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Drive to help develop new players' skill

THE Dublin GAA's Planning For Success – Young Gaelic Player Pathway publication runs for 32 pages. It's simply laid out. It's packed with easy-to-follow drills.

The pathway is for players from four-years-of-age to minor level. It has five key stages.

1STAGE 1 (4-6 years) – Learning to master the ball: Should be about fun and participation with key emphasis on physical literacy and core movement skills with the ball.

1STAGE 2 (7-9 years) – Learning to use the ball well: Major skills learning phase where all the basic skills in football and hurling are learned.

1STAGE 3 (10-12 years) – Learning to play together: Emphasis on understanding how to play and work together as a team.

1STAGE 4 (13-15 years) – Learning about positions: The principles of play and applying good game sense increase.

1STAGE 5 (16-18 years) – Learning to perform: Combining all aspects of performance including decision-making, higher physical demands of the game and coping with competition.

The guide resulted from a wide consultation process. Many respected figures were asked for their views. And the Dublin County Board say it should be used as a working document.

But officials stress that the guidelines are not set in stone. It is a general guide and it can be used with a degree of flexibility.

The bottom line is all about helping a player develop to their full potential and making sure they enjoy the pathway they are on.

Seán Shanley delivered the jackpot shot when he declared: "Children should be learning the skills without even knowing it. They should be having fun."

And the more fun you have, the more nine-year-olds you can keep in the boots.

More information from the Dublin GAA Coaching Department, Parnell Park, Donnycarney, Dublin 5.

Email: aileen@dublingaa.ie. Phone: (01)-8058205.