Sarsfields Weekly Newsletter

November 8, 2018










The Weekly Online Newsletter of Sarsfields GAA Club


Sarsfields Annual Race Night Friday November 30th.

U21 Footballers and Junior Hurlers in action this weekend



U21 Championship Semi Final:

                  Sarsfields V Celbridge at Clane, Saturday 2.30


Good luck to the U21’s on Saturday and the management team of Alan, Ziggy and Liam. Please come out and support the lads. Extra time will be played if necessary.


Junior Hurling Final:

Sarsfields V Athy


Good luck also to the Junior Hurlers and the management team of Liam O’Dwyer, Barney Breslin, Dinny Callaghan and Pat O’Conner. Unfortunately it looks at the time of writing that the U21 semi-final and the Junior hurling final will both be played at the same time at different venues. The hurling is scheduled for Sallins. The club has requested the same venue for both games. Naturally the County Board couldn’t be expected to do the logical thing and accommodate Sarsfields players and supporters by playing both games at one venue.


League Final


The u15Bs play the Winter League final on Sunday at 11am in St Conleth’s – your support is much appreciated.




The juvenile nursery will finish up for the year this Sunday with a special blitz. Contact Juvenile Club Chairman Tony McConnell on 086 3867966 for further info.



Sarsfields Annual Race Night


Sarsfields annual dog night will be held on Friday 30th November. Tickets are now available priced at €10 or €25 for a family ticket. If anyone knows a company/business that might be interested in sponsoring a race, (€500), or a half page ad in the race card (€250), please forward the contact details to organising committee members, Marie Clancy (087-1323764) or Brian Dempsey (087-2848396). would all managers please ensure they have tickets for distribution Anyone interested, in doing some bar work in the club – MUST be 18 years or over – is asked to contact Marie Clancy (087-1323764) or Monica Scanlon (087-7934780). The rates for functions are €10 per hour. Previous experience is not necessary, as training will be provided.


Leinster Club Championships Results & Fixtures


Nov 11: Quarter-finals: Moorefield 1-12 Dromard (Longford) 1-12 AET; Eire Og (Carlow) 0-11 Tyrrellspass (Westmeath) 2-6; St.Vincent’s (Dublin) 0-11 Seneschalstown (Meath) 1-8; St.Patrick’s (Louth) 0-11 v Portlaoise (Laois).1-14

Nov 17/18 Replays Dromad V Moorefield.  Seneschalstown V St VIncents

Nov 25: Semi-finals: Moorefield/Dromard v Tyrrellpass.

St.Vincent’s/ Seneschalstown/ v Portlaoise.

Dec 9: Final:  Live on TG4 AIB Leinster Club Football Championship Final   Throw-in: 2:00pm. Coverage 1.45


Kelly grateful to FAI and IRFU

Former GAA president Sean Kelly has expressed his gratitude to the FAI and IRFU for not getting involved in the debates prior to the abolishment of the controversial Rule 42 at the Association’s Annual Congress in 2005.The Kerryman was speaking last night at Croke Park at the launch of his new book, ‘Rule 42 And All That’, which charters Kelly’s life from his early days growing up in his native Kilcummin through his administrative roles with the Kerry County Board and Munster Council, before assuming the GAA Presidency and ultimately that historic Congress decision.

‘I would have to pay tribute to both the IRFU and FAI who were very respectful throughout the process and as a result we have come closer together,’ Kelly said.

‘I was grateful to them for staying out of the argument at the time that debate was taking place in the GAA over the motion for Rule 42 and that will always be appreciated.’

Kelly also praised those GAA members who put forward motions and stuck to their initial thoughts and ideas.’I would like to thank the clubs and county boards who put forward motions initially and also for those that drove them through.

‘Those who were against opening Croke Park were also genuine and sincere in their beliefs.’By and large it was a positive outcome for everyone concerned. At the end of next year there will be an extra €40m for the GAA to spend because of it.

‘I know it will go down to the grassroots and Nickey Brennan will ensure that will happen,’ he added.Kelly was very thankful for the support he got in his native Kerry for the opening of Croke Park.

‘I was grateful for the support which I got from my own County Board,’ he said. ‘It would have been difficult to push through if they had been against it.’

Kelly also had special words of praise for the Government and the man who launched his book, An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

‘Along with the money which we got for the redevelopment of Croke Park, the Government were also generous for the funding which they gave to the development of Gaelic games in Dublin and for this we are extremely grateful,’ Kelly said.An Taoiseach was on hand to launch the book and was high in his praise of the Kerryman and his futuristic outlook in relation to opening Croke Park for rugby and soccer.

‘Sean Kelly is a man who showed great strength of character, enormous vision and integrity and we can truly say that at the end of 2007, Sean’s vision of an ‘Ireland of the Welcomes’ has been realised,’ Ahern said.

‘A time of change is always difficult for those in favour and those who aren’t – Sean Kelly was the catalyst who brought it about.’Ahern also praised Kelly for the introduction of the Tommy Murphy, the Christy Ring and Nicky Rackard Cups and the extension of the Intermediate and Junior Club championships at provincial and All-Ireland level.




Croke Park Coaching Conference 23/24th November



The cost of attending the GAA Games Development Conference 2007 is €100. 

This price includes:

GAA Conference Bag and Folder

Personalized Conference Delegate Badge

GAA Conference Speaker CD (Issued after the conference)

All new Fun Do Learning Resource Pack. Delegates will receive one pack per chosen GAA sport (Gaelic Football or Hurling) as per selection on the conference delegate application form

Paying by cheque:
To book a place on the GAA National Coaching & Medical Conference, please contact us to get a conference booking form, you will need to fill this out and attach payment by cheque and post it to the following address:
GAA Games Development Conference 2007.

Conference Programme


Seminar Title



19.00 – 19.45

Conference Registration


19.45 – 20.30

Creating a Platform for People to Play and Stay with the GAA

Pat Daly, GAA Director of Games

20.30 – 21.00

Key Note 1:
Underage Competition: Is there an Over Emphasis on Winning? Are We Getting the Balance Right?

Paudie Butler, National Hurling Coordinator

Philip Kerr, Coaching Tutor & Coach

Dr John Considine, Economics Lecturer UCC & Coach

Niel Wood, Rugby League Services Manager

Chair: Marty Morrissey, RTÉ


8.30 – 9.30

Conference Registration & Exhibition Showcase  


9.30 – 9.45

 ‘Play and Stay with the GAA’: The Importance of Lifelong Participation in the GAA

 Uachtarán CLG Nicolás Ó Braonáin

9.45 – 10.45

Key Note 2:
Best Practice Leinster GAA Case Studies – The Provision of a Regular Programme of Games: New Approaches to Catering for an Age Old Problem

Brendan Carthy, Louth Centre of Excellence, Darver

Shane Flanagan, Provincial Games Manager, Leinster

10.45 – 11.15

Tea/Coffee Break

Exhibition Showcase


11.15 – 12.00

Parallel Session 1 (Choose 1 out of 5 possible Topics)



Session A:
Burnout, Fadeout, Dropout – An Issue for the Minority or the Majority?

Lynette Hughes, PhD Research Student

Pauric Duffy, Player Welfare Officer, GAA

Dr Pat O’Neill, Chair GAA Player Welfare Committee


Session B:
Building a Fun Coherent Message Through Meaningful Coaching Sessions

Philip Kerr, GAA Coaching Tutor & Coach

George O’Connor, Hurling Development Administrator


Session C:
Performance Analysis – Keeping Track of the Basic Playing Facts

Pete McGrath; Former Down & Ireland Manager

Christy O’Connor; GAA Correspondent Sunday Times


Session D:
Preparticipation Screening – Not All About Sudden Cardiac Death

Dr. Philip Carolan, GAA Medical Scientific Welfare Committee


Session E:
Vhi Cúl Camps: Accomodating 80,000 Participants – The Challenges Involved

Jimmy O’Dwyer, Vhi Cúl Camp Coordinator

12.00 – 12.45

Key Note 3:
New GAA Coach Education Initiatives: The Role of Innovative Learning Technology in the Advancement of Gaelic Games

John Herlihy; Director of Learning, The Digital Hub

Dr Ray Coughlan; Director DEIS Cork Institute of Technology

Jimmy D’Arcy, GAA National Coaching Coordinator

Peter Horgan, GAA Grassroots to National Programme Coordinator

12.45 – 13.45

Lunch Break

Exhibition Showcase


 13.45 – 14.30

 Parallel Session 2 (Choose 1 out of 5 possible Topics)



Session A: I
ntegrating Ball Work and Fitness

John Sugrue, Trainer Kerry Senior Football Team

Jerry Wallace, Trainer Cork Senior Hurling Team


Session B:
Putting Nutrition at the Heart of Your Training Regime

Stevie Reid, Senior Sports Nutritionist, Kellogg’s


Session C:
Getting the Structures Right: Embracing a New Coaching Mentality in a Traditional Club

Eamon Ryan; GAA Tutor

Niel Wood, Rugby League Services Manager

John Tobin, Provincial Games Manager, Connacht


Session D:
Creating a Culture of Respect and Discipline on the Pitch:The Challenging Role of the Refere

Mick Curley, All Ireland Final Referee 1999
Pierce Freaney, GAA Match Officials Coordinator


Session E:
Fun Do Learning Resource Pack – An In Depth Demonstration

Jimmy D’Arcy, GAA National Coaching Coordinator

Peter Horgan, GAA Grassroots to National Programme Coordinator

14.30 – 15.15

Parallel Session 3 (Choose 1 out of 5 possible Topics)



Session A:
Understanding the Trade Off between Time and Space – Attacking/Defending

Martin Fogarty, Asstistant Manager, Kilkenny Senior Hurling Team

Andrew Quick; Gameplanner


Session B:
Preparation for Games – Rehearsal, Routines, Focusing, Motivation

Canice Kennedy; Sports Psychologist


Session C:
Club Pitches – Essential Do’s and Don’ts

Richard Hayden, STRI – Croke Park Pitch Maintenance

Joe Bedford, Croke Park Pitch Maintenance


Session D:
Preliminary Findings of the GAA Injury Database – 2000-2007: Its Relevance to Injury Prevention and Coaching

John Murphy, Chartered Physiotherapist and Member of the GAA Medical Scientific Welfare Committee


Session E:
Analysis of Gaelic Football 1970-2006:
Consequences for a Contemporary Approach to Skill Development and Conditioning

Prof. Niall Moyna, Lecturer, Dept of Health & Human Performance, DCU

Martin McElkennen, Trainer Monaghan Senior Football Team

15.15 – 15.45

Tea/Coffee Break

Exhibition Showcase


15.45 – 16.45

Key Note 4:
Maintaining Peak Performance and Squad Cohesion During the Course of a Season

Brian Cody, Manager, Kilkenny Senior Hurling Team

Eamonn McEneaney, Manager, Louth Senior Football Team

16.45 – 17.00

Closing Address

Christy Cooney, Chairman National Games Development Committee 

17.00 – 19.00

Exhibitor Showcase 



Paying by cheque:
To book a place on the GAA National Coaching & Medical Conference, please contact us to get a conference booking form, you will need to fill this out and attach payment by cheque and post it to the following address:
GAA Games Development Conference 2007,
Invent Building,
Dublin 9

Upon receipt of an application, a letter of receipt plus a conference delegate badge will be issued to you by the GAA Conference event team.


For further information contact:
GAA Games Development Conference
Invent Building, DCU,
Dublin 9
Telephone: 01 7007578
Fax: 01 7007555


Winter lie-in bad for business

WHEN last did Steven McDonnell play for Armagh, Matty Forde for Wexford or Brian Kavanagh for Longford?

Actually, its 17 weeks ago. And when next will we see them unleash their dazzling skills on the inter-county circuit? There’s a 13-week wait for that treat, so we’re past the half way mark in a desert that no other sport in the world would even contemplate entering.

Imagine soccer or rugby telling many of its top stars that they will have no high-profile competition for 30 weeks. It would rightly be regarded as a dereliction of duty, not to mention a wanton waste of promotional opportunities, yet the GAA have no qualms about locking the gates to so many of its top stars.

Limerick, Leitrim, Cavan, Down, Roscommon, Longford, Wexford and Armagh were all eliminated from the football championship on July 7-8 last, followed seven days later by Westmeath, Mayo, Fermanagh and Kildare. Galway and Louth lasted just one week longer.

That’s 14 counties which were facing into more than six months without a game. All will return to action on February 2 next and will then have seven League games up to April 13. They will head into championship action in May-June and, for those who lose in the first round of the provincial championship and the All-Ireland qualifiers, they will have two just games throughout the summer.

Effectively, they will play just two games between April 13 next and the first weekend in February 2009. It’s bizarre beyond belief, especially at a time when the average cost per county of training teams is over €600,000.

Incredibly, there seems to be no will whatsoever, among either the counties or the GAA bosses, to address the issue. In fact, instead of streamlining the inter-county programme for a more even balance throughout the year, the trend is heading in the opposite direction.

There’s a clear shift of emphasis in the GAA in recent times towards creating more time for club activity, which, by extension, is leading to a squeezing of the inter-county scene.

The official argument is that the club game is in serious need of rescuing from the grip of the county schedule. Also, burnout has become new buzz word in the GAA, as if every player faces such a hectic schedule that he has degenerated into a mental and physical wreck.

Yes, there are examples of young players who are over-stretched but the reality for many others is that they don’t get nearly enough games. How many games have the players from the counties who were knocked out of the All-Ireland qualifiers in early July had since then? Obviously, it varies, but many would have had less than six. Is it any wonder they turn to soccer and rugby around this time of year?

In fairness to the GAA, it’s very difficult to get their fixtures flow right, given that they have to cater for club and county games in both codes at several grades. However, the manner in which the inter-county scene is being concentrated into increasingly short periods is not only damaging to the GAA brand but is also a dreadful waste of money. Nor is it servicing the needs of the players.

Longford manager, Luke Dempsey, suggested in these columns on Thursday that the National League should be made up of three divisions, pointing out that it would be a fairer and more interesting competition. He proposed scrapping pre-season tournaments such as the O’Byrne and McKenna cups and the FBD League and starting the League, which would provide enough Sundays to run off the extra games.

There’s merit in his proposal but it’s most unlikely to be acted upon, certainly not in the new climate where less rather than more official inter-county action is moving higher up the agenda.

It appears there’s no appetite at official level for starting the league in October/November as used to be the norm, yet it’s clear from the interest shown by the players in the recent interprovincial competitions that they want to perform at this time of year. But then that’s to be expected, given that many of them have had no inter-county exposure since last July.

Apart altogether from the unfairness of leaving players up to seven months without an inter-county game, there’s the important matter of promotion and exposure to be considered. With the exception of TG4’s coverage of the club championships, gaelic games gets little TV coverage from September to February for the simple reason that the interprovincials are the only official competition run in that period.

Soccer and rugby are available on TV virtually every night of the week, presenting them with a great opportunity to grab the hearts and minds of the sporting public.

The GAA will argue that they can’t compete for exposure with global sports on a 12-month basis — but they could certainly make a considerably better attempt than is currently the case.

What’s required now is for the GAA to start with a blank canvas and re-draw the entire fixtures schedule. And this time it should be an absolute priority that no inter-county players are left idle between early July and early February.

Obviously that would involve a radical overhaul of the various programmes but would that be such a bad thing?

As things stand, counties aren’t even supposed to play challenge games at this time of year, despite the fact than many squads are back training.

Those who want more club action at the expense of the county scene are well-meaning but this shouldn’t develop into a competition between the two grades. With proper planning of the club programme — and that means sticking to schedules as laid out and not granting postponements for such serious events as stag parties — there is no reason why some level of county competition couldn’t be played at this time of year.

Failing that, playing the interprovincials on a round-robin basis would, at the very least, provide an outlet for some players while also putting Gaelic Games back on mainstream TV over an extended period.

Anything would be better than the current situation where a seven-month inter-county vacuum has been created. By the time we see Steven McDonnell, Matty Forde and Brian Kavanagh, plus many other top talents, back on the inter-county circuit we’ll have almost forgotten what they look like.

Now how can that be good for them or indeed the GAA?

Lesser prizes for the greater good



Lesser Prizes for the Greater Good.

By Eugene McGee

In all sports, and the GAA is no different, there is a modern tendency to dismiss subsidiary competitions as largely irrelevant and focus all attention on one or two flagship competitions.

The decline of the FA Cup in English football is a good example, since it was swamped almost out of existence by the arrival of the Premiership over a decade ago. A similar situation has developed in Irish club rugby with the Heineken Cup taking over completely to the serious detriment of the previously important All-Ireland league competitions.

The common denominator in the development of these two super events at the expense of previously important competitions has been television money and the huge subsequent promotion of the Premier League and the Heineken Cup that resulted.

In the GAA world too there is a growing tendency to focus in on the two All-Ireland competitions while some of the provincial championships are slipping backwards in public esteem. The football championships in Munster and Connacht and the Leinster hurling championship are examples of this and attendances at some finals indicate that.

Ever so gradually the GAA public is being coaxed into the idea that the provincial championships are not as relevant as the All-Ireland Qualifiers because the latter send teams straight into the knock-out stages of the big ones, which are the All-Ireland championships.

I was reminded about this trend last Saturday night when invited to speak at the presentation of Connacht championship medals to the Sligo footballers. Now most GAA fans I know would have paid little attention to that success of Sligo, treating it as somewhat irrelevant in the bigger scheme of GAA things.

But when one analyses what Sligo did, it can be seen that in reality it was an enormous sporting achievement. Only twice before in 122 years of championship football had a Sligo football team won the Connacht championship, in 1928 and 1975. None of the current team ever saw Sligo come out of Connacht. Over the years there were always two powerful football counties, Mayo and Galway, baulking any progress by Sligo, Leitrim and to a lesser extent Roscommon.

Therefore, when Sligo beat Galway for the first time in a Connacht final on July 8 last and ended a 32 year losing sequence it was a remarkable achievement. Their manager Tommy Breheny has succeeded in what I consider the most difficult task of any GAA county manager, by getting his players to overcome this legacy of defeats year after year and believing in themselves sufficiently to beat their greatest tormentors in Connacht.

The important point about this is that the GAA for all its faults still provides openings for teams like Sligo to have success without winning the All-Ireland. For the leading six to ten counties this is of no importance because they have only one goal each year — to win Sam Maguire. But for the remaining 24 counties or so, the opportunity of winning a provincial title is critical. Just observing the 450 Sligo people at Saturday’s function and listening to the passion in the voices of players and officials who were speaking one could sense what a momentous occasion they had experienced in July 2007. Outsiders may scoff at this notion but believe me it was very tangible and the fact that Sligo failed badly when they played Cork in Croke Park did not dampen their ardour. The bottom line was that these Sligo players and Tommy Breheny achieved something their county had only done once in the previous 79 years before 2007. By any standard that is success.

There is a strong possibility that as the GAA strikes deals for more and more live televised games the television companies will play a greater role to influencing the manner in which we play the All-Ireland championships and the National Leagues. It has happened in every other country so why not in Ireland? I am sure Alex Ferguson never thought years ago that he would end up playing big games at lunchtime on Saturday and Sundays or at 5.30 on Sunday evenings but that is what the television boys wanted and what they are getting.

There is a strong body of opinion in the GAA that if the All-Ireland football championship could be played off like the UEFA Champions League it would be more attractive than the present system. It would suit fixture scheduling with four groups of eight teams and would facilitate more televised games.

Yes, but it would also deny teams like Sligo the opportunity to have a landmark victory in the Connacht championship. Or Westmeath, Laois, Leitrim or Clare — similar momentous achievements in the recent past when they grabbed a provincial title. That would be a very heavy price to pay for change.

There could of course be a compromise solution if the GAA was prepared to bite the bullet on tradition.

Without causing a revolution the present lopsided provincial numbers could be changed into four provinces of eight counties each, at least in football. If Donegal or Fermanagh, Westmeath and Longford played in Connacht that would leave the province and Ulster with eight teams.

And if two counties out of Wexford, Kilkenny or Carlow played in Munster then all four provinces would have eight counties. These are hardly earth-shattering changes and I doubt of any of the changed counties would be any worse off than at present. For those nitpickers who argue about geographical niceties, the various provincial championships could simply be called the ‘Connacht Open championship’ etc. as happens in most other sports.

It would be a mistake to abolish provincial championships without being certain the replacement system would be better. But in all fairness the system, which has operated since 1884 is by its very nature unfair and should not be forming the basis of a major national sporting competition such as the GAA championships. Five local teams playing for the same level of progress in Connacht as twelve teams play for in Leinster or nine in Ulster is patently unfair. It is also a huge deterrent to a more sophisticated calendar of championship fixtures.

In the past 20 years or so the GAA has got rid of many of what appeared to be cornerstones of its structures, usually for the better. However the provincial championships are in a different category and anyone who was in the Radisson Hotel in Sligo last Saturday night would vouch for that.

On a separate note, several e-mails arrived last Monday giving out to me about backing pay-for-play for GAA players, which came as a shock to me since I am totally against the idea.

There was a reference in the heading on my article last Monday to ‘splash the cash on players’ which confused some people.

As the article clearly stated, I was simply saying that less money should be spent by the GAA on physical development in future and more on coaching and the like in order to staunch the flow of young players out of the GAA which is a serious problem at present in many counties.


Coaches Corner

Tackling the issue of player burnout
A senior club manager asks about a topic which has become a hot talking point in recent years: “Some of my players are complaining about being tired and fed-up of football. Could they be suffering from burnout?”


Tackling the issue of player burnout



Niamh Flynn (  is a sport psychologist based in Galway and has dealt with several cases of burnout, particularly in young sportspeople. Here’s her response to this question: 

“Although most of the arduous monotonous running schedules of a decade ago have subsided to a degree, and have been replaced with a variety of skill-based drills, overtraining and burnout are still having an effect on some players.

Some players can and do adapt to increases in training demands while others find the adaptations too difficult to deal with for a number of reasons. For the latter the increased training demands lead to overtraining which in turn can lead to burnout.

Running around the pitch incessantly at this point is not an option.


Signs of burnout

It is important that each coach creates a system whereby all players are monitored for signs of overtraining at all stages of the season. The signs to look out for range from insomnia, reduced appetite, and a reduction in body weight to feelings of exhaustion on a physical and emotional level.

Other psychological markers include players’ sudden lack of interest in going for the ball or increased doubt in one’s ability to play well.

When a player’s social interaction with other players alters suddenly, or their attitude towards the game becomes negative in a relatively short period of time, it is time to look out for further signs of burnout.



If the above indicators are present intervention at the earliest time is advised.

This will involve dealing with the psychological issues, and, in some instances, revising the physical training programme and making appropriate adaptations. 

Once players reach a certain level of fitness several options are available as a means of increasing cardiovascular fitness, strength and flexibility”.


If you’d like a question answered in Club Corner, email

Each month, gives out a prize of a year’s free subscription to the Lottery draw of one local club.



Weight training for young players
“We’ve never done structured weight training before. What are the safety issues?” – club minor manager.


Weight training for young players


Eamonn Reilly, a Chartered Physiotherapist in Blacklion, Co Cavan, has a special interest in weight training for young sportspeople.

“The benefits for sportspeople include functional benefits and improvement in overall health and well-being, including increased muscle, tendon and ligament strength.

However, added exposure to weights training leads to risks. Repeated bending and lifting activities increase the risk of developing low back disorders.

Repetitive lifting also causes measurable fatigue in the erector spinae muscles and this increases the risk of injury. Failure to use proper lifting techniques and improper use of machines can also lead to severe musculoskeletal problems.

 Use Spotters

Through the use of spotters, it is possible for an individual to decrease the risk of injury while exercising. If a weight is too heavy, or the participant struggles with the final few repetitions, your spotter can help you complete the set or return the weight to the cage holders. A spotter can also help enhance performance, by pointing out poor technique and psychologically by encouraging his partner.

Straight Back

Posture during exercise is vital. It’s important to reduce the strain on the back as much as possible. With a straight back, the strain is equally distributed across the back muscles along the vertebrae (depending on exercise).

Moving Gym Equipment

The importance of correct lifting posture again needs to be emphasized. Because you’re not executing an exercise does not mean you cannot strain your back.

Don’t Hyperventilate

Breathing too quickly (hyperventilating) while lifting heavy weights can be extremely dangerous. It is possible you could faint and lose control of the weights. Breathing out while lifting is advisable and leads to improved control.

Don’t cheat on your technique

This leads to the recruitment of the wrong muscle groups and can be counter productive to the objectives of an exercise. The recruitment of wrong muscle groups may also place strain in other areas of the body and lead to injury. This is commonly associated with the lower back. To target specific muscle groups, participants should start with lighter weights and progress as ready.”




Making the most of mid-season break

“Due to county commitments, we’ve a six-week break to our next game – how should we fill the time?” – senior club manager. An appropriate topic in view of the still unresolved controversial issue of Club V County.

Making the most of mid-season break



Roscommon manager John Maughan says that keeping things fresh is the key priority.

“I think players and management need to be involved in whatever decision you make. You should all talk it through. The manager should make it known to the players that he would like to reduce the number of training sessions per week from three to two, but the players must buy into this.

You don’t want players thinking the reduced training is an opportunity to go on the lash and do a lot of damage to their fitness. They must stay in good condition, eat well, not drink too much, and keep themselves right.

I would give the players a weekend or two off, too, so they can go away with their partners, or just take it easy. Players will recharge the batteries and become re-energised. Remember, they have probably been working hard in training for over six months now so a little easing off will do them no harm.

In the trainings, I would put the emphasis on fun. Introduce novel things such as shuttle sprints where each team has one tennis ball, and they must place the tennis ball on the top of those small little caps that you see everywhere now on training fields. That’s a bit of crack, with a competitive edge, and it keeps players ticking over.

You can do lots of innovative things to make it brighter and breezier. Sessions in swimming pools are good, or a run on the beach if you live near the coast is also good. The important thing is to vary it now so that the six weeks don’t drag on unmercifully.

If you don’t manage this properly, the players will lose focus and drift. But if you approach it in the correct frame of mind, it can be a very beneficial time to get players hungry and keen again for a tilt at the next phase of the season.”





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