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Managing Alcohol in the Club Teams - The hidden challenge for the coach . John Leahy, Tipperary Hurler and Aileen Tohill, Ulster GAA. Contents. Relationship between alcohol and sport New GAA research Role of the Coach Challenges Identifying signs Offering help. Alcohol and Sport.

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Managing alcohol in the club teams the hidden challenge for the coach l.jpg

Managing Alcohol in the Club Teams - The hidden challenge for the coach

John Leahy, Tipperary Hurler and Aileen Tohill, Ulster GAA


Contents l.jpg
Contents for the coach

  • Relationship between alcohol and sport

  • New GAA research

  • Role of the Coach

  • Challenges

  • Identifying signs

  • Offering help


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Alcohol and Sport for the coach

  • Traditionally there has been a strong association between alcohol and sport

    • Sport can have a positive influence on adolescents on their use of alcohol and drugs compared to peers

    • However, being involved in sport as an adult may encourage greater intake of alcohol

    • Athletes involved in team sports may be at greater risk of excessive drinking than individual athletes


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Alcohol and Sport for the coach

  • Research has identified that alcohol is:

    • Commonly associated with team bonding behaviours

    • Frequently consumed in binges

    • Heavily associated with both win and lose scenarios

    • Used as a relief from stress


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Alcohol and Sport for the coach


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New Research for the coach

Team Problems Caused by Alcohol & Other Drugs for GAA Coaches

Brendan Murphy & Mark Gottsche, November 2010

  • 347 GAA coaches questioned

  • Responses sought around their opinions, experiences and attitudes

  • Looks at the extent of the problem


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Main findings for the coach

  • 81% of coaches felt the use of alcohol and other drugs to be a ‘serious’ or ‘very serious’ problem in Ireland

  • 52% felt a team they coached had been affected by a players use of alcohol or other drugs

    What do you think were the main ways teams had been affected?


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Alcohol and Sport for the coach

  • Missing training

  • Under performing

  • Missing matches

  • Arriving under the influence

  • Disruptive

  • Injury as a result


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Coach’s Influence for the coach

  • Coaches can have a positive influence over their players by:

    • Being approachable/supportive

    • Building a sense of collective responsibility

    • Setting challenges

    • Educating around nutrition and hydration

    • Placing importance on rest and recovery

    • Playing attention to/supporting to injured players

    • Providing/acting as role models


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Effects of Alcohol and Sporting Performance for the coach

Reduced Endurance - Alcohol reduces the body’s ability to produce glucose, leading to less energy and less endurance capacity.

Greater risk of cramp - Alcohol left in your system after a few drinks the night before contributes to a bigger build up of lactic acid.

Dehydration - Alcohol is a diuretic, making you use extra fluid on top of the normal during exercise – putting you a greater risk of dehydration


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Challenges for the Coach for the coach

Effect on sports injuries - Alcohol increases the bleeding and swelling around soft tissue injuries (sprains, bruises and cuts) so they take longer to recover.

Loss of B vitamins - Alcohol robs the body of B-group vitamins which help repair body tissue after injury

Slower reaction times - The relaxant properties of alcohol affect the central nervous system and slow down information processing – affecting reactions, co-ordination, accuracy and balance.


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Awareness of Alcohol & Substance Use Among Players for the coach

Starting to argue with referee during games

Starting to give back chat when are given instructions during games

Making excuses when missing training & games

Being injured more regularly


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Early Intervention for the coach

‘Team Managerment / Coaches can play an important part in minimising the damage alcohol / substance use can have on players’

Highlighting the problem regarding players drinking should never be completed in front of other team members


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Preparing for for the coach Brief Intervention

  • Seek professional guidance

  • Arrange a good time to meet

  • Never meet on your own

  • Have facts written down

  • Show empathy


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Early Intervention for the coach

Focus on the following:

Ask how his/her feels about the training?

Ask how his/her own performance is going?

Discuss his/her training attendance

Discuss his/her training & playing performance


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Early Intervention for the coach

Discuss his/her attitude towards training, games, etc

Here you can point out how you see his/hers attitude has changed

Before they may have been encouraging & supportive of team mates

All management attended the meeting & support each other


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Early Intervention for the coach

Ask the Question:

Is there anything we can do, to support you?

They may tell you themselves at this stage that alcohol / substance use is an issue


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Early Intervention for the coach

  • If they do – you can reassure them you are here to offer support and if there is anything you want us to do we will support you?

  • You can suggest do you want us to contact Treatment Services, Counsellor etc...


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Early Intervention for the coach

  • If they don’t say anything – you may have to suggest to them,

    ‘Do they think their drinking or substance use is causing them any concern?’

  • If they agree you can offer to support them.


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Early Intervention for the coach

  • If they don't agree with your views or not seeing their substance / alcohol as a problem –

    You cant do much more

  • Just reassure them you are there if they ever need anything

  • and you will be continuing to pick your team on training / game performance


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Early Intervention for the coach

  • But what you have done is pointed out to them how you see their life is planning out due to there use.

  • This type of intervention will always be remembered


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Early Intervention for the coach

  • Having worked with people who end up with problems, they will always speak about how others tried to point out to them, that substance / alcohol use was a problem in there earlier days of use.

  • If they had only listen then – is more often the line you will get


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Challenges for the coach

  • Drinking Culture

  • Team Management acceptance to alcohol consumption

  • Motivational circumstances of player

  • Professional demands on Players

  • Lack of Enjoyment from training & games

  • Lack of expertise in the alcohol & Substance area

  • GAA association with alcohol Companies


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