Take Home Note: It is important to have a plan as if you don’t know where you are going you will end up somewhere else. In Table 1. you can view a sample periodised plan for elite adult inter-county hurling. Be flexible with the plan to cater for each individual. If you have the resources monitor the training load of each individual and manipulate volume and intensity accordingly. Where possible activities should be undertaken with the ball but this is not alway possible depending on your objective.
Coaches and hurlers are constantly seeking new methods to improve skill and performance, hurlers must prepare through a training process where the physiological objective is to improve physiological function and optimise performance (Smith, 2003). Many of the coaching practices and training techniques that have been utilised in hurling over the years owe more to the observations of coaches than to the breakthroughs from sport science and certain training regimens have been immortalised by the teams that use them (Walsh, 2005). The organisation, placement and content of training are governed by the competitive season and its structure.The calendar year for senior inter-county hurler is conventionally divided into three phases (preparatory, pre-championship and championship) structured around the All-Ireland series with its completion in September. Traditionally, organised training begins in January although it is not uncommon for teams to begin earlier.
An important prerequisite for optimal performance is effective planning. Sport scientists have emphasised the benefits to games players in structuring training programmes in accordance with the principles of periodisation (short- and long-term planning) (Bangsbo, 2003). The periodisation of training for hurling depends on the individual team needs and level of play. The dynamics of training involve the manipulation of the training load through the variables of intensity, duration and frequency (Smith, 2003). Periodisation requires alternating periods of training load with recovery days. This rotation is necessary to avoid excessive fatigue that may lead to overtraining The hurling year can be divided into the preparatory phase (January – March), pre-championship phase (March – May) and championship phase (May - September). The preparatory phase of training focuses on the development of base fitness characteristics. The greatest gains in fitness and changes in body composition can be viewed during this period due to the process of detraining following completion of the previous season (Reilly and Keane, 2001). A typical week includes three pitch-based training sessions and a competitive or non-competitive game. Hurlers are expected to conduct supplementary strength training, although at their discretion depending of support. The extent of strength training during the season is determined by the training time available (Bangsbo, 2003). During the pre-championship phase the emphasis shifts from total body conditioning to skill development and game-related movements and activities. During this period, the inter-county hurling league competition begins and is deemed important in team and tactical development. Traditionally, after the change in daylight-saving time a greater proportion of the training is based on skill. The championship phase of the periodised plan focuses on skill and game development whilst maintaining fitness gains. The length of the championship phase will depend on the success of the team during the All-Ireland series.
Table 1. A proposed periodised scheme for hurling (Adapted from Phyisiology of Training, Bangsbo, J. in Sceince and Soccer. (ed). Reilly, T and Williams A.M., Routledge.
Each single number represents a week. For practical each month is given in 4 weeks. The value represents the following priorities:
1 = very low priority; 2 = low priority; 3 = moderate priority; 4 = high priority; 5 = very high priority.
Bangsbo, J. (2003) Physiology of training. In Science and Soccer 2nd edition (edited by T. Reilly and A.M. Williams), pp. 47-58. London: Routledge.
Reilly, T. and Keane, S. (2001) Seasonal variations in the fitness of elite Gaelic footballers. In Science and Football IV (edited by W. Spinks, A. Murphy and T. Reilly), pp. 87-88. London: E&FN Spon.
Smith, D.J. (2003) A framework for understanding the training process leading to elite performance. Sports Medicine, 33, 1103-1126.
Walsh, D. (2005) Hurling: The Revolution Years. Dublin: Penguin.
About the Author - Kieran Collins
Kieran is an academic with a wide range of experience at all levels of Gaelic games as a player, coach, administrator and applied sport physiologist. He is currently the lead lecturer on the Sport Science and Health degree program at ITT Dublin. Kieran is actively involved in Gaelic games research and has presented his findings at international conferences and in peer reviewed journals.
Kieran’s research is focused on;
1. Development of Gaelic games modeling protocols and the comparison of intermittent exercise patterns.
2. Evaluating the physical demands of Gaelic games match-play and the training and testing of players.
3. The impact of training organization on physiological adaptations.
4. The nutritional requirements of Gaelic games players.
Kieran completed his undergraduate degree in 2000 at St. Mary’s Strawberry Hill and attained a Post Graduate Certificate in Education in 2001 from the same institution. He subsequently achieved an MPhil from Liverpool John Moores University in 2007 with a project called ‘Success in Hurling: An Evaluation of Training and the Effect on Physical, Performance and Nutritional Characteristics of Two Elite Hurling Teams’. Kieran is currently a PhD candidate at Liverpool John Moores University with a focus on the ergonomics of hurling, specifically the responses to intermittent exercise.
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Kieran is an academic with a wide range of experience at all levels of Gaelic games as a player, coach, administrator and applied sport physiologist. He is currently the lead lecturer on the Sport Science and Health degree program at ITT Dublin. Kieran is actively involved in Gaelic games research and has presented his findings at international conferences and in peer reviewed journals....more