Patrick Horgan sets up his own business as Pro Hurling gets up and running
Patrick Horgan has always had an interest in coaching.
"It's something I always think about," he says, "How I'd like to be coached myself." So he's decided to do something about it.
He looks at his nieces and nephews, sees them on the Ipad with no intention of ever getting off it and he thinks back to when he was young. He'd be out in the Glen field pucking, he'd be out climbing walls or trees and he definitely wouldn't be spending the evening under a roof. As he says himself, there was more to be at outside than inside back in those days.
The times are changing, what with smart phones, Minecraft, Wordle - you name it - but Patrick Horgan is keeping up to date. After thinking about it for quite some time, he's set up his own online coaching business called Pro Hurling that, through videos, classes and skill sessions, provides an opportunity to the hurlers of tomorrow.
It's for those between 5 and 16 and it's some opportunity because, having got onto Amy O'Connor, Lee Chin and Noel McGrath, Horgan has three coaches in with him who are just as passionate about the game as he is.
Between the four of them, they will send out videos that, in focusing on a particular skill, will aim to improve method, technique and speed through targets, challenges and drills.
Enrolment is open now, the first coaching video is out in April and we chatted to Horgan on Monday night about the type of skills he'll be teaching and the thoughts behind the whole venture.
"It's something that's been on my mind for a while," he says.
"As I said about the nieces and nephews, I'd be like to them 'why aren't you out the front pucking or playing some sport' and they're there on the Ipad.
"So what we're doing is we're trying to give them a reason to come off it and something to do when they come off it. So they'll have a video of Lee Chin picking the ball a certain way and then they'll be like 'I want to go out the back now and do it the way he did it.' We give them a bit of homework then - so a certain amount of strikes every day to complete, and they'll upload videos to the website and then we'll give them pointers on how they can get better.
"At the start, it's the basic skills," Horgan explains.
"Picking the ball, catching the ball - doing it the right way. Then as we move out of the skills part, we'll be bringing it into training sessions, different movements, doing it all at speed. For example, the most basic skill of all is rising the ball, the jab lift. We'll take them through three stages. There'll be the basic level of a kid who's five or six and won't be flying onto it.
"Then there'll be the jab lift on the run, making sure the feet are right and so on. Level three then will be the hard one, flat out, one hand on the hurley. Some people might give out about that, but that is part of the game, and we'll show them the right way to do it.
"The coaches will vary every month because they'd be sick if they had to listen to me all the time!"
One of the first things you'd be struck by is the price of it. At the moment, it's just €80 for 12 months' coaching and you'd have to say that's some value when you consider that, from Cork to Tipperary to everywhere beyond, there's hardly a young hurler who wouldn't be excited by the prospects of it.
"We'll have a live session every once in a while as well to give them advice there and then on the spot.
"It's something I always think about myself, 'how I would like myself to be coached.' That's how I see my own training, just focusing on those basics, those things I do most often and trying to perfect them. Because you don't get too many opportunities in games, so when you get them, you have to land them. That comes down to repetition and young kids are so skilful nowadays. I see it in my club, they have their hurley in their hands all the time. So yeah, I enjoy that, and I'm looking forward to that.
"The one thing I'll say is whether you're playing in Thurles or Croke Park or in the street leagues with your club, the skills that you'll see, they're all the same it's just that they're done at a different pace and level. It's all about those basics and that will never change.
Demand is high and he's excited for it. And before leaving he ensures us it's the white sliotars that'll be used.
"That's one thing I made sure of."
Don't mind those yellow ones.