Optimists will always look for the positive and one such from the enforced downtime in sport is to reimagine the way things can be in the future.
Last week, the GAA, the Ladies Gaelic Football Association the Camogie Association revealed the fruits of some of that thinking with the announcement of a new and exciting Gaelic Games Player Pathway.
This is the first time at a national level that all three associations across the Gaelic Games ‘family’ have an aligned pathway and vision for player development.
The Gaelic Games Player Pathway aims to fulfil the mission of the three Associations to address elitism in underage development, make quality coaching within clubs a lynchpin and to provide an opportunity for lifelong participation in the games for every player, regardless of their ability.
The announcement reinforces the commitment and joint approach to Games Development from all three Associations and builds on previous collaborations such as Go Games, Féile, Volunteer Training, the recently-launched ‘Be Ready to Play’ and the Introduction to Coaching Gaelic Games Course, which will be launched very soon.
At club level, the four codes have tended to be managed and promoted on a broadly equal footing and this is a case where good outcomes have been delivered from a ground-up approach.
Extending the formal agreement between the three associations was acknowledged as a casualty of the disruption caused last year but this is proof that that is being seen to in a very real, practical manner.
“The Gaelic Games Player Pathway is the result of several years of careful work and planning that is designed to give every player the chance to have the best experience possible from their involvement in Gaelic games,” said GAA president Larry McCarthy.
“All of our players are club players; and so it is vital that we put the club at the heart of our player development pathway and ensure that whatever road your playing career takes, that it is something positive and that the club in turn benefits.”
“Aligning this work across the GAA, LGFA and Camogie will embed this philosophy throughout Gaelic games coaching with a culture that nurtures the Person as much as the Player.”
“This exciting programme will help greatly to foster and enhance a culture of participation and enjoyment for all of our players,” added LGFA President Micheál Naughton.
“You may be a player who is fortunate to line out for your county on All-Ireland Final day – or you may be a player who’s in our sport simply for participation and enjoyment.”
“There is no distinction to be made here – it’s about playing our sport because you enjoy it, and being encouraged to play.”
“The core and heart of this new pathway is that it is player-centred and club-centred,” said Camogie Association President Kathleen Woods.
“This new pathway facilitates the development of all players at all levels from participation to performance.”
“The underpinning philosophy of the Gaelic Games Player Pathway is to support players with the right environment, at the right time of development through coaching, education and developing their athletic and personal capacities as they grow.”
There is no rocket science involved but in preparing to create the best pathway for young players coming through, backed up by volunteer and coach education that has always been central to Gaelic Games delivery at local level, the games will emerge stronger.
Sport for Business Partners