By Patrick Sharey,
With many people renewing their passports with eased travel restrictions at what many hope is the end of the Covid 19 pandemic, many ambitious Gaelic Footballers and hurlers will also be looking for a different kind of passport. There is a new GAA-themed ‘player passport’.
Dubliner Shane Casey has this new invention which is used via a mobile app that is used to capture data at key milestones in a young players athletic development which directly aligns with the GAA’s “Gaelic Games Player Pathway”. Mr.Casey explained it saying: “Yeah, I suppose the idea of a GAA player passport is in order to track the development of the players journey throughout their playing career, within the GAA. So right from grassroots, up from juvinile into the adult game. The concept of where it came from is probably through my own experience with the GAA. So I’ve played GAA all my life in my local club in Finglas, Dublin here as well and I went through that process through juvenile”.
Casey added: “So I played from under six, under seven all the way up until the senior football and hurling. Unfortunately I am on the way back down now where I play intermediate and I now play junior hurling at the moment with the club but I suppose the idea with that over the last 18 months with members of the club we were developing a development plan for the club within the games itself with football, hurling, camogie and ladies football and long term athletic development”.
“When you talk about long term athletic development, people talk about strength and conditioning and all that sort of stuff but it actually brings you back to when you look at the fundamentals of children’s development. You are talking about the fundamental movement skills that kids have and that’s all part of the long-term atheltic development plan of players.”
“So with that idea, the issue that we were finding was that the GAA at the moment has great initiaves out there like the ‘player pathway’ and a few other great initaves. The problem we were having, is that it was very difficult to capture that information so we were planning to implement certain initatives. How do we know they were actually working? How do we know that when we did this training with the kids, what we were teaching them was actually developing them, where they were skill-based or athletic-based? That’s really where the idea of the player passport came from and then we got confirmation then we won the GAA hackathon there last year in 2021 with the idea of the player passport. So that gave it the vlaidation that we were looking for that actually hold on, there is potential here for it. We are not the only one thaat are having these issuesn about how do we understand or how do we capture all those KPIs (Key Performance indicatiors) of players as they go through that process in the GAA.”
every buisness person has to find a gap in the market before launching a product for the market. Shane says: Yeah well if you look there is over 2,600 clubs in the GAA and the majority of them would have juvinile teams. All the coaches themselves are finding it quite difficult to capture information. So this is a tool that will aid coaches, the teams and the clubs to track the development of the players themseleves. So yeah I can see the gap in thre market. I don’t see technolgy specific for this space at the momment. There is a lot of stuff at the high level at the momment. When we talk about the elitie players or the senior teams within clubs, there is a lot of informations being gathered here at the momment but when you bring it back to the grass roots level, there is very little information being captured there at the momment.
The Dublinner added: “You know yourself when you are building a house it is built, brick by brick. if you don’t have the foundations done correctly it is not going to stay up and that’s the approach we are taking as well. We are going to focus on the fundamentals”.
“You know it is to help them to move correctly for sports specific stuff, football or hurling or camogie or ladies football.” At this momment in time you can request to try out the Beta version of the GAA ‘player passport’ on their website. Many clubs are back training.
The real test for any company will be the rection the general public. The North Dubliner said: ” yeah, it has been huge. So we have completed the MVP, so we have completed the product and we are going to go to our local club for a trial and then there is another club in Dublin that we are going to be trialing it with. So with initial reactions from coaches and even at a county board level it has been massive. The feeedback has been great so far”.
The Finglas man added: “A lot of people in key positions like the games promotion officers or the games development officers are giving great feedback that they can see the benefit in this technolgy”.
However this is only the begining and there is a bright future for the GAA ‘player passport’.
What will the sucess of the GAA ‘Player passport amount to in five years time? Mr. Casey says: “Yeah I thin k it is always going to be evolving anyways. So, like initally I am focusing on the GAA, that’s where my passion is. What we are trying to do here is benefit it to fit thr GAA as a whole, whether it is an individual, team or a club. That is the ultamite goal to bring forward the games to make it easier for coaches in the game. We know that they are all volunteers and it makes life easier for them. That’s number one but if you look across sports, the fundamental movements, no matter if it’s GAA, soccer, basketball, cricket, or whatever other sport again it is the basis. that’s what you need to look at there.”
Casey added: “Thats the foundation in which athleted develop. If a young child has difficulty in running or hopping or jumping or skipping and they don’t learn those skills at a young age, it is very diffcult for them to excel in a sport or even in long term activity wheher it’s indoor sport or outdoor sport”.
“So that’s what we are aiming at. So over the next five years, what we want to do is expand it to other sectors. So we have our foundations. We understand fundamental movement and then you are looking at the sport specific skills. So that can be modified for soccer, basketball or cricket like i mentioned. It can qualifiy for any sport”. Consumers will certaintly have their eyes pealed over the next five yesrs to see what Shane Casey can achieve for the next generation of gaelic footballers and hurlers with the GAA ‘player passport’.
There is many diffrent programs and in itaves out there in the modern day world of strength and conditioning but what sets the player passport apart. Shane believes: “Yeah I suppose what sets it apart is, we are working with the GAA on this. We are working with the Dublin games development team here. We are trying to focus on the greeat work that has been done in the GAA to date. it is a great inititave that is currently there. The recent moving welll, being well initave which has just been rolled out there and then you also have the U-Can awards or the skill star challange. So there is lots of material out there for coahes at the momment for the GAA. Again, what sets us a part is we are trying to gather all the best pieces of that and actually allow coaches to provide that profile of a player.”
The Dubliner added: “Again if they capture that information regarding that assesment, building that profile and then tracking that individual throughout it’s playing carrer. So at the momment there is nothing reeally out there to date that allows coaches to do that, so that’s what the player passport is about.”
A Beta request for the GAA ‘player passport’ can be requested through this here link -https://www.playerpassport.ie/?fbclid=IwAR35apFZkjoBZkwMIL37LeeiRTXSX6nCS2brkpS0rWrEJsP3wImZktE2hqc