This year has seen almost every area of work become adaptable to the virtual world. Games Development across the Province has been no different. Carlow GAA Games Development team are just the latest county to look at new ways of providing traditional support throughout their county. We spoke to Games Manager Seán Gannon about how they are reaching and more importantly coaching a majority of the primary schools students in the area.
“I suppose this is an area (virtual coaching) we have all moved into since last march during the initial lockdown. Back then we ran a number of coaching sessions virtually with clubs at weekends, so this is very much just a continuation of that project.”
“We reached out to the teachers to see if the interest was there to try virtual coaching. In total now we are working with 19 schools across the county. The whole process is done in conjunction with the school. This is extremely important because not all of the students we coach are members of GAA clubs. The interactions we would have previously had with them in the school setting may have been their only formal activity that week. So to be able to continue to support these children in particular is very rewarding in itself.”
These sessions are growing and growing in popularity with more and more schools continuing to sign up.
“To see the uptake and the interest in these sessions has been really amazing. For instance, this week alone we provided coaching to 813 different households. If that even goes a small way towards helping either the children or parents cope a bit better, it will have been an extremely worthwhile exercise.”
The sessions themselves work very well despite the limitations of the virtual experience. Each time a coach takes the lead in demonstrating a skill or activity, they then hand over to the children who complete the activity in a short time frame. Each child then posts their score into the chat box. Gannon thinks this feature will stand the children in good stead for when they return to school
“Keeping things interactive and challenging is a key part of our sessions. This way the children are still very much keeping the link with their friends. Sometimes there is a small bit of joking around scores and that, which is great to see. You would hope that this helps the children maintain their interpersonal skills, which have been under a greater strain than ever this year.”
This is just one example of the great work that is going on across the Province in Games Development. If you are looking for support reach out to your local Games Development Team today, and they will happily assist where possible.