VIDEO: Kerry U20 manager Jack O’Connor on developing players for the Kingdom's famous production line
Jack O’Connor is no stranger to managerial pressure and success. He guided the Kerry senior football team to three All-Ireland titles in 2002, 2006 and 2009 but has now taken on a challenge of a different kind.
Having returned to management in his role as the Kerry U20 manager, O’Connor is tasked with developing the next generation of superstars for his county. The Kingdom is famed for its production line of footballing talent and its ability to continually renew its senior line-up with talented, young footballers.
According to O’Connor, Kerry’s football factory only works if the county players coming through have the commitment and dedication needed to succeed. Having talent alone is not enough when it comes to making the step up from underage to senior football.
“To be a senior intercounty footballer, it’s a lifestyle choice more than anything else,” says O'Connor, in a new video by Eirgrid, sponsors of the EirGrid GAA U20 Football Championship.
“They obviously have to enjoy it but they have to really dedicate themselves to the lifestyle that’s required. That is what it requires - It’s 24/7.”
He breaks down all the factors that young players must be aware of, from match preparation to lifestyle choices to the sports science that has become such a big part of the modern game.
O’Connor discusses the challenges of preparing the next generation from a coaching point of view and the importance of using methods like “guided discovery” to bring on his charges. It's all part of bringing young players on and helping them to progress and find success at senior level.
Just like O'Connor, Eirgrid's management of Ireland's electricity grid is designed to yield great results now while also laying the groundwork for future success.
To hear him discuss management, player development and the challenges of the modern game, watch the full video below.