Players have their say: Playing Time, Inclusivity, Burnout, Menstrual Cycle and Skorts.
THE Camogie Association carried out a Player Welfare Research survey, with the aim of providing insights into the views of inter-county, third level, second level and club players, on the required supports appropriate to player welfare and inclusion within the Association.
The Player Welfare research looks to further uncover players concerns and challenges and build on previous research (2019) by extending the research group to all adult players within the Association.
The Camogie Association’s Research Advisory Group was comprised of Dr Siobhan O’Connor, DCU; Elizabeth Loughren and Brian Doyle, Sport Ireland; Eoghan Tuohey, GAA; and Louise Keane, Camogie Association. Throughout this process, the Research Advisory Group helped by offering advice, guidance, and support on each phase, to ensure that the research was carried out to the highest possible standard. The survey was conducted online (23 February to 25 March, 2022) and collected data on inclusion, athlete identity, mental health, burnout, menstrual cycle, as well as other concerns and challenges that players are facing.
The key findings within the Player Welfare Research include:
- One in 10 players reported being a substitute that is infrequently used or being seldom or never played.
- There is a broad consensus that Camogie has an inclusive environment.
- Many players are highly involved in sport, playing Camogie for more than one team, playing Ladies Football or playing other sports. However, reported levels of burnout are low to moderate.
- Only 24.2% of players play Camogie as their sole sport and play for just 1 team.
- Players have very little knowledge around how to claim insurance or what it covers and often have to cover out of pocket expenses as a result.
- Welcomingly, women are returning to Camogie after having a child with 12.5% of players having one or more children.
- 1% of Camogie players reported that their menstrual cycle “usually” or “always” affects their performance. However, players are reluctant to miss training/matches as a result of their period.
- Players (82.8%) “strongly agreed” or “agreed” that “Dark coloured skorts would make them more comfortable playing camogie when on their period.”
- There is overall broad satisfaction among players with their experience of playing Camogie.
Recommendations within the Player Welfare Research Report include:
- Examination of the definition of “adequate and meaningful playing time” for adult players, and consideration of how this could be applied in rule.
- Review of the insurance strategy for Camogie clubs to examine its effectiveness. Following on from this, resources should be created to educate players, coaches, and administrators and provide clarity on the process and what it covers.
- Continued cooperation with our sister Gaelic Games organisation at club, county, provincial, and National levels to ensure that, where possible, games for both codes don’t take place on the same day or aren’t clustered together in a packed schedule to prevent players having to choose between codes.
- Development of programmes and campaigns to encourage people from minority groups to play Camogie and market our game with diverse role models using members from various backgrounds including minority groups as well as all levels of our inter county, third level and club game, to create more visibility for all.
- A campaign to create conversations in team environments on menstrual cycles to reduce stigma followed by education for both players and coaches.
- Embed the importance of participation at adult level to keep our members physically active and involved in sport into Camogie Coach Education.
- More resources are required to educated players and coaches for returning to play following pregnancy and to increase the number for players returning.
- Further education is required to manage player load and injuries from managers/coaches, physiotherapists/ athletic therapists and from players themselves.
- Develop guidelines for clubs to enable them to address their specific needs with access to Physiotherapists/ Athletic Therapists and Athletic Development Coaches.
- Educate members on how they can change skort colour to dark coloured skorts within their units.
Camogie Association Initiatives
The Camogie Association will assess all recommendations, through the development of suitable programmes to ensure greater player welfare satisfaction across the Association. The following initiatives have been arranged in the coming weeks and months in response to the key findings and recommendations of the Player Welfare Research.
- A committee will be set up to look at playing time and to develop recommendations to address challenges in this area.
- The Camogie Association strives to be an inclusive environment for all and will again name a round of the Glen Dimplex All Ireland Series, PRIDE Round (weekend of June 17th and 18th). Further inclusion training and workshops will also be available to clubs over the course of the year.
- The Camogie Association ran a Development Squad Coach Forum in Croke Park Stadium on Saturday March 11th, 2023. The theme of the forum ‘’What She Needs. The Developing Player in 2023’’ focused on coaching the whole person and was aimed at coaches, managers, and administrators of U14 and U15 County Development Squads 2023 with coaches from 10 counties in attendance.
- An educational article and video session on the Female Athlete were developed and released earlier in March. Both resources hear from David Nolan, lecturer in the department of sport and health at the Technological University of the Shannon, on the physiological differences between males and females and explores whether different approaches to training are required. He also looks at the effects of the Menstrual Cycle and Hormonal Contraceptives.
- Focus Groups will be carried with players and coaches to support planning for creating structures for players and coaches when it comes areas such as the Menstrual Cycle and Pregnancy.
Camogie Association Uachtarán, Hilda Breslin, spoke on Thursday on the release of the findings; “We are delighted to release these the findings from our research, which provides greater insight into the experiences of players. The Camogie Association since 2012 has expanded its knowledge and expertise in player welfare by conducting research. This research forms a vital part of developing the polices of the Association and contributes to our National Development Plan. We look forward to continuing to expand our research base and put player welfare at the heart of our development. I would like to thank all participants in the survey and the expertise generously given from our Research Advisory Group.”