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Talking Sport

Kids being burned out by doing too much too soon

Stephen Glennon

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Talking Sport with Stephen Glennon

A Galway-based New Zealand coach has expressed concern at the huge fall-off in numbers playing team sports in their teens in Ireland and he says it is down to competition being introduced to children too early.

Indeed, former Titans National League Division 1 men’s basketball coach Matt Lint, who tutors children throughout all age groups, believes that, in some cases, children are being trained like adults. Consequently, by the time they reach their late teens, they are burned out.

Lint is an authority on such matters, with the coach active in promoting the LTAD – Long Term Athlete Development – philosophy, an ethos that is gathering momentum right across the globe, from Canada to his native New Zealand.

The premise of the LTAD philosophy is knowing what to teach, when to teach it and how to teach. It is a pathway of sports participation from cradle to grave and focuses on the ability of an athlete to move from one level to the next rather than progressing solely on their chronological age.

For instance, Lint explains: “One of the things we did with rugby a couple of decades ago in New Zealand was we changed it to weight rather than age. That was because we had these Samoan kids – 12 years old weighting 100 kilos – up against these ‘European’ kids, who, when they were tackled, were bounced out into the next field.”

He outlines that while both were of the same age, they had different needs when it came to developing their game. In addition, some players were more advanced than others, although the slow developer could go just as far in the sport. “LTAD is all about windows and if you don’t train somebody in the correct window, you are only going to have to go back or they may never fully develop.”

He stresses the eight to 13 age window is crucial and, to this end, Lint will be running a Summer programme, entitled ‘Don’t Weight Dads’, which begins on Tuesday (July 30) at Westside Community Centre.

The free initiative, under the guidance of HSE West, is a dual approach to educate adults and children on physical literacy and promote healthier weight and lifestyle. It also covers emotional, mental, personal, nutritional and lifestyle development.

This latest venture comes on the back of a successful programme run by HSE West and Titans two years ago. The ‘Bounce – Built to Move’ series was aimed at the equivalent age group and focused on many of the same issues.

“So, what happened, while I had the kids in the gym, the parents would be doing things on nutrition, on how to make meals and stuff like that, and we also did supermarket tours on what not to buy and reading labelling and understanding sugars, which I think is a huge one for kids. Parents should also understand the labelling of things.

“For example, if it is over 10g of sugar per 100g, it is not good. It if is under 10, it is good. You will find that some things labelled ‘low fat’ will have 17 or 18g [of sugar]. Take Special K, a cereal, which has a phenomenal amount of sugar.

“However, Special K is advertised as ‘she looks hot; she is fit’. Well, if she ate 300g of that every day, she will look more like a whale! It’s clever marketing though.”

Oversubscribed at the outset, 20 children started the ‘Bounce’ programme with 16 seeing out the 12-week series. Of those 16, 14 subsequently joined clubs, such as basketball and soccer. “So, we made that pathway for them to achieve that. That was very pleasing, that they had the confidence to do that.”

Since then, Lint, who has been spreading the word among schools and clubs, has been tweaking the programme. Based on research, one area identified has been that fathers have more control over the habits and activities of their children than a coach and, as a result, the ‘Don’t Weight Dads’ programme looks to ensure fathers have the right information to hand when offering guidance to their offspring.

“They have got to know how to train a child in dexterity, speed, agility and balance – and all through fun and games so the kids don’t realise that those are the motors they are exercising. If you do that, particularly in that nine to 12 age window, a child can be equally good left and right handed, as long as you do it during that window. They can be ambidextrous.”

The upshot of the LTAD approach is that children will be more confident in pursuing their sporting goals but, more importantly, will embrace a love of physical activity that will serve them until late in life. “You have to keep kids active for life, rather than just until their 16. The drop off is huge at that age in Ireland,” observes Lint.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Connacht raise the roof again with magnificent late heroics

John McIntyre

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Claregalway's Dara Whelan, Conor Flaherty, Barry Callanan and Dylan Buckley with the Padraig Stephens Cup after their County U20 A Football Final victory over Salthill-Knocknacarra at Duggan Park on Saturday. Photo: Enda Noone.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

THE dramatic finale at the Sportsground on Saturday ought to have made the RTE Six One News sporting headlines, but there wasn’t a mention of Connacht’s extraordinary late heroics against Gloucester which keeps the province’s hopes of reaching the European Champions Cup quarter-finals alive.

Instead, the rugby spotlight was on Munster’s away defeat to champions Saracens. Later during the sports segment on the Six One News, Connacht’s never-say-die comeback was relegated to the last match of the Champions Cup wrap up. RTE, in their wisdom, believed that Munster’s 15-6 loss and Leinster’s routing of a makeshift Northampton on the same day were somehow more meritorious.

If Leinster or Munster had achieved what Connacht did in the latest round of European pool matches, can you imagine how gushing RTE’s coverage would have been? When a Tipperary man with a strong GAA background starts taking offence over Connacht not getting the coverage they are entitled to, it does give an insight into why rugby in the West feels hard done by in terms of national acclaim.

For all that, last Saturday was another thumping experience on College Road. With their European Championship knock-out ambitions on the line, it was victory or bust for Caolin Blade and company. But when Connacht trailed by 24-13 with less than six minutes remaining, it was impossible to see how they could salvage a result.

A pragmatic Gloucester already had the four-try bonus point in the bag. They may have trailed 10-7 at the break having faced the elements, but  tries from Mark Atkinson (two) and captain Lewis Ludlow turned the game on its head. Connacht were remaining competitive but the breaks were going the way of a team they had never previously beaten.

The home fans in the crowd of 6,800 were understandably resigned to the worst. The yellow carding of Ludlow for a deliberate knock on meant Gloucester were reduced to 14 for the closing minutes, but nobody at the Sportsground thought much of it. Connacht were 11 points behind with time running out. They needed a miracle.

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Connacht Tribune

Being backed into a corner could help to ignite the Galway hurlers

John McIntyre

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Galway full back Daithí Burke giving Wexford's Paul Morris no quarter during Sunday's Leinster hurling championship clash at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

MICHEÁL Donoghue faces the biggest challenge of his management career so far after Galway’s latest subdued display of 2019 at Pearse Stadium last Sunday. A lot of the same personnel are still there from the team’s magnificent All-Ireland triumph of two years, but the form of a number of influential players has nose-dived since last September’s championship loss to Limerick.

After a late collapse against Waterford in the National League quarter-final, Galway had some questions to answer ahead of their Leinster campaign and not withstanding their significant injury problems over the past few months, the Tribesmen’s stock has continued to decline judging by this month’s displays against both Carlow and Wexford.

Though it’s far from a full-blown crisis and we must keep a sense of perspective, there’s no point being wise after the event. On the evidence of what have seen to date this summer, Galway are dicing with an unexpected premature exit from the championship unless the squad can rediscover the hunger, intensity and quality which characterised many of their performances in 2017.

The continued absence of Joe Canning – and it is a mighty blow – can’t explain everything. Sure, Daithí Burke, Joseph Cooney, Jonathan Glynn, Adrian Tuohey and John Hanbury, an important introduction against Wexford, remain short of competitive action, but as a package, Galway should still be better than this.

Failing to find the net against either Carlow or Wexford, together with the lack of fluency and sharpness, has some local alarm bells ringing, leaving the team management with plenty to ponder on ahead of Sunday week’s big collision with Kilkenny. Lose that and Galway’s season will hang on getting a result at Parnell Park – an unforgiving venue at the best of times.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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CITY TRIBUNE

St Thomas’ man behind the scenes typifies why club is going so strong

Stephen Glennon

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The St. Thomas' management celebrate after their county SHC final victory over Liam Mellows. Left to right: Kenneth Larkin, Claude Geoghegan, Kevin Lally and TJ Ryan.

Talking Sport with Stephen Glennon

WHAT was meant to be a few minutes of soundbite ahead of St. Thomas’ All-Ireland senior club hurling semi-final clash against Cushendall on Saturday has metamorphosed into a full-scale Talking Sport interview. Simply, because, Claude Geoghegan is an interesting guy.

For the past decade, Geoghegan has been the man behind the scenes and in his own inimitable way he has contributed just as much to St. Thomas’s success story as anybody else in Kilchreest and Peterswell. Perhaps, even more so.

As club secretary, he presided over St. Thomas’ historic county and All-Ireland club victories in the 2012/2013 season while, in the past three years, he has served as selector under managers John Burke and Kevin Lally, winning a county senior crown with each in 2016 and 2018 respectively. It is a proud record.

“I have held a few positions alright over the best part of a decade now — four or five years as secretary — and this is my third year involved now with the senior team. It is a way of life, I suppose, more than anything else,” begins the 31-year-old.

“When you are from a rural locality, it is what you are brought up with. It is what you know. If I wasn’t involved in the club in some capacity, I would feel I had a bit too much spare time on my hands. I would feel a bit odd without it, being honest.”

A history teacher at Presentation College, Athenry, Geoghegan explains his family are steeped in GAA tradition. His father Seamus hurled with the club before managing the intermediate team, as it was back then, while his older brother James has also done his duty as club secretary.

“Also, when the club amalgamated in 1968, my father was on the U14 team that won the county championship that year. We actually haven’t won the ‘A’ championship at U14 since. We have won plenty, but not that.”

Indeed, three SHC county titles in the last seven years would suggest that St. Thomas’ is a very special club but Geoghegan argues they are no different to any of the other clubs around. “Every other club is putting in the time that we are putting in. We are not special in any way in comparison to anyone else but we are incredibly fortunate to have a special group of players who have come together at one time.”

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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