"You see less out on the field practicing, where it really matters" - Jamie Clarke on gym work vs a bag of balls
Jamie Clarke feels that the art of going to the field with a bag of balls is being lost in the GAA, as strength and conditioning and gym-work come to dominate players' evenings.
Clarke gets the gym work done, and as a current Crossmaglen Rangers player, he certainly sees its benefits but, that being said, he doesn't let it take over completely.
He's a footballer after all.
Honing the skills has always come easier to the Armagh man - kicking scores, practicing the moves - but, around him, he's noticed a cultural shift in recent years.
"I do see a lot of people in the gym focusing on keeping that strength and conditioning, but you do see less out on the field practicing, where it all matters, really.
"Overall, you have to balance those things," Clarke says on this week's GAA Hour.
Jamie Clarke speaks about the lost art of going down to the pitch with a bag of balls.
"It comes back to the fact that I loved it." pic.twitter.com/ngoAU0Id0O
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) April 26, 2023
Where Clarke loves going out onto the field with a bag of balls, he feels that some footballers nowadays are more passionate about the gym work, and getting that done, than the skills of the game.
"I think people love the gym."
"They're not doing it because it's hard work.
"It's addictive, people like it and like going and the rewards they get from it. You don't see that as much of people going to the pitch with 100 balls.
"You might see the likes of Clifford or Rian O'Neill, the likes of them players doing it."
Clarke stresses that, in the top teams, the Galways, Mayos, Dublins and Kerrys, all the players devote time to their skills but it's some of the lesser teams - club teams, for example - where gym work is seen as sacrosanct.
"I'd rather encourage getting on the pitch more.
"It comes back to the fact that I loved it. I loved just going kicking ball you know what I mean.
"It probably comes across like you're putting in extra work but you're doing it because you really enjoy it.
— The GAA (@officialgaa) July 16, 2017
For Clarke, it's all about balance, and he's not ignorant to the benefits of gym-work.
"It's not that I don't love the gym.
"No, I don't mind doing it, I do like the benefits you get from it in terms of speed and building strength. There's probably other ways of exercise that I prefer, but no, I'm not against it, I think it was probably blew out of proportion (that he wasn't into it.)
You can listen to the full discussion on gym work vs bag of balls from 10.00 here.