Kilgannon has innovative approach when it comes to coaching children

Paul Kilgannon's book, Coaching Children in Sport, will be launched at the Claregalway Hotel on Friday, November 16,at 7pm.
Paul Kilgannon's book, Coaching Children in Sport, will be launched at the Claregalway Hotel on Friday, November 16,at 7pm.

Talking Sport with Stephen Glennon

FOR a man being interviewed, coach and author Paul Kilgannon asks as many questions as he answers but, he explains, that is the nature of his debut book, ‘Coaching Children in Sport’, which will be launched at the Claregalway Hotel on Friday, November 16, at 7pm.

Well-known in GAA circles, in the past decade, Kilgannon – a primary school teacher by profession, working in Bushypark National School – coached Carnmore hurlers at senior level before managing Claregalway footballers to the county intermediate title last year.

One aspect of his book Kilgannon, who also coaches children and teens, wishes to stress from the off is that this is “not another book of drills” but rather focuses on the development of the child and the young player through his own coaching model, the CARVER Framework.

The fundamentals of the CARVER acronym are: Connection, Awareness, Research, Values (and Visions), Endorsing and Reflection. Kilgannon believes the whole subject of coaching children is “not looked at deeply enough”, adding children’s coaching is mostly defined by drills or movements.

“People look at it from the perspective of ‘give me a few drills’ and off we go,” begins Kilgannon, who insists children’s coaching should even go beyond the dynamic of uniting the collective, in that it should be enabling young players to “connect with individuals” and “to become self-aware”.

As a coach educator working with children, Kilgannon has seen a need to put something down on paper and, to this end, he has probed a little bit more deeply into his subject matter in the last three years.

“It started as a philosophical book on the potential of coaching in sport initially,” he continues, “and then it changed into something more practical. So, it would be a guide to building a coaching world and to the process of continued improvement. That would be the concept behind it.

“Coaching, like teaching, is really a confidence profession and I always say it is very hard to jump out of a truck and go coaching kids – or anything else like that. So, the idea behind this is to ask questions of the coach, such as how do we pull the player out of the child?”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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