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Spirit of Rugby Conference 2019: Meet the Speakers – Dr Paul Gaffney

Spirit of Rugby Conference 2019: Meet the Speakers – Dr Paul Gaffney

IrishRugby.ie chats with some of the experts speaking at Spirit Of Rugby Conference 2019. Today we hear from Dr Paul Gaffney about the role of the coach in creating a player centred environment. 

Speaker: Dr. Paul Gaffney Senior Clinical Psychologist 

Topic: “Role of the Coach In Creating A Player Centred Environment”

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About the speaker:

Paul is a Senior Clinical Psychologist within Primary Care Psychology Services, having worked with vulnerable children, adolescents and families for 25 years. He is a graduate of Queens University, Belfast and Trinity College Dublin, where he remains a Clinical Tutor.

He is a High-Performance Sport Clinical Psychologist with Sport Ireland Institute (SII), and Consultant Tutor with the Association for Psychological Therapies (APT), providing training for clinicians internationally.

He is the author of On the Ball? How football can help your mental health (Original Writing, 2014) & The Family Game: What sport & psychology teaches us about parenting (Matador, 2018). 

Paul, what is he main theme that you will be discussing at the inaugural Spirit of Rugby Conference 2019?

The main theme of my input is the role of the coach in creating a player centered environment.  As well as highlighting key coach qualities and values, I will focus on practical and sustainable strategies to help coaches be player focused alongside balancing their own self-care and support needs, within a positive and committed group environment.

What do you think should be a priority for adults looking to create a safe and fun environment that prioritises player welfare?

Help them become the best they can come and be there if things go wrong resilience setbacks etc

Players are more influenced by what a coach does rather than what they say. A focus on safety and fun, whilst safeguarding player welfare, is best served by a coaches / adults who are consistent, fair, trustworthy and persistent.  

Ideally such people see sport as a parallel process to life itself where a winning cycle has its genesis in past loss and failure, and where today’s setback becomes the cornerstone to tomorrow’s triumph.

Why is it important to keep young people enjoying sport and playing sport for longer?

Sport, and team sports in particular, are priceless environments for helping young people develop individual confidence, collective trust, problem solving and interpersonal flexibility, crucial to sustained psychological well-being.  

Not only does involvement allow a young person tow develop optimally, longer term participation provides affinity and belonging, a positive identity and a sense of being part of something beyond the self, so important when adversity happens.

Spirit Of Rugby Conference 2019 takes place on Sunday 13th January.

You can learn more about the event and register online here.

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