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TÍR Conaill Harps have launched an innovative online solution to the lack of training available to young footballers (above) during the coronavirus lockdown by publishing a Skills Booklet. The booklet aims to give parents the confidence and information to keep their budding footballers in training despite the restrictions that prevent team groups meeting for sessions. It shares the essential skills of any Gaelic footballer and breaks down the methods for training in them alone, meaning that not only can parents help keep their children active, but that underage players can continue their development in the game. In addition to publishing the booklet, the club also hosted an online Q&A session via Zoom, allowing parents and children to have contact with their coaches to get support and pick up any further tips for training.

“The idea behind the skills booklet was to get our kids and parents keeping active at home during lockdown,” Harps said. “We created a very simple guide to enable parents to help their kids practice the skills of Gaelic football while we are unable to get out to train. We felt it was important to keep everyone engaged and reminded that they’re all part of something, part of a community which can hopefully help people stay positive during these unprecedented times.”

Published on the club’s Facebook page, with the PDF version of the booklet also sent directly to all parents with children at the club, the effort involved in the coaching guide is not only about giving the young players the support to tay active and enjoy their sport in lockdown, but also about keeping the strong community spirit at the club alive through this time. The booklet was the work of Tír Conaill Harps coach Aidan Main, and he outlined how he feels it can best be used—even for those who have never played the game before.

“Anyone can use the booklet as we’ve put out videos to break down all the skills and help anyone who’s struggling,” he said. “At the end of the day it’s all about having fun and exercising, you don’t need to be perfect you just need to be willing to give it a go. We also included a written breakdown for all the skills in the booklet to help anyone who’s never played the sport before and also to help our parents coach their kids so they can continue to learn and improve even from home.”

A coaching video to support the content of the handbook has also been published on the club’s social media.

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