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The unforeseen advantages of lockdown for elite sportspeople

On Off The Ball's Sunday Paper Review, former Dublin footballer and coach Clíodhna O'Connor considered one advantage the current coronavirus crisis has had for the coach-player dynamic. 

Across almost every working environment, the deadly and uncertain spread of Covid-19 has had an impact on how people go about their jobs. The world of sport, at the elite amateur and professional level, is no different.

Clíodhna O'Connor, an All-Ireland winner with Dublin in 2010, had been working as a coach with the county's senior hurlers before the outbreak of the virus in Ireland brought all sporting activity to a standstill in March.

With social distancing in place and opportunities for teams to work together no longer possible, she revealed on OTB's Sunday Paper Review how certain players have managed to use this new arrangement to their advantage.

"This period has really empowered players," she explained of what she has witnessed in the weeks since lockdown took hold. "Maybe they need a bit of guidance, but even with my local GAA team here, I drive by a public pitch and I see players out on their own doing their running and all sorts of stuff.

"They're developing their own skills and taking ownership of their training without me having to motivate them."

From the perspective of a coach, O'Connor admitted that this realisation has had an impact on how she views her own role in the team dynamic.

"We're team-sport athletes and we like being in a group," she outlined, "but as a coach you think you're wonderful and have to be in the centre of everything and that the players couldn't survive without you.

"I've learned in the last 10 to 12 weeks, however, that they can survive without you. As a coach you have to be humble sometimes and realise that you don't have to be standing over players all the time."

A topic that was explored in tremendous detail throughout OTB's Sunday Paper Review with Clíodhna O'Connor and Timmy McCarthy, you can watch it back in full here.

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Cliodhna O'connor Dublin GAA Gaelic Football Hurling Ladies Football

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