Brian Cody’s ability to keep motivating his squad is a significant reason why he has presided over many successful days with the Kilkenny hurlers, according to Enda McNulty.
McNulty, an All-Ireland football winner with Armagh and sport psychologist, was speaking on The Today programme on RTÉ Radio in the aftermath of the Cats’ thumping win over Offaly in the Leinster SHC quarter-final .
The victory sets up a date with Galway in the semi-final as Cody’s men bid to regain the provincial crown after a gap of three years.
Cody is now in his 15th season in charge and McNulty feels that throughout that period the manager has always managed to keep his squad on their toes.
He explained: “Gaelic games are now producing many more students of the game. While they are aware of total football and total hurling, they are also aware of the sports science aspects, the tactical, technical and the motivational requirements involved.
“Brian Cody is a master of motivating men. He is very good at creating an environment in which people are motivated. At a corporate event that I was recently involved with, Derek Lyng (former Kilkenny hurler and current selector) said that in Kilkenny everybody’s jersey is up for grabs.
“In an environment where everybody’s jersey is up for grabs, like what Joe Schmidt is currently doing with Ireland in rugby, a massive competitive environment is created every night at training, every day in the gym and every day, believe it or not, in the tactical computer room.”
"Brian Cody is very good at creating an environment in which people are motivated" - Enda McNulty
It was put to McNulty that Mick O’Dwyer inspired the great Kerry team of the 70s and 80s by telling his players that they were giants of men.
The Armagh native felt that heaping such praise on a squad had its benefits, but that there is more a manager can do.
“There needs to be a little bit of disequilibrium – every player needs to know that he is very good and is an incredibly capable player,” he revealed.
“There also needs to be a little bit of edge, in that if he doesn’t produce it in training for a three or four-week period, then there is a possibility he won’t be playing.”
Former Cork and Limerick hurling manager Donal O’Grady eluded to the fact that Cody’s teams have comprised of many leaders and that the manager knows when to make changes.
He said: “It’s much easier to keep players motivated when you’re successful. Cody has had great players at his disposal. Look at Henry Shefflin. He is a leader, but there are many leaders in the squad like Jackie Tyrell and Tommy Walsh.
“Cody also knows when to change things. He changed things in 2005 when he brought in Mick Dempsey and Martin Fogarty (to the backroom team) and he’s made more changes since.”