Q&A with Dave Hare

As seen in http://www.elitefitnessandperformance.com blog
My name is David Hare and I’m a Strength and Conditioning coach. I run a business called Functional Training Ireland which is a multidisciplinary clinic that melds Physiotherapy, Sports Massage, Personal Training and Strength and Conditioning in the one unit. We have been open in our current location since 2010 and before that I had a small studio in Ranelagh. I have all the usual qualifications for a strength coach, Sports Science Degree from UL, level one weightlifting and CSCS. I am also currently finalising a sports massage qualification.  Currently I train the Longford footballers and a host of other private clients.


How did you get involved in strength and conditioning?

I was a rugby player in school and I remember playing a rugby tournament in Wales, all the boys on the opposition were going on about weights this and bench that. When I got home I joined the local gym and proceeded to plough weights with no rhyme or reason for two years. I actually managed to eventually break onto the first team for the senior cup; I even had the number three jersey in my hand. Long story short we played a crowd from Galway the week before in a warm up game and I snapped my ACL. I was devastated. Afterwards during my rehab in Clontarf rugby club I met some top people in the world of rehab and conditioning like Dr. Joe Conway, a seed was sown. During my third year of college I begged the strength coach/physio for the Clontarf rugby team at the time to take me on as an intern and I haven’t looked back since. Back then the college didn’t want us to work unpaid, so I had to convince them to let me do it.

In your opinion—what are most GAA programs that you have encountered missing from a strength & conditioning point of view?

A lot of programs I have seen lack qualified coaches with understanding of the movements/techniques, too often I have heard “sure jimmy will take the session, he lifts weights”. Another problem is tonnes of teams do a really good pre season of S&C and then stop when the matches come thick and fast, so when it becomes most important they stop!

I think a lot of GAA S&C are done by guys that over emphasis lifts that they themselves might not be technically proficient at (they may think they are). Olympic lifts are usually where players, if not coached correctly, in a group setting do more harm than good in my opinion. I think not having a great working relationship with the team physio is another thing some S&C coaches need to improve and vice versa.

Lastly if you lose a game the Strength coach is usually the first person to get the blame and the last person to receive credit if you win. So I have seen head coaches ditch S&C coaches after one maybe two bad results. Obviously knee jerk reactions like this are no good.



What about energy systems training in GAA? We have all seen some GAA conditioning programs that have a ridiculous amount of volume—How do you approach energy systems training for GAA?

I aim to give the players the minimal effective dosage of running, I like to break my conditioning into linear and non linear, I also never increase the dosage by more than 8-10% in a given week and I also program in down weeks every four weeks. I’m a huge fan of small sided games and we try to replicate game situations as best as we can.My approach at the moment is to get a good external GPS/tester crowd in and let them direct the conditioning program if they find anything obvious. So far I have yet to read/meet anyone who has simplified the whole area so my approach is still to hit all the angles. I still think a top intercounty player (position dependent) needs nearly every fitness attribute out there so we try and arm our players with that.


What’ your thoughts on training for hypertrophy (muscle mass). I don’t want you to give away all your secrets to the readers, but can you give us a general idea of how you approach training for mass?

To be honest I don’t worry about it that much with most players. With most athletes if they are spending time under the bar and are consistent with their goals they will bulk up if the volume is there. With the hard gainers it’s all about diet, they just don’t sit still and they just don’t eat enough! We have had great success with just getting people eating more and lifting consistently. Another factor of course is intensity, if a player is dossing in the gym he won’t put muscle on, I think intensity is vital if you want to put muscle on. We always put muscle on players in the off season because they aren’t running around as much and the recovery is way better. Nutrition, Intensity, Consistency and Recovery.



What are your goals this winter for the Longford team then? How does your off season workout program differ from the program you put them through in season?

This year is exciting because we will have a brand new facility to use and we will have more access to the players. This will allow us to test more recover more and do more movement skills. Last year I only had the team for two days preseason, this year we will up that to three which is great. The new facility will enable us to do sports psychology and sports nutrition and implement more sophisticated recovery strategies as we have room now to do it and we aren’t borrowing a club’s facility. My goals this year are to make the program far more individual to the players needs.

Off season we focus on making the players as bullet proof as possible from an injury point of view and really work the proficiency of the key lifts, volume is high and the sessions are tough and intense.

Mid season we pick our battles, if they have a 3 week break we might do a mini pre season again. If they have game after game, speed and power sessions are the norm with a lot of rehab stuff thrown in. We can’t afford injuries so we are militant about avoiding them as best as possible.


Which supplements are okay to take, and which are a waste of time?


2. Naps/Sleep


4.Fish Oil

5.Vit D

6.Recovery powder

7.Beta Alaline


A lot of the online supplements that come in a zip lock bag I would stay away from! Keep it simple. If your kit bag looks let a meth lab you are probably on too much stuff.

Finally there is a ton of misinformation out there. How do you suggest people sort through the hype to get the truth and help them be successful?

Find someone that is more successful than you and copy him/her. Don’t let YouTube be your only source of information or the internet. For example I go to the States once a year to do a course or shadow someone in some shape or form; everyone should do that to some degree. Attend internships, mentorships don’t follow one strength guru have an open mind.

At Functional Training Ireland we always say if someone is busier than you, no matter what you think of him or her , they are probably doing a hell of a lot right somewhere.  If you are looking at strength coaches the best ones could be working with the worst teams, look for results yes but injury rates and other factors also.


And the final 3 quick fire questions:

Top 3 exercises:

1) Snatch

2) Lunge Curl Press

3) TRX Row

Top 3 Athletes:

1) Paul Barden – GAA

2) Peter Mathews – Runner

3) Catherine Walsh/Francine Meehan – Tandem Cyclists

Top 3 gyms:

1) Mike Boyle S&C

2) Peak Performance NYC

3) Any of the Athletes Performance centres are unreal

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