Less Answers and Better Questions

With club GAA pre-season around the corner – or having started in some cases – there is no shortage of answers in the form of expertise, insights and the latest, greatest tools openly available in the online world. Not all of this is bad of course – however it’s all in the context of being the ‘definite’ answer. But answer to what?? Too often now GAA coaches, trainers and managers are looking outward first and foremost rather than taking a look inward. It seems they have all the answers but simply not enough of the right questions,


What do I mean??

How many out there have sat and reflected on the season past to arrive with an informed viewpoint of the key focus areas for 2018? Any that do arrive at a point where they understand clearly the issues that were hindering progress in 2017 and what they need to remedy in 2018. In short they focus on the definite issues and problems they need to solve – from here they can go about looking for a solution or solutions. Taking time to listen to the players, the management team and, most importantly, themselves can only help distill in their minds the exact puzzles that they need answers too and ensures that they don’t end up investing in solutions for issues that they may not firstly understand or issues that are not at the core of what the team needs to develop.

A nice example are the calls I take from coaches/managers looking to invest in VX SPORT™ GPS equipment. I see the role of Match-Fit during these calls as being a trusted adviser rather than a sales function. This is not painting my company in a saintly light – rather it’s being wise and looking long-term. Our initial conversation is to see if the potential client is the right fit for VX SPORT™– just why do they want to engage in player monitoring? Do they understand the issue that needs fixing, do they understand how we help clients all over the world with issues concerning performance levels and higher injury rates than they would like. Quite often we arrive at a place where both of us quickly understand that investment in a large quantity of one of the top-end VX SPORT™ models is maybe not the ‘answer’ they need right now – another model offering better value yet delivering top results suffices – invariably the assumed ‘answer’ becomes the clear wrong option when we interrogate the right questions a little.

To leave you I’m offering a simple check-list to help in terms of arriving with the right questions for anything coaching, S&C or sports science related – not definitive by any means but I’ve had great feedback that it has been a source of help to many coaches formulating specific questions in a world full of answers! Good luck in 2018!

  • What do I want to achieve?
  • Why do I want to achieve it?
  • How will I know when I’ve achieved the desired outcome? (What does success look like?)
  • How will I go about the task?
  • What resources/expertise do I need?
  • What support(s) do I need to max out the ‘answer’ I’ve arrived at?
  • Who can assist me?
  • Who is the best fit that has a track record of working in scenarios like ours.

Paul Clarke operates Match-Fit. Leveraging many years applied experience in coaching, sports science and S&C as well the power of technologies such as VX SPORT™ he works with coaches, players, clubs and teams all over Europe to assist them in developing performance environments that are appropriate towards delivering consistently high levels of performance. Every team/club presents a unique context and while the goals may be the same the path towards them often differs – this keeps life interesting!!

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Paul Clarke

Since 2002 Paul has developed a reputation for expertise in the vital performance-related areas of coaching, S&C, sports science and performance analysis. Teams, clubs, organisations, coaches and players from Ireland, UK, Europe and beyond have benefitted from the insights offered by the Match-Fit business as a result of the tailored and customised approach taken to creating a performance solution specific to each client. Through keeping performance and the player at the heart of all solutions, Match-Fit clients have realised that the solutions delivered not only benefit competitive performance but also the club/organisation as a complete sporting business entity.

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