Wednesday 12 December 2018

Keegan proposes overhaul for games

Gary Keegan, Director of the Irish Institute of Sport. Photo: Sportsfile
Gary Keegan, Director of the Irish Institute of Sport. Photo: Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

A significant overhaul in how games development operates in the GAA is proposed in a report by former Irish Institute of Sport director Gary Keegan which was presented to the most recent Central Council meeting.

Keegan's report calls for change in the development of policy and how a national games development committee and games development executive should operate.

Critically, the former Irish Amateur Boxing Association high performance director, synonymous with Olympic success in the 2008 Beijing Games, says the current system is not geared to translate strategy into results.

"Considering its professional structure and level of investment, games development needs to ensure a return on that investment in areas such as the retention of players, their performance development - including coaching standards - and their lifecycle management over the longer term," the report reads.

"It must have the mechanisms and capacity to influence these areas and be able to demonstrate that the large investment delivers a return.

"The current system is not geared to translate strategy into investment then into practice and finally into results," it adds.

Among the proposals to address this is the establishment of a critical data insights unit within Croke Park, outside the national games development and research department, which reports to the director-general and which will have responsibility for the monitoring and evaluation and collection and interpretation of insights from games development activities nationally.

The GAA, at central level, spent more than e10m on games development in 2017, 17pc of its overall income.

In his report, Keegan believes a key cornerstone of policy should be to increase participation, specifically placing "more emphasis on what is being done to maximise the recruitment, participation and retention of volunteer coaches, mentors, referees and teachers".

The report proposes that a "suitably qualified independent chairperson" for the National Games Development Committee and "subject matter experts in coach education, participation, talent development, sports science and player welfare should be appointed as part of an "expert advisory group."

The report also says that there is "significant scope" to develop the relationships between national and provincial managers.

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