‘The more you coach, the more you realise that nobody cares about your formulas’

SHANE KEEGAN IS joined by a two-time All-Star on the latest instalment of How To Win At Dominoes.

Clíodhna O’Connor, Dublin’s goalkeeper during their 2010 All-Ireland Senior Ladies’ Football Championship triumph, is the guest for the third episode of the second season of The42‘s coaching podcast.

Since hanging up her gloves, O’Connor has honed her coaching expertise through various roles across club and inter-county GAA.

Having been involved with Cuala for their back-to-back All-Ireland victories of 2017 and ’18, the Naomh Mearnóg woman has been working under Mattie Kenny again by serving as athletic performance coach for the Dublin senior hurlers.

She’s also currently undertaking a PhD in elite performance sport at Dublin City University, but O’Connor was keen to stress that when it comes to coaching, striking a balance between theory and practice is essential.

“To make sure you’re on the right track you kind of have to have both,” she said. “You get asked for advice from young sports scientists who are doing all sorts of degrees in strength and conditioning or coaching or whatever, and my first questions would always be: are you coaching and who are you coaching?

“Coach the U12s or anybody you can get your hands on, because you learn a huge amount in those environments and it’s really important. It’s probably a skill-set that people forget about. ‘I have all the knowledge and of course I can just communicate it’, but it’s not always as easy as that.

“Hands up, I would have made the same mistake. When you learn all that knowledge first and you think you have to show people that you know all this stuff, you end up vomiting loads of stuff at players that they don’t care about. They don’t care about force-velocity curves or biomechanics. ‘I can get the ball and I can kick it in the net’ – that’s what they care about.

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“The more you coach, the more you realise that nobody cares about your formulas. They just want to know how many times they have to run from that cone to the other cone, just tell me that.”

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