Overview — By Pat Daly GAA Head of Games
The main objectives of the GAA’s Games Grassroots to National Programme (GNP) are to maximise participation and optimise playing standards. The big challenge for those in charge of teams is to ensure that games are structured to cater for the needs and abilities of those who participate.The GAA Coaching and Games Development Committee has developed 3 GO Games in Hurling and 3 in Gaelic Football known as —
First Touch (Age 7/8), Quick Touch (Age 9/10) and Smart Touch (Age 11/12)
— with a view to ensuring that children in both Schools and Clubs master the skills of the game in a positive playing environment and, in the process, derive maximum enjoyment from their involvement.
What are the Key Objectives of the Go Games?
The key objectives of the Go Games can be summarised as follows:
- Promote Full Participation: Provide playing opportunities for all children at their respective levels of participation by ensuring everyone gets to play in the game and that nobody remains a substitute. “Playing, not winning, is the name of the game.”
- Propagate the Principles of Fair Play: Promote sportsmanship by ensuring that all participants endeavour to play by the rules and give due respect to the opposition, the match officials and the game.
- Cater for the varying developmental needs of young players: Use modified playing rules and equipment that are appropriate to the age group and ability level of those participating
- Implement the GAA’s Code of Best Practice for Youth Sport: Give practical expression to the GAA’s Code of Best Practice for Youth Sport by invoking the principles of the Code at the fundamental levels of participation. N.B. While the playing rules for First, Quick and Smart Touch are not necessarily set in stone - the principle of ensuring that all participants get to play the full game is, as is the principle of not awarding medals or trophies arising from success in the Go Games.
What are the Benefits of the Go Games?
The benefits of the Go Games are:
- Increased enjoyment
- Increased number of touches on the ball
- Increased physical work rate
- Increased perception of competence
*Research conducted under the guidance of Professor Niall Moyna at the School of Health and Human Performance at DCU and presented at the 2004 National Coaching Conference
* To download the Go-Games coaching handbooks, go to www.gaa.ie