DCU collaborating on videos with the GAA to keep children active

Emily Clarke

DCU and the GAA  have teamed up to launch a video series aimed at keeping primary school children physically active during Covid-19.

The project, Moving Well-Being Well (MWBW) was set up to help children with the challenges they face home-schooling, as well as the absence of GAA club activity.

The videos, which are freely available on YouTube focus on fundamental movement skills (FMS) which are considered to be the building blocks of sports skills and are key to children being active later in life.

There is a total of 45 videos concentrating on specific skills such as hopping, skipping and jumping. The GAA collaborated with researchers at DCU to create research-based videos to ensure the videos will help children to continue develop their skills and remain active.

In a statement, MWBW researcher, Dr Stephan Behan said: “Our main goal is to simply get Irish children moving. If we can equip children with the basic skills to move and partake in any activity they wish, we will be giving them the tools to be active for life.”

Dr Sarahjane Belton, Head of DCU’s School of Health and Performance emphasises the “danger” of children missing out on physical activities as a result of school closures, restrictions and poor weather conditions.

“There is a real risk of them missing critical physical activity and skill learning opportunities,” she said, “this can potentially have long term health consequences.”

The GAA’s Director of Coaching and Games Development, Shane Flanagan said that the “outstanding” evidence-based videos available to children will ensure that children will have fun while learning their basic movement skills.

He explained that “acquiring these skills through the delivery of our club and school programmes will help these young participants remain involved in sport and physical activity for life.

Sean Flatley, a coach for Ballymun Kickhams, thinks this is a great initiative and said that “depending on what ages they are, some of the kids will do them and when they do it can be very beneficial for them to do something energetic rather than looking at their screens.”

However, he does believe the “novelty” of Zoom and online work has worn off. He said that children spend a lot of their screen time doing schoolwork and playing games, so the chances are they might not want to use more screen time to do GAA training.

“I don’t think it’s working as well this time around because I think people are tired of the whole Zoom thing and online stuff.”

In Flatley’s own experience coaching the nursery children with Kickhams, it is easier to teach them when you are physically with them.

He said: “I think it’s a help, but nothing is going to substitute for the main and real thing.”

Flatley finds that the longer people are in lockdown the less interested they become in such activities.

He is worried about the future of GAA because this age group is usually when children start to get into the sport and make friends there but because they are at home it just isn’t the same.

Note: This article was reuploaded on 04/04/21 due to a fault with The College View website.

Emily Clarke

Image credit: FM104