17 August 2023
~6 minutes read
Gaelic Games Associations Committed to Go Games to Give Every Child a Go
The GAA, the Camogie Association and Ladies Gaelic Football Association are launching the updated Go Games Policy as a reaffirmation of our collective commitment to nurture a passion for Gaelic games in young boys and girls and to do this through a positive coaching environment of inclusion and to ensure every child has an opportunity to learn and develop their skills.
Go Games are Camogie, Hurling and Gaelic Football for children up to and including 12 years of age, where every child gets to play (a Go) in every game, for the full game and since has been responsible for significant growth in participation levels since its introduction in 2010. It is estimated that Juvenile membership in Gaelic Games is in the region of 250,000 young people.
As part of this relaunch we are delighted to launch the Go Games Workshop which is aimed at coaches and parents of children involved in Go Games. The short online workshop will ensure that participants will be able to apply the new Gaelic Games Go Games model effectively in coaching sessions and in running blitzes in line with national policy where games and pitch sizes can be modified to maximise full participation in the games.
From our experience, Children participate in Gaelic Games for a number of reasons – to have fun, to play with friends, parental encouragement, etc. However, a lack of fun, lack of perceived competence and an over-emphasis on competitive outcomes (which usually come from coaches and parents) are major reasons for dropout.
Players can generally learn the basic skills of Camogie, Hurling and Gaelic Football with relative ease. The better players who practise more often, come on faster than those who only participate in collective coaching sessions. However, players find it more difficult to develop the ability to make the right decisions – when to pass, whom to pass to, where to run, etc. – in full-sided games. However, through small-sided games the aim is to optimise their decision-making and at the same time enhance their technical development.
The original Go Games policy outlined that there was no provision made to publish scores, to play on a knock-out basis nor to include finals, or to present trophies, cups, etc. Through the relaunch/update of the policy, alongside the GAA, Camogie Association and LGFA are working to ensure there is a greater understanding and compliance in relation to elements of the policy including the non-competitive nature of Go Games. Putting ALL children at the centre of what we do is paramount for the three Associations.
Clubs who want to run a blitz/festival of activity outside of their own county Go Games programme can now use the online application process. This can be found on the dedicated Go Games page
Uachtarán CLG Larry McCarthy said:
“We all know there are lots of benefits to children who take part in sport. But what should always be at the top of that is the fun and enjoyment that they get out of their involvement. Go Games has been central to the successful rise in participation in Gaelic Games and develops young people and teaches them the skills of hurling and football and camogie. It is the first step in what we want to be a lifelong participation in Gaelic games and ensuring that every child gets a go and that no one is made to feel excluded or unwanted is at the heart of that philosophy.”
Camogie Association President Hilda Breslin said:
“It gives me great pleasure to see the launch of the Gaelic Games Policy and the rebranding of Go Games to include all four codes of Camogie, Hurling, Ladies Football, and Gaelic Football and is a significant step towards inclusivity and universal experiences for children involved in Gaelic Games.
The focus on age appropriateness and development in the Gaelic Games Go Games policy is commendable. The use of small-sided games and the phased approach to altering pitch dimensions and rules provides young players with the best opportunity to practice and enhance their skills. This player-centred and skill-focused approach aligns with the Gaelic Games Player Pathway, ensuring a cohesive and progressive development for players as they grow.”
Ladies Gaelic Football Association President Mícheál Naughton said:
“Our young and emerging players are the future of our sports and it’s vital that they are shown the right path for long-term development. In their young years, and as they develop a love for Gaelic Games, we should ensure that our young boys and girls are given as many chances as possible to participate and play.
For so many players, Go Games affords them the opportunity to improve and hone their skills in a nurturing environment. The long-term benefits of competing in our sports are endless but players will only remain with us and stay committed if they are immersed in a welcoming environment from a young age. It is imperative that we facilitate this and Go Games plays such a key role. Every child gets a Go and this will enhance the feeling of being included and having the opportunity to grow and develop at an appropriate pace.”
Why Go Games?
To support the participation and development of the Under-12 player, the following principles underpin Go Games:
- All participants play in the full game.
- Participant needs are catered for at U7, U8, U9, U10, U11, U12.
- Activities are structured in a manner which optimises the level of fun, friendship, fair play and achievement derived by participants.
- Participants train and play in a safe, supportive and stimulating environment where they are encouraged to risk error, to learn and to derive maximum enjoyment from their involvement.
- Players master the basic skills of Camogie, Hurling and Gaelic Football and experience the sense of accomplishment, which derives from acquiring playing proficiency on the left and right hand side of the body.
- Everybody involved in Go Games, whether as players, parents/guardians, spectators, mentors, teachers, officials etc., should adhere to the key underpinning principles and give expression to the GAA ‘Give Respect, Get Respect’ and the LGFA’s ‘Take a second’ initiative.
The Go Games policy, principles and resources can all be found here