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Silent Sidelines: Kerry GAA ask parents to stop shouting at kids

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“One parent is yelling ‘shoot it’ – that’s usually the player’s parent. One parent is yelling ‘pass the ball’ – that’s usually someone else’s parent who wants the kid to pass the ball to their son. Another is saying ‘dribble it’. So who’s the kid supposed to listen to?”

Kevin Eastman is a top collegiate and professional basketball coach who was an assistant at the Boston Celtics when they won the NBA Championships back in 2008.

Eastman once conducted an experiment with a young AAU team that involved placing a player at midcourt and covering his eyes with a blindfold. He then asked all of the players’ parents who were in attendance to direct the young man on how to get to the basket and make a shot. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t go well.

“A couple of them were yelling, ‘go right, go right!’ Two others were going, ‘left, left!’ The other was saying, ‘turn around!’ All of a sudden, the kid was so confused that he was nowhere near the basket,” Eastman explains in a video for the Positive Coaching Alliance.

“Half-way there I told him to stop and I said (to the parents), ‘this is what they’re hearing’.”

In recent years, the issue of over-zealous parents making a nuisance of themselves at sporting events has become a major talking point globally and Ireland is no exception. Anyone who regularly attends underage football games in this part of the world can tell illuminating tales of mothers and fathers who are guilty not only of over-instruction but also of directing abuse at coaches, referees and even players, at every age group from U10s right up to minor.

In fact, the problem has become so severe in the GAA that administrators have encouraged the implementation of Silent Sidelines in various juvenile competitions right across the country.

The terms of the innovative Silent Sideline initiative stipulate that each team nominates one lead coach. That lead coach is the only person who can interact with the children once the game begins, which means that parents and spectators must refrain from communicating with the players throughout.

Applause and positive feedback for scores and good play is permitted, but in general shouting is discouraged. Two Silent Sideline signs, similar to the ‘quiet please’ signs seen at major golf tournaments, are held up by adults throughout the match.

Earlier this month, Kerry GAA and Kerry Coiste na nÓg introduced the practice for U12 County League games, with all participating clubs asked to co-operate. As well as helping to retain and attract more referees (who are less likely to receive abuse from angry parents), the initiative also encourages kids to think for themselves when they’re out on the pitch.

Speaking to the Killarney Advertiser, Killarney Legion U12 coach Donal O’Leary says the Silent Sideline has worked very well so far.

“I’ve noticed that the kids are feeling more like it’s their game rather than the coach’s or mom and dad’s,” he said.

“Parents are well-intentioned 99% of the time but I think this is just an educational thing. You think you’re doing the right thing by saying, ‘go on Johnny, kick it!’ but you’re actually better off letting the children make their own mistakes and learn from them.

“It’ll also help to change the culture in our game, where it’s acceptable to basically say what you want on the sideline. It’s a good initiative all around and it’s definitely something we believe in.”

IN-GAME COACHING

Coach Eastman isn’t the only expert to have questioned the practice of (and logic behind) shouting instructions at players during games.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has said that coaching players during games is difficult, even for him.

“I would like to have a timeout like basketball but that can’t happen. I think managers move a lot (on the sideline) and make a lot of gestures, but it’s more to release adrenaline or pressure, because the players don’t understand too much what we are saying.”

If one of the best coaches in the world finds it hard to give meaningful instructions to his players once a game kicks off, what hope does an unqualified (in sporting terms) parent of an 11-year-old Gaelic footballer have?

Eastman has also spoken of the role he played at his own son’s high school basketball games. Fellow parents often asked why this elite level coach wasn’t telling his child what to do when he was out on the floor.

“The answer is simple,” Eastman said. “I’m a parent, not a coach. I’ll clap for Jake but I very seldom even say ‘good shot’ or anything like that, because for that time period I’m the dad, not a coach. His coach is his coach.”

Whatever about the questionable rationale of shouting at children when they’re playing sport, one also has to consider the destructive and long-term impact negative feedback can have on a young person.

One simple, throwaway comment today can affect someone’s self-esteem for years. If we’re not careful with our words, we run the risk of pushing youngsters away from sport altogether and, far worse than that, leaving them with emotional scars that last for years, far away from the courts and the playing fields.

In that regard, Kerry GAA’s Silent Sideline project certainly appears to be a step in the right direction.

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Fans return to Fitzgerald Stadium after eight months

By Sean Moriarty Officials from Fitzgerald Stadium remain hopeful that crowd capacity at the venue can be increased to 500 spectators in time for the Munster final on July 25 – subject to both national health guidelines and Kerry qualifying for the game. Last Saturday evening’s National League semi-final between Kerry and Tyrone was the […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Officials from Fitzgerald Stadium remain hopeful that crowd capacity at the venue can be increased to 500 spectators in time for the Munster final on July 25 – subject to both national health guidelines and Kerry qualifying for the game.

Last Saturday evening’s National League semi-final between Kerry and Tyrone was the first game at the stadium since the 2020 Kerry Petroleum Intermediate Club Football Championship Quarter-Final when Glenbeigh-Glencar played Beaufort on October 4 last year.

Due to current restrictions only 200 fans were allowed attend Saturday’s big match. That will remain in place for Kerry’s opening Munster Championship tie with Clare on June 26.

“It had been more than eight months since Fitzgerald Stadium welcomed back fans to the venue,” stadium PRO Tatyana McGough told the Killarney Advertiser. “Everything went exceptionally well.”

She is hopeful that more restrictions will be eased on July 5, paving the way for an increase in capacity to 500 fans in time for the July 25 Munster Final.

“It is likely that from July 5 up to 500 spectators may be permitted to attend games. We hope this number will increase for the Munster Final. If it is a Cork versus Kerry Munster Final the game will be fixed for Sunday July 25 at 4pm in the Fitzgerald Stadium. The stadium’s staff are very confident in being able to host any number of fans that may be allowed.”

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Garda appeal to park legally at beaches and public amenities

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An Garda Siochana is appealing to the public to park legally in designated car parks and spaces when visiting beaches, beauty spots and other public amenities. 

The good weather has seen an increase in dangerous illegal parking at these locations across the country in recent weeks. An Garda Siochana wants people to enjoy the summer but do so safely.

Parking illegally can lead to unnecessary risk and dangers such as pedestrians being forced to walk along dangerous roads. It can also prevent emergency services from gaining access to these amenities a seaside locations which could lead to the loss of life. 

“We encourage the public to plan their journeys and think safety first when parking your vehicle,” the Gardai said in a statement. 

“The outcome of parking illegally could be far more serious than a FCPN or vehicle towing and puts others and your own life at risk. 

An Garda Siochana reminds and encourages the public to social distance and follow public health guidelines when attending these locations this Summer.

An Garda Siochana is also supporting National Water Safety Awareness Week (June 14th – 20th). Information on this campaign and general water safety can be found on Water Safety Irelands Website – www.watersafety.ie/national-water-safety-awareness-week/

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IFTA nomination for Jessie Buckley

By Michelle Crean  Killarney’s Jessie Buckley is up for an award as the 2021 Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTA) nominations were announced this week. Jessie has been nominated as Best Actress in a Lead Role Film category for her work in Charlie Kaufman’s surreal ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’. Winners will be announced at […]

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By Michelle Crean
 

Killarney’s Jessie Buckley is up for an award as the 2021 Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTA) nominations were announced this week.

Jessie has been nominated as Best Actress in a Lead Role Film category for her work in Charlie Kaufman’s surreal ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’. Winners will be announced at a virtual IFTA awards ceremony which will be broadcast on Virgin Media One on Sunday, July 4.

Other well-known Irish actors up for awards include Brendan Gleeson for ‘The Comey Rule’, Paul Mescal for ‘Normal People’, Dervla Kirwan ‘Smother’ and Gabriel Byrne for ‘Death of a Ladies Man’.

Over the past few months during lockdown, the Irish Academy Members have been busy viewing, deliberating, and shortlisting the very best work from across great Irish films, performances, and achievements.

Nominations have been shortlisted by Irish Academy members alongside a specialist jury panel of industry experts from around the world.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be no physical IFTA Awards Ceremony until March 2022, in keeping with COVID guidelines and best international practice.

Further details about the show and the international guest participants will be announced shortly.

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