Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Madrid Motoring Well
I've tried my hardest to down all G.A.A. tools for the month of January; blog, organisation, chat and anything related. I just can't do it but by my standards, I've done pretty well. We resume training on January 30th. In preparation for that there is quite a lot of planning required, more of which will follow later in the week.
My biggest mission for the month was a trip to Madrid last weekend. The task was to run a practical course for adults who are training the kids down there. To get the most value for the trip, we also planned Ladies and Men's sessions. This was to be an introduction that we would follow up with a full blown Foundation Course later in the year in Spain.
Most of the participants were from the Madrid Harps club but they were joined by two former/current members who now reside near to Bilbao. Four more came up from Valencia. In all, we had around twenty people (you can see a selection in the photo above). It was interesting to see the number of Spanish people who know little of the game but have been drawn to it through their kids. A big challenge for them is to keep the kids interested and get them games. There are tentative plans in places to use one of their tournaments to bring the kids of Madrid and Valencia together for an exhibition game. Another thing is exposure to the game on television. They say it is very difficult to find somewhere that shows the games in Madrid which makes it harder to sell it to the kids.
Saturday's session focused on two concepts; IDEA and STEP. IDEA stands for Introduce, Demonstrate, Execute, Attend and is a process which a coach can follow when breaking down and teaching the skills. Using skills such as the punt kick and hand pass, we followed this process and then looked at ways to integrate them into progressively more challenging drills. A highlight of the skill work was Rodrigo (third from right, back row) from the Valencia club. The man was like a blocking down machine. I've never see anything like it.
The next focus was the STEP approach. It's something you can use when looking at designing game based drills. It looks at four elements; Situation, Task, Equipment and Players. By tweaking these elements in a game based drill you can achieve different things i..e if you have a 5v5 game and then adjust the # of players to say, 5v3, you will have a very different drill.
We followed this by bringing it all together into a seventy minute training session.
It was a different experience for me because normally I'd be used to training teams rather than coaches. There was more two way communication on Saturday and it was very good. One of the big things I learned at the Tutor course was how much we can learn off of each other. Everyone who attended on Saturday thought like a coach and the comments and interactions were very good.
Once we finished up, we headed back into town to the men's training. Currently, they have no coach so I took the session to allow all their players focus on training. With no fixed abode on a Saturday afternoon, the lads climb a fence to train on a University rugby pitch. As we arrived on Saturday, they were being kicked off. After a quick discussion, training was relocated to a bit of land at the end of the grounds which you could only describe as 'wasteland'. No-one seemed bothered. It's the type of thing that would lead to incessant b1tching and moaning at home but in Europe you don't carry such airs and graces.
The sun began to set as we finished the session shortly before six. There were around 18 lads in all and the team looks in good health. I learned that one of the biggest problems in Spain is getting teams to travel outside their home tournament. Wages are low and distances far so rounding up the troops is a challenge.
That evening I joined a few of the club members for dinner in the city centre. I'd be a massive fan of the Spanish vibe but I'll never get how they can eat so late in the evening. It must have been approaching 23h by the time we got stuck in. Something that is very different about Madrid v's our club here in Belgium, is the number of locals who form its backbone. Javi is the Chairman, or President as they say in Spain. Itizar is the Secretary and it seems there is a healthy mix of Irish and Spanish throughout the club. This was reflected by the attendees on Saturday evening.
A good example of the local connection is Nuria and her husband Jesus (pronounced Hey Zues for those of you with similar Spanish skills to me). Nuria is a teacher who has spent many summers in Dingle where she honed her English and football skills. She learned the football bit well but was unfortunate to pick up a Kerry accent when she switches to English. Jesus also plays and parades around training in a Kerry jersey and plays the game in such a way that you wouldn't think he was from anywhere else. They are also looking after the future of the club, with the next generation to arrive in a few months.
All in all, I think the trip was a success and we will look to build on it in the coming months with a follow-up Foundation Course.