Coaching Tips

Coaching Tips from Paudie Butler

Upping the tempo – everybody can play hurling but the question we should be asking is ‘Can they do it at Pace?’

In the All Ireland hurling final 2006 Kilkenny v Cork on average each player had 1.9 secs to get rid of the ball to be productive in the game.

When a player is playing at their own pace (which everyone will unless coaxed by coach or has strong self discipline) they stay in their comfort zone and when it comes to a game situation they are then ‘off the pace’.

To guarantee every player to be ‘on pace’ for championship everything has to be done at game pace. Every player has to push on to the ‘battle line’.

When practising skills each player must change from being passive to aggressive i.e. Grab the ball.

Hurleys to be held at 90oC/across the body at all times, if hurley is at the side it take 3 secs to get in position for shot whereas if at 90oC you are instantly ready.

In every session you should aim to create ‘1000 sucesses’ however you should never praise failure i.e. When the player drives a ball wide don’t say ‘good shot’ ignore, he’ll correct himself next time.

Fitness training should be disguised with the ball. Never ask players to put down their hurleys during a session. They go training to play hurling, we have to treat hurling lovers as equals.

The greatest motivator is numbers (playing facts) ‘we must make 40 catches in a min’ ‘2 scores per man’ ‘catch 6 puck outs in a row’ etc.

From an early age coaches tend to ‘talk’ players through the game on match day. This is Ok at U10 etc but we must gradually ween them off so that by U16-Minor they can take responsibilty. They play the game not the coach.

Skill is only achieved when you have speed, accuracy, fluency and sureness together.

Speed is only achieved when Hands, feet, eye, mind, reaction and stroke are all present at one time.

In hurling we use 12 basic movements: jumping, twisting, running, bending, shuffling/hopping, etc.

A player should be taught never to be on their back heels but to be on the ball of their foot like a boxer.

Research has shown that before 200 ball contacts we don’t learn anything new, thus after 200 contacts learning takes place.

We should therefore aim for 300 to 400 ball contacts per session.

Every Saturday before a game DJ Carey had 300 pucks against the gable end to feel ‘ready’ for action.

It takes 9 weeks to change a habit or do it 18 times to become a way of life.

Most learning takes place in a 12 foot zone. i.e. 12Ft from the wall when striking. Outside 12ft you are in the comfort zone therefore off the pace.

Ingrain a sense of responsibilty in children, you want them to be responsible during a game therefore make them responsible during training. Lay out cones, get sliothars from bag, carry gear, teach other players, encourage other players etc.

The OTú skill development model uses the same principles/headings as those used all over the world by Rugby (All Blacks, Ireland) Soccer (Premiership), Hockey (Olympic Teams) etc. Eddie O ‘Sullivan has 10 coaches to deliver this to his players but you must do all this as a hurling coach! (delegate)

The Magic Circle is where every sports man (Joe Deane, Brian O’Driscoll, etc) wants the ball. To find your magic circle swing your arm around at the front of your body, all space within this is your magic circle.

Hurley length: Stand upright, close your eyes, put your shoulders square, hands by your side and grip the hurley. Any timber above this point is useless to you as a hurler.