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Children running clubs

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,064 ✭✭✭ mcsean2163


    We're in Dublin 8 and have been trying to get our daughter into a club since November last year.

    There is no room still in the local club Donore Harrier's and no alternative. It looks like she'll miss out on competitive running altogether if this continues.

    Is it like this everywhere? Anyone have any ideas?


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  • mcsean2163 wrote: »
    We're in Dublin 8 and have been trying to get our daughter into a club since November last year.

    There is no room still in the local club Donore Harrier's and no alternative. It looks like she'll miss out on competitive running altogether if this continues.

    Is it like this everywhere? Anyone have any ideas?

    I think all running clubs have to operate on the child:coach/volunteer ratios set down by Athletics Ireland - not sure what they are, but it means they have limits on how many kids they can take. The more volunteers they have, the more kids they can take.




  • It's the same in the west. One of my kids did Little Athletics for 4-7 year old but that was 2 years ago, he's nearly 9 now and we haven't managed to transition to an A.C. I'm more than happy to do whatever courses and Garda vetting so that I can help out but still no joy. Child has no interest in ball sports but if he had there'd be no such issue getting him into GAA, Soccer, Rugby etc.




  • mcsean2163 wrote: »
    We're in Dublin 8 and have been trying to get our daughter into a club since November last year.

    There is no room still in the local club Donore Harrier's and no alternative. It looks like she'll miss out on competitive running altogether if this continues.

    Is it like this everywhere? Anyone have any ideas?

    Contact Tallaght A.C on their Facebook page




  • This is the situation with a lot of athletics clubs; and also with many other sports clubs.

    For example its very difficult to get into the local gymnastics club.

    Sports clubs are limited by (i) the amount of parents that get involved in coaching (ii) the facilities.

    The facilities are fixed and are very limited. In Dublin city north of the liffey you can count the number of running tracks on a thumb and one finger.

    Regarding the coaching - the thing that a lot of parents lose sight of is that coaching is actually other parents looking after your children for free. The running clubs are very stretched in this regard, they dont have enough volunteer coaches from what I can see.

    Regarding the facilities - there are probably 20 GAA clubs that at an individual level have better facililites than any athletics club in Dublin, which is obviously a function of funding.




  • Incidentally - watch out for the Junior Parkruns, great way to get kids running without having to join a club. They are starting up again soon.


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  • Tombo2001 wrote: »

    Regarding the coaching - the thing that a lot of parents lose sight of is that coaching is actually other parents looking after your children for free. .

    This is so true. I've done my fair share of kiddie coaching but there's a lad at our local GAA that takes the cake. Every Saturday literally hundreds of kids descend on the club for 3 hours and its simply brilliantly organized. He makes his way around to all the groups, facilitates all the volunteer "coaches" and "referees" that get dragged in on the day. Always smiling, clearly loves it as much as the kids. He is a legend. Gives a little compliment to a kid and they bounce back into their zone. I never played football but my youngest loves it and through his sheer joy I see so much. The skills, games, matches, fitness, movement they do.

    I come from the rugby world mainly and underage training is decent but my first view of underage GAA was something.

    My daughter plays it only because her friends do. She is much more interested in running and long jump but alas must be 8 before we can even apply her to a n AC :( She 's gone through dancing, gymnastics, swimming but its a track she wants




  • I'm a coach and registrar with my local AC and we have had a huge growth in juvenile memberships since the start of the year. There a few challenges for clubs to deal with when taking on members, we are constrained with the pods sizes introduced in covid times (13 kids plus two coaches make up a pod of 15) and also to meet the child/coach ratios to meet child protection requirements. The pod sizes are not bad things as from my point of view it's much easier to coach a smaller bunch and give more time to the kids, get to know them and help develop.
    Otherwise you can quickly find yourself becoming a child minding service with ratios getting pushed to the max, that's the specific reason why clubs enforce lower age limits. AAI membership can be granted from 4 years old if I recall correctly but many clubs have a lower age limit of 7/8 before allowing to join.
    Facilities and size of same is a big challenge too, most ACs don't have the resources and facilities of GAA clubs so you can be limited in a few ways as to how many kids you can train.

    Saying that we have taken on anyone who has looked for membership this year but we have been asking parents to help out and getting names down on a parents roster. We've had to add extra training times and move groups to them. In ways it's been a good problem but it's been more pressure and time taken up for everyone involved in coaching this year.

    But you can help this, in my own case I became a member of my club a few years before my daughter did (she joined when she turned 8) and I got involved with coaching to help out. If you approach the secretary in the club, look to join yourself as a member to get involved to help out. Initiate the garda vetting process, do an assistant coaching course (clubs usually pay for these) then I'd expect most if not all clubs would be more than glad to take your child on and likely will take some other kids on whose parents maybe cannot help for some reason.




  • This is so true. I've done my fair share of kiddie coaching but there's a lad at our local GAA that takes the cake. Every Saturday literally hundreds of kids descend on the club for 3 hours and its simply brilliantly organized. He makes his way around to all the groups, facilitates all the volunteer "coaches" and "referees" that get dragged in on the day. Always smiling, clearly loves it as much as the kids. He is a legend. Gives a little compliment to a kid and they bounce back into their zone. I never played football but my youngest loves it and through his sheer joy I see so much. The skills, games, matches, fitness, movement they do.

    I come from the rugby world mainly and underage training is decent but my first view of underage GAA was something.

    My daughter plays it only because her friends do. She is much more interested in running and long jump but alas must be 8 before we can even apply her to a n AC :( She 's gone through dancing, gymnastics, swimming but its a track she wants


    It's interesting how one's experiences can be so different. I had no prior experience of rugby til my then 5 year son went along to minis. I was very impressed with it. The coaches were just amazing, they always got down on their knees to talk to the kids at their level and they had a fairly strict rule of "silent side lines" so no parents shouting at their little Johnny to do better. They were just always so encouraging and basically lovely to each and every child regardless of whether the child was any good or not! I find the GAA to be much more hit & miss in coaching standards (though it is all voluntary and anyone who gives up their time is absolutely to be commended for that). My husband is very involved at the juvenile level, he arranges coaching courses but he finds it a battle to get the trainers to go along, understandably in one way as they are being asked to give up more of their valuable free time but a shame in another as the kids are missing out. My lad has had trainers from a young age who've throw all kinds of language at the kids even when they were playing at what was supposed to be non competitive matches :rolleyes: The Rugby put out a schedule with all the fixtures at the start of the season. GAA you can get a text the evening before saying match on tomorrow, there is a fixture list but it seems to be just a rough guide... It's very hard to plan ahead for the family, the kids are devastated if they have to miss a match, and in a small club with trouble fielding teams you don't want to let the team down by not having your kid available. My 11 year old has given up mini rugby now because he couldn't keep it up with football and soccer, this week he is training twice with football, once with soccer, has 2 football matches and 1 soccer match, so that is 6 days with either training or a match spread over 2 sports. I was sorry to see the rugby go but something had to give at the end of the day and he choose the GAA & soccer.




  • ariana` wrote: »
    It's interesting how one's experiences can be so different. I had no prior experience of rugby til my then 5 year son went along to minis. I was very impressed with it. The coaches were just amazing, they always got down on their knees to talk to the kids at their level and they had a fairly strict rule of "silent side lines" so no parents shouting at their little Johnny to do better. They were just always so encouraging and basically lovely to each and every child regardless of whether the child was any good or not! I find the GAA to be much more hit & miss in coaching standards (though it is all voluntary and anyone who gives up their time is absolutely to be commended for that). My husband is very involved at the juvenile level, he arranges coaching courses but he finds it a battle to get the trainers to go along, understandably in one way as they are being asked to give up more of their valuable free time but a shame in another as the kids are missing out. My lad has had trainers from a young age who've throw all kinds of language at the kids even when they were playing at what was supposed to be non competitive matches :rolleyes: The Rugby put out a schedule with all the fixtures at the start of the season. GAA you can get a text the evening before saying match on tomorrow, there is a fixture list but it seems to be just a rough guide... It's very hard to plan ahead for the family, the kids are devastated if they have to miss a match, and in a small club with trouble fielding teams you don't want to let the team down by not having your kid available. My 11 year old has given up mini rugby now because he couldn't keep it up with football and soccer, this week he is training twice with football, once with soccer, has 2 football matches and 1 soccer match, so that is 6 days with either training or a match spread over 2 sports. I was sorry to see the rugby go but something had to give at the end of the day and he choose the GAA & soccer.




    I help out with my boy in the gaa, we have hurling and football. We have a great group of mentors, usually have about 10-15 mentors and 65-75 kids per session.


    Our plan is always to keep it positive with the kids, keep them enjoying it.
    Matches are back now, schedule is known in advance that from start of July to Aug there will be a match every sat at 10.


    Communication between the mentors is great, but seeing the smiles on the kids last sat for their first match was amazing. They were buzzing when training last Monday from it.


    But i do believe parents should help out in at least one sport their kid is playing




  • I was in a similar position as yourself a number of years ago. I hadn’t a choice to try another club unless I wanted to drive 45 mins each way. Tried for years to get him into the local club. Eventually got him in when I put my name down to help. Gosh you learn so much by helping out. And it does make you think how most activities would not go ahead only for people volunteering their time.


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  • I help out with my boy in the gaa, we have hurling and football. We have a great group of mentors, usually have about 10-15 mentors and 65-75 kids per session.


    Our plan is always to keep it positive with the kids, keep them enjoying it.
    Matches are back now, schedule is known in advance that from start of July to Aug there will be a match every sat at 10.


    Communication between the mentors is great, but seeing the smiles on the kids last sat for their first match was amazing. They were buzzing when training last Monday from it.


    But i do believe parents should help out in at least one sport their kid is playing

    It must be just a local thing so but our fixtures seem to be ever moving and have definitely never been a fixed day and time. My eldest plays U11, U12 & U13 so he could have 3 matches a week and they could be evenings or weekends and they could be changed the evening before. I think the issue is for small clubs where you might have only 6-7 boys in a class, to field a team they need to pull on a few classes and it's probably why fixtures get moved about as they are trying to spread them over the week so the lads can be available for multiple matches, doubling or tripling up which is the case for my lad this year.

    The younger kids are grand, it's a lot easier when they just play in in 1 age category and they're not playing competitive leagues either, it's all about the fun and the packet of jellies & bag of crisps at the end of the season rather than the silverware or the dreaded relegation!

    I totally agree about getting involved in some aspect, doesn't have to be sport though, could be scouts or just in the community in general. I seem to have got roped into a lot of fundraising over the years - school, GAA, community playground... It all takes time. But as I tell my kids in relation to housework - if everyone did a little, nobody would have to do a lot! Sadly it doesn't seem to work that way :rolleyes:




  • Tombo2001 wrote: »
    Incidentally - watch out for the Junior Parkruns, great way to get kids running without having to join a club. They are starting up again soon.

    I haven't heard anything on that front. Is it confirmed?




  • This is so true. I've done my fair share of kiddie coaching but there's a lad at our local GAA that takes the cake. Every Saturday literally hundreds of kids descend on the club for 3 hours and its simply brilliantly organized. He makes his way around to all the groups, facilitates all the volunteer "coaches" and "referees" that get dragged in on the day. Always smiling, clearly loves it as much as the kids. He is a legend. Gives a little compliment to a kid and they bounce back into their zone. I never played football but my youngest loves it and through his sheer joy I see so much. The skills, games, matches, fitness, movement they do.

    I come from the rugby world mainly and underage training is decent but my first view of underage GAA was something.

    My daughter plays it only because her friends do. She is much more interested in running and long jump but alas must be 8 before we can even apply her to a n AC :( She 's gone through dancing, gymnastics, swimming but its a track she wants

    Wouldn’t be Lucan Sarsfields you’re talking about there by any chance?




  • FinnC wrote: »
    Wouldn’t be Lucan Sarsfields you’re talking about there by any chance?

    I'm in Limerick




  • I'm in Limerick

    Ah fair enough, there is a guy in Lucan Sarsfields who is exactly like you describe, he’s brilliant with the kids.






  • But i do believe parents should help out in at least one sport their kid is playing

    This.

    I've been coaching for a number of years and I'd fairly strongly believe its taken for granted by a lot of parents.

    I see a lot of families out there where kids are going to this that and the other club, but neither parent has ever offerred to help out.

    "I cant do it because I'm too busy with my job". Great, so you can work on your career while I look after your kids?

    Worse again the odd one will start complaining (in the background) that the coaches arent good enough.

    I coach in GAA - hands up, I've never played a GAA match in my life.

    But here's the thing complaining parent, the reason I am doing it is because if I dont do it there wont be a training session.




  • Pawwed Rig wrote: »
    I haven't heard anything on that front. Is it confirmed?

    I thought I saw something on Facebook recently - I'd be very surprised if they are not back in the next few months




  • Tombo2001 wrote: »
    I coach in GAA - hands up, I've never played a GAA match in my life.

    But here's the thing complaining parent, the reason I am doing it is because if I dont do it there wont be a training session.

    :pac: I wonder do the kids realise that what you are teaching them is something you learned minutes before?

    I remember being asked to demonstrate the 'lock position' during hurling training to a group of toddlers?

    The what now? :pac:

    I quit the GAA and volunteered at scouts. Tents and knots I can manage.

    I do think there is a fear from some parents that they may not be able to give the coaching and then there is the (understandable) fear from Dads that they might be accused of something down the line.
    That said even at parkrun jnr we sometimes struggle for volunteers. All you have to do is stand there and clap for some of the roles ffs




  • Tombo2001 wrote: »
    This.

    I've been coaching for a number of years and I'd fairly strongly believe its taken for granted by a lot of parents.

    I see a lot of families out there where kids are going to this that and the other club, but neither parent has ever offerred to help out.

    "I cant do it because I'm too busy with my job". Great, so you can work on your career while I look after your kids?

    Worse again the odd one will start complaining (in the background) that the coaches arent good enough.

    I coach in GAA - hands up, I've never played a GAA match in my life.

    But here's the thing complaining parent, the reason I am doing it is because if I dont do it there wont be a training session.




    I had to take a u8 hockey match one time, way out of my comfort zone but so much fun with the kids. We won 2 out of three and high fives all around for the kids




  • I had to take a u8 hockey match one time, way out of my comfort zone but so much fun with the kids. We won 2 out of three and high fives all around for the kids

    It can be very rewarding.


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  • Pawwed Rig wrote: »
    All you have to do is stand there and clap for some of the roles ffs

    "Well done, keep going.......well done, keep going......well done, keep going......"



    Incidentally, Albert College Jr Parkrun had a message up on Facebook saying they expect to be back soon, didnt know date but expecting it over summer.




  • Coaching kids is 90% encouragment. There is a woman who coaches u10 football with me, never played the game but is about 100 times better at it than me.

    Athletics is asking the head coach what were doing and away we go.I've ended up with an older sprint group this year so I have to learn too.

    Its the ones that don"t have kids that amaze me, more in gaa than athletics , they are totally committed. I'd be like that in athletics, i,'ll be still coaching after my children have gone.




  • Yeah I agree with coaching being more about encouragement at a young age. I coached the only girls football club in my area with another girl from U8's up to U13s, that final season we won our league which was amazing for their confidence. We had such a mixture of talent & abilities but we always encouraged the fun element and fair play whilst progressing the natural talent some displayed. It wasn't easy being 2 women doing it, a lot of sideline dads trying to tell us how to play the matches etc, but with the club behind us thankfully that was stopped. I asked a few of the dad's to volunteer & got the usual replies. When I had to give it up unfortunately the team folded because they couldn't get anymore volunteers. I have to say it was hugely rewarding to see the difference in the girls over the years but I definitely could have done without the headaches a lot of parents created!




  • Yeah I agree with coaching being more about encouragement at a young age. I coached the only girls football club in my area with another girl from U8's up to U13s, that final season we won our league which was amazing for their confidence. We had such a mixture of talent & abilities but we always encouraged the fun element and fair play whilst progressing the natural talent some displayed. It wasn't easy being 2 women doing it, a lot of sideline dads trying to tell us how to play the matches etc, but with the club behind us thankfully that was stopped. I asked a few of the dad's to volunteer & got the usual replies. When I had to give it up unfortunately the team folded because they couldn't get anymore volunteers. I have to say it was hugely rewarding to see the difference in the girls over the years but I definitely could have done without the headaches a lot of parents created!

    Thats very interesting because for me, one of the biggest issues with the underage mentoring (in GAA anyway) is that there are so few women involved. I am with one boys underage group (u13) and one girls group (u11).
    Both groups have about 15 mentors, there are no women on the boys group and three women on the girls group. So the kids are hearing 90% male voices in the coaching sessions.

    Even the fact that the children are segregated for me is open to question as a lot of the girls are just as good as the boys.

    And to your point, if there are barriers they have to be addressed and that would be a very obvious one. Similarly, last week we had to tell a parent to stop shouting at the Ref - apart from anything else, we ask the children not to answer back to the Ref, so the least we expect from parents is to do the same.

    In fairness, the athletics seems a lot more balanced though, and the children are mixed up to about u11. The challenge I find with the underage athletics is that while the kids love running, none of their friends do it .




  • jamule wrote: »
    Coaching kids is 90% encouragment. There is a woman who coaches u10 football with me, never played the game but is about 100 times better at it than me.

    Athletics is asking the head coach what were doing and away we go.I've ended up with an older sprint group this year so I have to learn too.

    Its the ones that don"t have kids that amaze me, more in gaa than athletics , they are totally committed. I'd be like that in athletics, i,'ll be still coaching after my children have gone.

    Would love to know what drills or methods ye do when practicing sprinting.




  • Tombo2001 wrote: »
    Even the fact that the children are segregated for me is open to question as a lot of the girls are just as good as the boys.

    GAA is segregated at all levels because there are different governing bodies for the games. The GAA is the male body whereas LGFA and Camogie Association are the female bodies.

    In soccer there is also some segregation but in juvenile soccer you can mix. Generally boys can't play in girls' teams but in some leagues up to U16 girls can play in boys' teams. I don't know of any adult mixed teams.

    I coach the a local soccer academy that is mixed and some of the girls are outstanding and every bit as good as the boys. But a lot of the girls drop out of the mixed teams by the time they reach U9 because they want to play in girls-only teams, or concentrate on other sports like gymnastics.




  • On the topic of parents not helping out, I can appreciate that some parents have circumstances where they just can't. For most of my older son's years I travelled extensively for work and it just wasn't possible to volunteer with the clubs. Now that my job doesn't require so much travel I'm free to help out with my younger son's activities and give back to clubs that my older son got so much from. I also understand that some other parents have already done their time volunteering in one of the local clubs (we have GAA, soccer, and athletics) with their other children.

    But, there are some parents who will come to every training session and match and just stand and watch. They haven't ever volunteered with any of the other clubs and when asked to help out they refuse. It grinds my gears because we have made it clear to parents that we are short of helpers.




  • longrunn wrote: »
    GAA is segregated at all levels because there are different governing bodies for the games. The GAA is the male body whereas LGFA and Camogie Association are the female bodies.

    Still silly.
    I know our kids are mixed up until the under 7s and then they go separately.

    We seem to have a fondness for unnecessary segregation in this country for some reason (which is straying off the topic).

    I would concur with the poster above re ratios. There are very few mothers involved as volunteers at GAA for either boys or girls teams whereas the athletics the split is about 50:50, soccer was all Dads. Our scouts is about 50:50 aswell. Makes sense when you consider the participation ratios at teenager and adult levels.




  • Pawwed Rig wrote: »
    Still silly.
    I know our kids are mixed up until the under 7s and then they go separately.

    We seem to have a fondness for unnecessary segregation in this country for some reason (which is straying off the topic).

    I would concur with the poster above re ratios. There are very few mothers involved as volunteers at GAA for either boys or girls teams whereas the athletics the split is about 50:50, soccer was all Dads. Our scouts is about 50:50 aswell. Makes sense when you consider the participation ratios at teenager and adult levels.


    LGFA made the decision to split.



    Our daughters mentors would be 50:50 split


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  • LGFA made the decision to split.

    Doesn't really matter whose decision it was. We segregate in this country as much as possible in many instances where it is unnecessary. Schools are another good example. Big bugbear of mine.


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