Sunday 22 September 2019

It's Fundamental!

WORDS: Elaine Furlong PICTURES: Pat O'connor

HAVING BEEN introduced to the Wexford Senior Footballers, GAA players and coaches across the country as well as the IRFU, the importance of fundamental movements in sport is now being embraced by Rathnure GAA Club to maximise player potential.

The club is currently engaged with Brendan Bolger of FUNdamental Success to create a more child-centred approach to sports in a bid to bring about a new level of fun to games and remove any fear of failure.

With fundamental movements often neglected at underage level to the detriment of children's physical development, the FUNdamental Success programme works on children's agility, balance and co-ordination from a very young age.

' We work on developing the whole child in coaching sessions so all children are catered for, included, challenged and valued and they can progress at their own rate,' explained Brendan.

' The emphasis is taken away from the coach. It is about children taking responsibility to decide their actions...The sport was the master and the child was the servant, now we're saying the child must be the master and the sport be the servant,' he added. ' The biggest thing about the programme is that it is fun. Children love it. It's enjoyable and they are included at all times'.

Brendan, a teacher from The Rower, was introduced to the FUNdamental Success programme while studying a professional development course in relation to fundamental movements in children.

UK based Sports Coach, Ronnie Heath, who has won awards for Outstanding Achievement in Coach Education for London and titles such as England's Basketball Coach of the Year and National Trainer for sports coach UK, blew Brendan 'out of the water' with his work.

'I spent two days working with him and they were worth more than four years in university,' said Brendan. 'It changed my whole approach to PE, it made me realise how I was taking for granted many things in my sport and PE teaching. We often assume children can do some things and not others but this whole programme shows how to cater for every child.'

Brendan brought the FUNdamental Success programme to Ireland in January to deliver training to sports coaches of all sports and teachers of PE.

Rathnure GAA Club is the first club Brendan has worked with in delivering this programme and according to Leinster GAA Coach Damien Quigley from the club the programme is being met with an enthusiastic response.

The club is looking at taking on this coach education programme for a number of years to bring about long term athletic development in its members.

According to Damien Quigley, Rathnure GAA Club started a nursery last October for four to eight years old children in Rathnure and this FUNdamental Success programme aims to concentrate on fundamental movements in these children before they start playing more structured GAA games.

Brendan explained that the sessions involve working on children's fundamental movements before moving onto playing games in an environment where children decide everything.

' There is a huge amount of communication and it breaks down barriers and yet everyone is on task,' explained Brendan. ' This programme aims to build up children's confidence and reduce children's fear of failure in playing sports'.

'As a coach you hand ownership to participants,' added Damien, who explained that Rathnure GAA Club is firstly introducing the programme to the children at nursery level before introducing it to the rest of the club.

'Coaches of all ages are taking part in this to bring it back to their teams,' he explained. ' The younger we start children off on this programme the better. If we don't pick up a hurler at the end of this we don't mind we just want to get anyone in the community involved in this,' added Damien.

According to Brendan, GAA clubs are constantly losing children as they don't feel catered for - something his programme aims to quash.

' This aims to sustain the viability of clubs by getting more people involved, feeling valued and being part of the club,' he explained.

'From the people I have worked with they have thoroughly enjoyed it, they have been very enthusiastic and the feedback is great,' added Brendan.

Meanwhile, there will be a meeting for all parents in Rathnure regarding the new FUNdamental programme for children tomorrow ( Wednesday) at 7.30 p.m. sharp in the Martin Codd Arena. This meeting is open to all parents regardless of their child's participation in hurling and parents are encouraged to make a special effort to attend.

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