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Streaming in underage GAA

  • 03-10-2017 3:18pm
    Registered Users Posts: 6,586 ✭✭✭

    This is enforced by Dublin GAA from under 9s on.

    Anyone any experiences of this - good or bad?


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,310 ✭✭✭arctictree

    The problem is that when you don't have streaming (especially at the younger age levels) is that you end up with one or two players completely dominating every game and the rest just really standing around and watching. When playing a blitz, you should have A vs A and B vs B etc which results in much more even matches.

    Most sports select teams based on ability, so no reason why the GAA should be any different?

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,586 ✭✭✭Tombo2001

    The same 1 or 2 kids who would dominate a team that isnt streamed will also dominate a team that is streamed.

    In a group of 50 kids you will have 7 or 8 (at best) who are exceptional; 7 or 8 who are at the other end - and then a group of 35 in the middle who are all fairly similar in ability.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,310 ✭✭✭arctictree

    Just an observation I had above on streaming were I have seen it operate. In my county (Wicklow), generally there is no streaming at U9 although the odd club implements it at the blitzes. Sometimes if we know we are playing a really weak or strong side, we will stream. No point in getting a hammering and vice versa.

    Its really down to the individual coaches and I suppose the problem can lie where a few coaches want things done one way and the parents don't really have a say. In your situation, I would maybe suggest that the coaches mix things up a bit more, ie keep changing the teams around to give the C players a shot a decent shot at moving up.

  • Registered Users Posts: 576 ✭✭✭ifah

    I'm a big advocate of streaming - we split up our now u10 team at start of last year into 3 groups (just for matches - all together for training) and the improvement at all levels has been very noticeable. The weaker kids have grown in confidence and are capable of playing great football/hurling given the chance and can hit decent scores while the quality of both hurling and football has improved immeasurably for the stronger kids. The middle team are really pushing hard also.
    We re-grade every week so kids know that if there's something we feel they need to work on they will get a chance to do it and if they are playing well they will get a chance to move up. Moving down is not a punishment - it's an opportunity to improve.

    We have about 38 kids so have good numbers to compete across the three stages of ability.

    I feel the biggest winners are the weak kids as they get a chance to shine which they never had at under 8 because the stronger/faster/more skilled/confident/aggressive/competitive kids always got to ball first and over shadowed them.

    Our GPO explained the science behind it very well in terms of player development - kids naturally progress and develop at different speeds at different stages in their life. Some will grow quicker, play harder and be stronger or more skillful than other kids but the main difference will always be down to brain speed and decision making. The more advanced kids are making decisions quicker during play in terms of whether to make a pass, take a shot, commit to a tackle, etc than the weaker kids are. This will give them an edge and they will generally always win whatever competition there are involved in when measured against others of similar skill etc. This encourages confidence which promotes development and interest, moving them further ahead of the weaker kids who will eventually adopt a "why bother" attitude if they are always being beaten.

    Keeping all the kids interested will naturally promote development. This is the main reason why streaming works so well. Kids (and parents) hate to lose, if a child is interested they will work at something more and develop quicker. Same is true from a parent encouragement perspective - show the parents something positive and they will encourage it.

    We had a perfect example 2 weeks ago in hurling - we dropped a kid (one of biggest on panel) down from b to c squad due to his striking not being quick enough. He could lift/catch no problem but striking from hand was too slow and he was always getting dispossessed. He wanted to give up hurling completely - we got him to come out - he won some great possessions and got some lovely strikes away because his opponents were a little slower into the tackle/block/hook. He scored a couple of goals, came off the field pronouncing that hurling is now his favourite sport and has been practicing at home against the wall. We have lots of stories like this.

    Caveat to this is that there will always be a couple of brilliant players in every squad - these are the ones you know will be challenging for county panels in the future - they are to be encouraged and challenged even more - we get that by coming up against other consistently good teams who will have similar types of players.