"The follow through decides where it's going to go" - Kick it like Matty Forde
If you don't go to bed kicking the ball like Matty Forde, You won't wake up kicking the ball like Matty Forde.
Every night at training, the Wexford ace used spend 45 minutes on his own, lacing balls, honing his technique, perfecting his craft. All told, he will go down as one of the most accurate shooters ever to have kicked a Gaelic football.
The art wasn't mastered by chance.
Matty's brilliance - off left and off right - was the product of inspiration and initiative. The Kilanerin Ballyfad club man recalls watching a certain Maurice Fitzgerald as a youngster, and being mesmerised by kicking ability off both sides.
"I remember looking at good players at the time like, you know one that always springs to mind is Maurice Fitzgerald. You were kind of struggling to see was this fella left or right footed," says Forde.
"As it turned out, it would be something you’d be advising all young fellas to do, do you know, whether it’s football or hurling - it just makes you that bit harder to mark. Do you know like, as I progressed then I kept working on it more and more and it has been a huge help to me over the years, over the duration of my whole career..."
"Some of the better scores I've got probably did come from my left foot! It wasn't just for standing on, I wasn't shy to use the left foot I suppose!"
After school, Forde used head to the pitch to perfect his kicking. He'd drag his nephews along with him. Training nights often meant arriving earlier or staying behind.
"I would have done a huge amount on my own. Again, at that stage with Wexford that was probably my fourth or fifth year playing and just from listening to other players and hearing what other players were doing like, all the really good guys were doing extra stuff on their own.
"The three nights a week that we were on the field just wasn’t going to cut it...if you wanted to be a bit better, if you wanted to improve. I was more than happy to go, doing extra stuff. I used to drag my brothers’ three young fellas along with me and they’d kick balls back to me all day, they’d be happy enough anyway. I’d be getting to training maybe 45 minutes early most nights as well...so 45 minutes extra every night, three nights a week is a huge amount at the end of a week, at the end of a month at the end of a season. I never really tried something in a match that I hadn’t done in training or that I hadn’t tried."
In 2004, Matty Forde scored 11-74 for Wexford between League and championship.
10-41, yes 10-41 came from open play 🌡️
Double-marked, triple marked, it didn't matter.
Day 16 without the GAA is Matty Forde appreciation day, what a player 👑 pic.twitter.com/2vyc2PqQMa
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) March 27, 2020
The follow through is key. Between kicking frees from a young age to lining out as an out half for his local rugby team, Gorey RFC, Forde learned plenty and driving out through the ball was a very important part of his routine.
"As I say to young fellas, it’s like do you know when you’re taking frees, it’s like hitting a golf shot. If you don’t follow through...kicking the ball will make it go in one direction. Following through is deciding where it’s going to go basically. So do you know, you have to, If you look at the good kickers in any sport, I look at a lot of rugby and stuff like that and if you watch the guys kicking balls particularly out of their hands, their follow through is up around their shoulders somewhere. Just take Conor McManus, Clifford, Dean Rock - all of these guys have a serious follow through..."
In 2019, @KilanerinGAA were staring relegation in the face.
Matty Forde, 40, came back for the relegation final to score 1- 4 and save his club.
Incredible dedication throughout his career helped make him one of the most skilful Gaelic footballers ever. pic.twitter.com/1NmqGWgSOI
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) July 20, 2020