I am sure it can be better in Dublin, and I am sure there are better out there. But at the same time most young lads spend 2 maybe 3 hours a week on hurling training. That is only a small fraction of the time they need to be spending on hurling, I would think most of the young lads at county level (or at least aspiring towards it) are spending an hour or two a day with a hurl in their hands. So I think whatever input is happening at club level just isn’t a big enough percentage of the time needed to influence guys for better or worse.
I think things like catching just isn’t really a coachable skill. Sure, you can show a guy how to do it, but unless he practises the hell out of it himself it is not going to get any better, even if he has the best coach in the world training him. I wouldn’t know a lot about soccer, but I see on TV that when countries like England (well, it’s not actually a country, but you know what I mean) are playing some South American team - the South Americans are often referred to as ‘technically better’. I am sure England has the best coaching money can buy and the South American’s possibly don’t (with apologies for massive stereotyping), but my point is that coaching doesn’t actually make you better with the ball. It can actually harm you in some instances - like the thing I mentioned before how I think Dublin have been coached out of how to handle high balls.
For me coaching should be just correcting the form of the player when he is implementing a skill (like put hands lower, right foot forward etc). but after that the player has to go away and learn it himself. The external input should be small (but accurate). Coaching when it is one to one and very well defined can be of huge help, some players will never get to strike the ball properly off their weak side, because their body form coming into it just won’t allow it, and stuff like that can be corrected. But alternatively, some very good players do stuff totally wrong, and it works. There are still lots of backhanded hurlers out there at the top level with their weak hand on top for instance. Even the Kilkenny tackling that Cody focuses on, I wonder is that actually coached, or just encouraged. It is possible they just put a huge amount of emphasis on it, and give guys a bollocking if it isn’t done, but I suspect it is up to the player himself to figure out how to do it. Maybe because they are not spending time hitting the ball up and down the field in rows on the ground, they have more times to play games and perfect the actual game playing skills. The one thing that guys can’t do on their own, away from organised training is play games, so I think it should be a focus of training.
I think the main harm bad coaching can do is just waste time. The amount of time I spent as a young lad playing training games where we weren’t allowed pick the ball up was just time wasted when I could have been practising hurling, and not hockey. But apart from that, the vast majority of time spent hurling training is just good time, because you have a hurl in your hand - that is the most beneficial part of it.
Coaching has a big role to play in teaching guys what to do with the ball when they have it, and getting teams to work together as a unit, that has to be done in group situations, and done over and over again. But to improve a players skill set, I would think 95% of that happens away from the training ground with guys playing against a wall or the like.