Managing Alcohol in the Club Teams

Managing Alcohol in the Club Teams - The
hidden challenge for the coach
John Leahy, Tipperary Hurler and Aileen Tohill, Ulster GAA
Relationship between alcohol and sport
New GAA research
Role of the Coach
Identifying signs
Offering help
Alcohol and Sport
• Traditionally there has been a strong
association between alcohol and sport
– Sport can have a positive influence on
adolescents on their use of alcohol and drugs
compared to peers
– However, being involved in sport as an adult
may encourage greater intake of alcohol
– Athletes involved in team sports may be at
greater risk of excessive drinking than
individual athletes
Alcohol and Sport
• Research has identified that alcohol is:
– Commonly associated with team bonding
– Frequently consumed in binges
– Heavily associated with both win and lose
– Used as a relief from stress
Alcohol and Sport
New Research
Team Problems Caused by Alcohol &
Other Drugs for GAA Coaches
Brendan Murphy & Mark Gottsche, November 2010
• 347 GAA coaches questioned
• Responses sought around their opinions,
experiences and attitudes
• Looks at the extent of the problem
Main findings
• 81% of coaches felt the use of alcohol and
other drugs to be a ‘serious’ or ‘very serious’
problem in Ireland
• 52% felt a team they coached had been
affected by a players use of alcohol or other
What do you think were the main ways
teams had been affected?
Alcohol and Sport
1. Missing training
2. Under performing
3. Missing matches
4. Arriving under the influence
5. Disruptive
6. Injury as a result
Coach’s Influence
• Coaches can have a positive influence
over their players by:
– Being approachable/supportive
– Building a sense of collective responsibility
– Setting challenges
– Educating around nutrition and hydration
– Placing importance on rest and recovery
– Playing attention to/supporting to injured
– Providing/acting as role models
Effects of Alcohol and Sporting
Reduced Endurance - Alcohol reduces the
body’s ability to produce glucose, leading to less
energy and less endurance capacity.
Greater risk of cramp - Alcohol left in your
system after a few drinks the night before
contributes to a bigger build up of lactic acid.
Dehydration - Alcohol is a diuretic, making
you use extra fluid on top of the normal during
exercise – putting you a greater risk of
Challenges for the Coach
Effect on sports injuries - Alcohol
increases the bleeding and swelling around soft
tissue injuries (sprains, bruises and cuts) so they
take longer to recover.
Loss of B vitamins - Alcohol robs the body
of B-group vitamins which help repair body
tissue after injury
Slower reaction times - The relaxant
properties of alcohol affect the central nervous
system and slow down information processing –
affecting reactions, co-ordination, accuracy and
Awareness of Alcohol &
Substance Use Among Players
• Starting to argue with referee during games
• Starting to give back chat when are given
instructions during games
• Making excuses when missing training &
• Being injured more regularly
Early Intervention
‘Team Managerment / Coaches can play an
important part in minimising the damage
alcohol / substance use can have on
• Highlighting the problem regarding
players drinking should never be
completed in front of other team
Preparing for
Brief Intervention
Seek professional guidance
Arrange a good time to meet
Never meet on your own
Have facts written down
Show empathy
Early Intervention
• Focus on the following:
Ask how his/her feels about the training?
Ask how his/her own performance is
Discuss his/her training attendance
Discuss his/her training & playing
Early Intervention
• Discuss his/her attitude towards training,
games, etc
• Here you can point out how you see his/hers
attitude has changed
• Before they may have been encouraging &
supportive of team mates
• All management attended the meeting &
support each other
Early Intervention
Ask the Question:
Is there anything we can do, to support you?
• They may tell you themselves at this stage
that alcohol / substance use is an issue
Early Intervention
• If they do – you can reassure them you
are here to offer support and if there is
anything you want us to do we will support
• You can suggest do you want us to contact
Treatment Services, Counsellor etc...
Early Intervention
• If they don’t say anything – you may have
to suggest to them,
‘Do they think their drinking or substance
use is causing them any concern?’
• If they agree you can offer to support
Early Intervention
• If they don't agree with your views or not
seeing their substance / alcohol as a
problem –
You cant do much more
• Just reassure them you are there if they
ever need anything
• and you will be continuing to pick your
team on training / game performance
Early Intervention
• But what you have done is pointed
out to them how you see their life is
planning out due to there use.
• This type of intervention will always
be remembered
Early Intervention
• Having worked with people who end
up with problems, they will always
speak about how others tried to point
out to them, that substance / alcohol
use was a problem in there earlier
days of use.
• If they had only listen then – is more
often the line you will get
• Drinking Culture
• Team Management acceptance to alcohol
• Motivational circumstances of player
• Professional demands on Players
• Lack of Enjoyment from training & games
• Lack of expertise in the alcohol &
Substance area
• GAA association with alcohol Companies