The Dublin manager has brought his side to a level never seen in the GAA before
Jim Gavin has shed some light on Dublin's approach to player-management and how his staff get the best out of their players.
Arguably, one of the best teams to have ever played the game, the current iteration of Dublin footballers is a mix of speed, strength, stealth and concentration, and while he rarely if ever talks to the media, he has spoken at length in a recent Irish Times interview about several topics.
While many might look at Dublin and believe the only way they could be so focused, committed and determined is through a purely authoritarian approach, Gavin says quite the opposite and understands his players need time at different stages of a season to miss a session.
“If they find they have to miss a session because of a deadline they have to meet or whatever, so be it. We take a very mature look at it. There’s obviously a massive level of trust between all parties. There are no written rules, that’s the culture within the team. Everybody is there for the right reason and if you can’t give the time and you want to do sometimes else with your life, so be it," the Dublin manager says.
Gavin, of course, is missing Jack McCaffrey and Rory O'Connell from his squad who have opted to take the year off and travel.
“We’re not individuals in a sporting sense. And yet we are in a personal sense. It’s about that person. We take a very player-centred approach in Dublin, as I’m sure all the inter county managers do. It’s about the individual, satisfying his needs, having respect and building up his self-esteem to the point where he can be creative."
You could argue that Dublin have the most creative team in the country. The likes of Paddy Andrews and Diarmuid Connolly regularly show off skills that most footballers only try at training, or at home in their back garden and along with Kevin McManamon and Michael Daragh McAuley, they boast some of the most unique players in the games.
Gavin invoked his inner-psychologist during the interview when he explained just why Dublin's backroom staff make them feel safe, secure and protected in an effort to make sure they are worrying about being the best possible versions of themselves they can be at training and when they tog out in the sky blue of Dublin.
“It’s Maslow’s theory of self-actualisation. He would have said himself that the history of the world is the history of people selling themselves short. In the management team, our job is to get those players not to sell themselves short. To be the best they can be.”