Meath GAA club bans mobiles from sidelines

Decision made after trainers noticed parents looking at their phones instead of their child

The mobile phone ban has already received positive acclaim from coaches and  is expected to be extended to the sidelines of all age groups. Photograph: Navan O’ Mahony GAA club/Facebook

The mobile phone ban has already received positive acclaim from coaches and is expected to be extended to the sidelines of all age groups. Photograph: Navan O’ Mahony GAA club/Facebook

 

A Meath GAA club has banned parents of their youngest players from using mobile phones on the sideline and is urging them to watch their children instead.

The Navan O’Mahony’s mobile phone ban during underage training has already received positive acclaim from coaches and it is expected the ban will be extended to cover the sidelines of all age groups.

The club hopes that banning the phones will allow parents to pay attention to how their children are developing their skills in football, hurling and camogie.

The initiative was due to start this weekend but strong winds forced the cancellation of the nursery sessions meaning it will be next week before any parents are asked to kick their smart phones to touch.

A notice at the Brews Hill pitch reads: “Navan O’Mahony’s ‘Pride of Cubs’ nursery is a phone-free zone. During this one hour, please put your phone away, watch your child learn a new skill and play.”

The club hopes that by encouraging active participation from the sidelines at the youngest age, it will filter through the club as the teams age and parents turning off their phones will become the norm.

“The decision was taken after trainers noticed that parents were constantly looking at their phones instead of watching and encouraging their child to develop and share in the whole excitement of improving their skills,” said club PRO Jackie Murray.

“The nursery teaches girls and boys from four to six years of age camoige, hurling and football and sometimes kids just want to look up after catching a ball or using a hurl to see their parents cheering them on.

“Sometimes parents miss this memory because they are looking at a phone and this can lead to a disappointed child. At this age, it’s all about catching a ball, kicking a ball and running with it or holding a hurl and we have to cheer them on.

“The club decided that if we get parents used to not using their phones now and encouraging their children to learn new skills then it will progress through the age groups.

“Navan O’Mahony’s want to bring back the mentality that we are a family club and get everyone involved.

“In today’s society, people are constantly on their phones in restaurants, bars and everywhere public and the sidelines is no different. We want to change this. Navan O’Mahony’s was founded long before phones and we want to to remind parents of the essence of the community club and get them to live in the moment with their children.”