LGFA Gaelic4Teens Festival Day with ZuCar is a Huge Success

On May Bank Holiday Saturday, The Ladies Gaelic Football Association hosted the National Gaelic4Teens Festival Day with ZuCar in the impressive National GAA Games Development Centre in Abbottstown, Dublin.  Twenty-four clubs, over 600 players and over 100 coaches, participated on the day where players aged from 13-17 years and coaches were able to learn from some of the very best present and former players in the game including Fiona McHale (Mayo), Sinead Delahunty (Tipperary), Orlagh Farmer (Cork), Cassandra Buckley (Kerry), Emily Martin (Down), Jennifer Rogers (Westmeath) and Ann Marie O Donoghue (Kerry).

Prior to the festival day, the participating clubs were educated via a series of online coach education webinars on how best to deal with the much documented drop off age cohort between 13-17 years. The Gaelic4Teens programme, sponsored by ZuCar, is aimed at clubs as much as the players to help educate club coaches on the need and interests of teenage girls in sport. The festival day aimed to knit together all the learnings from the webinars and was an opportunity to demonstrate how a positive learning environment can assist with ensuring our players experience all the demands of the game and remain in love with our game.

From a psycho/social point of view, Orlagh Farmer and Fiona McHale conducted several team building games that promoted teamwork and communication. This provided players with an opportunity to forge new friendships with players from other clubs. Emily Martin demonstrated the importance of having the self-confidence to execute the skills of the game with real purpose. Emily went through some basic fun activities that the players can work on at home, before or after training or with their friends. Cassandra Buckley and Ann Marie O Donoghue practically demonstrated to players the importance of players having the functional and athletic ability to be able to move well to perform as an athlete to the best of their ability while Sinead Delahunty and Jennifer Rogers presented to the players on the importance of nutrition and hydration and having a balanced diet in a fun, practical way.

Finally, all players participated in a series of non-competitive small-sided games on the high-quality pitches in Abbottstown. These were no ordinary small, sided games as it was important to challenge the players and coaches from a tactical point of view. Therefore a series of conditions were applied to assist with player and coach development.

The Gaelic4Teens programme with ZuCar continues over the coming weeks and months with club visits, coach observer training and online webinars.

LGFA National Development Officer with a remit for Coach Education, William Harmon, said ‘We were very pleased to be leaders once again by providing an educational coaching programme that specifically targets players in their mid to late teens. There has been much discussion about the ‘drop-out’ age but we decided it was best to have a proactive approach to attracting and retaining players. We also realised that the emphasis of this programme needed to be on the clubs as much as the players. We have endeavoured to provide clubs with as much knowledge and practical advice as possible to enable them to retain these players that they have nurtured through their underage teams. We look forward to continuing our work with these clubs in the coming year and monitoring their progress as we look to roll out this programme on an annual basis. A huge thank you to all coordinators, referees, coaches, players and spectators for adding to a brilliant day.’



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