugely successful period coaching will undoubtedly be full of coaching nuggets.

This will be followed by former AFL star and current Down U20 Ulster-winning coach Martin Clarke who will deliver a theme “Getting a handle on the Ball.”

In this session Martin will look at ways to develop an elite first touch and how to raise standards of skill execution.

Finally, current Armagh Senior Football coach Ciaran McKeever will deliver a session theme “Conditioning Mind & Body through small sided games.”

Ciaran is one of the most innovative coaches in Ulster and will show coaches ways to develop thinking players and make decisions under pressure.

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 stevepoacher@hotmail.com. Its £10 on the morning, it is all outside due to Covid and it starts at 10am and proceeds will go towards helping the developing and promotion of Gaelic Games in the school.

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