What a great start to the season. We look back at all the excitement from the annual Liberty Insurance GAA Games Development Conference which took place in Croke Park on Jan 22th – 23rd.
All the news from the 2016 GAA Games Development Conference
This year’s theme was ‘The Coach, The Game, The Player: Building Connections’, with a particular focus on the needs and issues facing coaches of adult players.
To sum up, success breeds success
The conference gave attendees the opportunity to network with fellow coaches from all 32 counties as well as coaches from the US, Poland, France, Belgium, England, Scotland and Holland. Delegates were duly rewarded with a great speaker line-up, including All-Ireland winning hurling coach Eamonn O’Shea, All-Ireland winning football captain Bryan Cullen, and acclaimed neuroscientist and psychologist Ian Robertson.
Professor Robertson gave a fascinating talk entitled ‘The Winning Effect’, which described how one success can alter your brain chemistry and lead you on to even more victories. To sum up, ‘success breeds success’.
The National Dairy Council delivered a sports nutrition seminar presented by Dr Sharon Madigan, Head of Performance Nutrition at the Irish Institute of Sport; and Dr Bryan Cullen, High Performance Manager for Dublin GAA and a former Dublin footballer. This fascinating seminar addressed the myths and mixed messages around nutrition and athletic performance.
Other notable sessions included Eamonn O’Shea who gave an insider’s view into what goes on in the mind of a top coach: “You have to be open. You have to be confident. And, you have to let the players see the human being behind the coach.” This sentiment was echoed by Laois’ Ross Munnelly:
You have to be open. You have to be confident. And, you have to let the players see the human being behind the coach.
stand back and reflect on what’s working and what isn’t working and to see what the issues are.
Following the conference, speaker Liam Hennessey, exercise physiologist, strength and conditioning coach and former international pole vaulter, said that the conference reflected the desire within the GAA to “stand back and reflect on what’s working and what isn’t working and to see what the issues are”. This, he felt, is the opposite of many other sports, where there is often a reluctance to face up to these issues, which is something the GAA should be commended for.
All in all, a very successful Games Development conference in GAA HQ which has us eagerly anticipating another exciting season of Championship action.
For an overview of the conference, you can watch a summary video here, where plenty more speaker interviews and full presentations will be posted shortly.