Tadhg Kennelly believes that overt physicality is undermining the traditional skills of Gaelic football. In an interview with Sean Moran in the Irish Times, he contended that an excessive focus on strength and conditioning is to blame.
One, we don’t need the physicality that they’ve got in rugby in Gaelic football; it’s taking away from the true element of the game...
The increased focus on S & C coaching has had the added effect of making players more wary of kicking the ball. Gaelic football has thus mutated into more of a possession game.
It doesn’t surprise me one bit the way Gaelic football has gone because of what’s happening with strength and conditioning and fitness coaching. Players are fitter and stronger and what do you do? You don’t give the ball back so you run with it. To run with it you need to be fitter and stronger so they can’t get the ball back off you.
Kennelly heartily acknowledged that he was giving voice to his inner traditionalist Kerryman in uttering such sentiments against the S & C cabal. But is he right? Is strength and conditioning to blame?
The new Kildare boss doesn't think so. Cian O'Neill reckons the fault lies not with the emphasis on strength and conditioning but simply on the fact that the quality of football coaching isn't strong enough.
You don't have to pick and choose between strength and conditioning and football training. Here is what he told GAA.ie a couple of years back.
For me, there is not enough emphasis placed on football training. Don’t blame the strength and conditioning stuff because if that is happening then at least they are getting some of their programme right.
I think they are not getting the most glaringly obvious part of their development right, which is technical and tactical development. I don’t think it’s one at the expense of the other. I don’t think you will ever see a system that says, ‘We won’t do a field session tonight, we will go to the gym’. The gym sessions are always there, they just aren’t getting the field sessions right.