GAA & Pilates - The Perfect Match

Introduction by Vlada Korolova

During my Pilates Apprenticeship in New York a lovely Australian visitor to the studio told me about this Irish guy, a great Pilates teacher working in Sydney. She asked me if I know Paddy? I told her I do know a few, but I don’t know Paddy Coary from Tyrone, who now lives in Sydney. 

Eventually I was lucky to meet Paddy and learned that not only is he a Certified Romana’s Pilates Instructor he is also a keen Gaelic Footballer. Having first hand knowledge and years of experience, in both Pilates and Gaelic Football, Paddy is just the man to write about how Pilates is good for athletes, Gaelic Footballers and Hurlers in particular. The result is below. Enjoy!

Gaelic Games & Pilates – The Perfect Match

Author, Paddy Coary

Since the turn of the century the GAA has seen a major shift in attitude. Gone are the days of a feed of pints in the week leading up to a game. Players at all levels, from junior right through to the elite inter-county player operate as professionals in an amateur game. 

Training a couple of nights a week and having a game on a Sunday is also a thing of the past. Players at all levels are putting in the work, on and off the field. Gaelic Footballers and Hurlers are no strangers to the inside of a gym. 

While improved training has had many benefits for our games the advent of modern training techniques has also had some negative effects, muscle imbalances in our players have become more of an issue of late and recent research has found links between muscle imbalances and many non-trauma related injuries. 

So how can we address these imbalances and the injuries they can lead to? Well perhaps Pilates is the answer.

Media coverage of Pilates has lead to the perception that it is a form of exercise for girls and unfortunately that has put many men off before they even found their way to a group class or private lesson. The truth is that Pilates is for everyone, men can benefit just as much as ladies.

Paddy & lads being taught by Cynthia Lochard, Traditional Advanced Pilates Repertoire

Paddy & lads being taught by Cynthia Lochard, Traditional Advanced Pilates Repertoire

Pilates, when done consistently, will strengthen the body where it needs to be strengthened and will stretch the body where it needs to be stretched. This process of strengthening and stretching will bring the body into balance and as a result will reduce injuries.

How do I know this? Well I have played Gaelic football since I was 5 years old, and I am a Certified Pilates Instructor. I first became interested in Pilates when I heard about Premiership Footballers doing it as part of their training and thought, well if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me! 

My first class was 6 years ago and since that time I can honestly say adding Pilates to my training regime has brought many on field benefits. It has improved my core strength, which, has increased my speed and power. My balance and co-ordination have also improved, on the field this pays off when it comes to being tackled, I now find I can more easily evade tackles and when I do take a hit it is easier to stay on my feet. My flexibility has increased which has definitely meant fewer injuries and I have also seen a general improvement in my overall body awareness. All of these elements combined has resulted in an improvement in my on field performance overall. I am also hopeful that my career will be longer now that I am looking after my body throughout the season.

For any Gaelic footballer or Hurler the improvements in physical conditioning gained from adding Pilates to existing training will mean better performances, bringing the body into balance will reduce injuries and possibly even prolong your career something I think all of us would like.    

For clubs it means having more of your players available more of the season. This is particularly important for smaller clubs who don’t have a large pool of players to pick from in the first place. Pilates could also lead to a reduction in rehabilitation costs, never a bad thing I’m sure every club treasurer around Ireland will agree.

Championships are won and lost in fine margins. Pilates might just be the advantage you have been looking for…


Author, Paddy Coary

Author, Paddy Coary

Learn more about the author, Paddy on his website> http://paddycoary.branded.me/

The Pilates Studio Dublin is happy to announce that Paddy will be joining us as a guest teacher during 15-17th December, 2015. You can book a Pilates session with Paddy at The Pilates Studio Dublin here>

Read more about Traditional Pilates Method.