"Reduce training by 40%" and quality or fitness would be unaffected - Niall Moyna tackles ESRI report findings


Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

18.40 17 Dec 2019


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This week, an ESRI report was released, detailing some of the challenges faced by contemporary GAA players.

There are a number of key takeaways that you can read here from the ERSI report titled Safeguarding Amateur Athletes: An Examination of Player Welfare Among Senior Inter-County Gaelic Players.

Some of those include the use of supplements and the hectic nature of inter-county life.

To focus in on some of the key aspects, Dr Niall Moyna, DCU Professor in the School of Health and Human Performance, joined us on Off The Ball.

The area of training loads and whether players are doing too much was one that he touched on. Indeed, it's an issue former Donegal footballer Luke Keaney discussed with OTB AM in terms of the effect of intense schedules on the body.

He began by touching on the increased commitments faced by inter-county players in particular.

"This is a runaway train and I think the GAA have to take some of the responsibility," he said.

Collective Training

"The GAA in all of its actions is semi-professional with all of the media, financial support now. Someone needs to sit down and seriously ask is there a need for all of the collective training sessions?

"I just think it's totally out of hand. Teams are back now training since November for league. It's just non-stop. These are amateur players and I think it's unrealistic.

"My own view is we could have the same quality, same fitness level if we reduced our training by 40% and focused on the game itself - the skills of the game, the tactics. Unlike 30 years ago, most kids today in college or out of college, they look after themselves.

"So I am very concerned. The season is too long and I believe that up until the provincial finals, no team should be allowed to train more than twice a week.  After the provincial finals, three times a week. That should be more than adequate."

Moyna feels there should be more focus on the "quality of the sessions rather than the quantity." He also believes there's a sense that inter-county managers feel like they "own the players" now. Whereas, he feels the clubs who develop them should have more power in regards to when to release them.

He also raised an interesting point on Dublin. For him, "they train less hard than any other team. But they're the smartest" in how they approach preparation.

Supplements

The other aspect of the ESRI findings is supplement use and its prevalence.

"No player should source a vitamin or performance-enhancing substances from the Internet without consulting either a nutritionist or their physician," said Moyna.

"In the ESRI report, they talk about the S&C were advocating that players take these supplements as well. I think that should not be done without consultation with nutritionists as well. And absolutely no supplement should be prescribed without a physician."

He also highlighted the danger of tainted substances which may lead to inadvertent positive doping tests.

You can watch the full chat with Dr Niall Moyna above via our YouTube channel.


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