Siobhán has spent the summer working with the PSA Rugby Academy throughout Ireland. Siobhán’s role was centered around the delivery of the high-performance physical training and testing programme for 10 to 17 year old’s.
Coming from a GAA background and into a rugby environment, how big of an adjustment was it? What was different and what was the same?
Coming from a GAA background, I was quite nervous about going into a rugby environment as I had absolutely no experience in rugby, bar watching a few Six Nations games. I have to say I was surprised at how similar the environments were.
What was the most important skill or piece of knowledge you brought from your studies with Setanta College into your role?
You might have a session planned and think it’s brilliant, but it’s really important to read the group in front of you and adapt as you go. There will be differences in the ability within every group. It’s important to challenge the stronger athletes and the less well-developed athletes equally. Subtle changes to drills can achieve this. It’s also important to give individual feedback to develop each athlete to help them develop to their individual best.
What is the biggest learning you will take from your experiences?
I really enjoyed putting the skills that I had learned on paper into practice. I found that the more I coached the better I got. I was continuously learning as I went. I think that that’s the most important thing for a coach and was definitely my biggest learning. I also had a great mentor, if I was unsure of anything Annie was only a text message away. As a new coach, I think it’s especially important to learn from other coaches with experience.
What did you learn from the rugby coaches that you will bring back to your GAA coaching?
In rugby, the coaches try to bring the ball into everything, even S&C. The drills were much more enjoyable for the athletes when there was a ball involved. I will try to bring this into my GAA coaching.
What area of coaching or S&C would you like to study or work in next?
I have a keen interest in Youth Athletic Development and hope to continue my studies in this area.