Ladies Gaelic Football Association tackles female teenage retention in Sport

AS a result of extensive research undertaken by the LGFA with clubs, the innovative Gaelic4Teens programme was developed. The programme, which is in its second year, aims to help clubs retain 15-17 year olds, an age group that has been associated with a very high drop-out rate not only for Ladies Football but sport in general.

Following an open application process the Ladies Gaelic Football Association was provided with the challenging task to select 15 clubs for the programme.

The 15 clubs selected were: Latton (Monaghan), Dromintee (Armagh), Tattyreagh (Tyrone), Killygarry (Cavan), Four Roads and Elphin (Roscommon), Kilmeena (Mayo), St. Molaise (Sligo), Burren Gaels (Clare), Cappawhite (Tipperary), Noamh Abhan (Cork), Clonard/Volunteers (Wexford), Erin Go Bragh, Noamh Mearnóg (Dublin) and Baile Dubhtire (Wexford).

The programme involves three contact days and will work closely with coaches, with the aim to influence the content of their coaching sessions as well as establishing the best ways for coaches to communicate with their players.

The research that prompted the development of the Gaelic4Teens programme revealed that players play for enjoyment, to keep fit and healthy, to relieve stress and because their friends also play. The reasons highlighted for giving up the sport are that they don’t get enough playing time, there is no fun at training, that it is too competitive and that they are treated differently.

Day one of the programme took place Saturday 25th February in NUI Maynooth. Programme ambassador Cliodhna O Connor was on hand to present on topics such as talent development, body image and confidence as well as long term athlete development. A practical demonstration with special emphasis on how coaches coach and how they should engage with their players and provided simple ideas on how these can be applied in your everyday coaching sessions.

Clubs left equipped with plenty of new ideas and enthused to try something new within their clubs over coming weeks.

Next up will be day 2 of the programme which will take place on Saturday 7th April in the same venue where Gealic4Teens Ambassador Orlagh Farmer will present to the group covering areas such as lifestyle planning and team dynamics etc. In addition, more practical ideas will be demonstrated on the day.

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