When it comes to coaching the skills of Gaelic football knowing the key points of each skill allows us the opportunity to coach our players when we see the skills breaking down. We learn from repetition and having the skills broken down into a serious of questions that draw the answers from our players. Over time these Questions prompt the Answers to these questions making it easier for our players to understand how to perform each skill.

With Under 8s the attention span is low and so spending time going through the technique may be hard at first but will prove worthwhile when it comes to correcting errors as they get older and will save time for you as a coach down the road.

         Remember   I.D.E.A 
Introduce the technique of each skill spending (1 to 2 min’s)
Breakdown the key points of each skill – repeat three times.
Ask Questions from the players to check that they understand each of the key points of the skill. By asking Questions we look for the answers  from the players and therefore know if they understand the skill. 
Demonstrate each skill at normal speed three times and from different angles so that each player has a chance to see the technique
Demonstrate the points of the skill and again ask Questions for understanding from the players 


Key Points – Questions to Prompt Answers from Players
Ask them what direction is your toe pointing when you do a solo – Answer “Up to your nose”
Demonstrate – We wrap our toe’s around the front of the ball to bring the ball towards your hands to catch
Ask players what hand they drop the ball from for right leg solo and visa versa – Answer right hand right leg .This is very important as some players will drop from the incorrect hand. This is especially true when we encourage/force them to solo with the weaker leg. It will take many attempts over time, as well as repeated Questions to get this technique to sink into a players mind.
For Under 10 or strong players encourage them to drop the ball from one hand, solo and catch with two –this prevents the player spinning the ball

Common Errors-Solo

When soloing at speed or when using the weaker foot a common error is the ball not coming back up the hand to be caught. This is because the player is not kicking the ball hard enough.. Re-message  this  by Asking “ We don’t tip it  Answer –We kick it
Some players solo by bringing the foot up towards the ball before releasing the ball and this will prevent a player from ever soloing at speed. Fix this by demonstrating the leg must be straight when making contact with the ball for players to solo at full speed. The leg can only be straight when it makes contact with the ball by waiting until the ball almost hits the ground before the foot makes contact. . For Under 8s with this problem we can fix this by getting the player to have their elbows straight (stress elbows straight) and hold the ball with both hands down at pocket level, away from the body. Ask the player to release ball by taking his hands away to the side and wait until the ball almost hits the ground before the foot makes contact.
Players holding the ball in the incorrect hand , right hand for left leg solo and left hand for right leg solo 
Refresh: Ask Players Questions
  • What direction is the toe pointing when doing a solo.
  • Toe wrapped around which part of the ball A)Back  B)Middle C)Front – Answer  Front
  • Which hand is ball dropped from for right leg – Answer right hand
  • We don’t tip it –Answer We kick it
  •  To solo at speed the leg must be – Answer Straight   

Hand Pass

Key Points – Questions to Prompt Answers from Players – Three Key Points
1) Ask them if they are striking the ball with the Right hand then everything else is – Answer Everything else is Left
  • Left Shoulder – Pointing towards their partner and feet together
  • Left Hand – Ball is the Left hand which is pointing towards their partner
  • Left Leg – Left Legs steps towards partner. Ask players what stepping forward gives them. Answer Gives Balance and Power
2) Two types of hand pass
  • Short distance: use Open hand and push ball with finger tips. The open hand must strike underneath the ball
  • Long distance: use wrist. Have players clench fist and point knuckles backwards and this forces the wrist to strike the ball
3) Ask players what the holding hand cannot do when striking the ball – Answer  the holding cannot move 

Common Errors-Hand Pass

  • Look for players put the same leg forward as the striking hand. This gives the player poor body balance when striking the ball
  • Players trying to strike the ball to a team mate while facing straight (chest to chest) on, some players are unable to perform a h/p like this
  • Fix – Left hand striking the ball then everything else is Right (Right shoulder pointing towards target)
  • If Left hand is striking the ball everything else is - Answer Everything else is Right
  • Right Shoulder (pointing where), Right Hand (Holding Ball in what position), Right Leg(Stepping Forward)
  • Stepping forward gives us – Answer Balance and Power
  • Holding hand cannot – Answer Move

Pick Up

Key Points – Questions to Prompt Answers from Players – Two key Points
Start by asking the players are we allowed to touch the ball while it is on the ground
  • What direction are both feet pointing - Answer Forward One behind the ball and one beside the ball
  • The foot alongside the ball is known as the Plant Foot (Because it is planted alongside the ball ,important for ball rolling away from player)
  • The Plant foot toes are placed past the football (Not along side the ball) and for tall players toes go even further past the ball
  • Getting the head low to the ground is the key to a player getting down low fast when competing for a ball on the ground
  • Demonstrate getting low to pick up the ball ask the players how you got your head low to the ground – Answer bent your knees
  • Ask what direction you bent you knees – Answer Knees are bent forward
  • The hands still cannot reach the ball so Head is then tilted towards the ground
  • Ask then what happens when you bend your knees forward and tilt your head towards the ground – Answer the heel of back foot lifts up
  • This allows the toe to be placed under the ball and lift the ball into hands
  • Hands are placed in front of the ball with fingers pointing towards the ground but not touching the ball

Pick-up Common Errors

  • Players placing the toes of the plant foot along side or behind the ball, which causes the players to touch the ball on the ground or kicking the ball out in front of themselves - Fix – Plant foot toes must go past the ball
  • The players not bending their knees enough to allow them to get down fast (Common for big players) Fix – Players bed their knees forward and low to the ground
  • Players placing their hands to the side of the ball so that they end up kicking out in front of themselves
  • Both feet pointing forward one behind the ball and one (Plant Foot) alongside the ball 
  • Plant foot toes placed past the football
  • Bend knees forward and tilt head towards the ground to get player down fast 
  • Heel of back foot lifts
  • Hands placed in front of the ball with fingers pointing towards the ground
  • Toe lifts ball into the hands & Secure ball into hands and strides forwar