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Thanks to the GAA and its continued rise in popularity, other businesses are experiencing their own booms. Despite the game’s unaltered amateur status, players of all grades are making the changes necessary to improve their own performances. As a result, the demand for physios, dieticians, analysts, strength coaches, and recovery facilities is at an all-time high.
GAA businesses – New Age
Gone are the days of club players arriving at a game half an hour before throw-in. Now you will see players entering dressing rooms with foam rollers under their arms, tape holding every joint in place, and the day’s most popular protein bar bouncing on the gear bag. This isn’t a complaint by any means. In fact, there is an undeniable correlation between the rise of such careful preparation and the growing attention club games have received.
At inter-county level, each team has a physio, a strength and conditioning coach or coaches, and a dietician. Not to mention whatever facilities they need for recovery on hand. This has allowed many large companies to enter the game.
Club teams do not have the same resources to employ such a giant of the industry. Instead, most clubs make do with their own version of an analyst who will film games and forward footage on to coaches. Many college students of the Sports Science variety spend their work placements doing such jobs for club teams and even for underage county teams. With club teams inherently dismissed when compared to their inter-county compatriots, there is an open market for analysts willing to grind their teeth.
Across the Board
Analysis is just one example of a business directly profiting thanks to the GAA. The most obvious is perhaps the world of strength and conditioning. In the last decade, the emphasis on training has shifted. Previously, ball skills were trained without competition and gym work was considered more of a hobby for players. Now, these ball skills are almost taken as a given and a player is expected to adhere to twelve week gym programmes.
Consequently, the demand for sports scientists has reached new heights. However, with so much training, an emphasis also has to be placed on recovery. Enter the emerging studios where players can do it all in one go. Compression boots, ice baths, saunas and massage guns. All of these things were exclusive to the elite teams of the game but now they are accessible for the average club player.
Furthermore, the role of dieticians has been given new prominence among the amateur game. This profession is perhaps the most recent to experience a spike. Partly due to the success of Dublin nutritionist, Daniel Davey.
Look the Part
Those not so interested in the physical side of things can also find success thanks to the GAA. Anyone willing to give live scores and constant updates on social media can build a following. For example, Ah Ref is Mayo’s version of this and such is their success that they have extended to Sligo and Galway.
Any follower of the GAA will also have noticed the abundance of new brands on display. O’Neill’s is still the name you will find on most inter-county gear. Although club gear is being made by new companies across the country. Small startups, often by local players, have big markets for football gloves, socks, and gear as a whole. Much of this GAA gear will look the same but in keeping with the spirit of the game, clubs look after local businesses.
As the game continues to flirt with the threshold of amateurism, those with a love for the game can find ample opportunities to benefit from. When many industries are struggling, many more are finding success thanks to the GAA.
Tune in to @MayoGAATV for this weekends Mayo Club Championship games!
— GRG (@GrgSportswear) August 22, 2020