MG Doherty – Underage coaching – Our Super GAA heroes

By Michael Gerard Doherty

I have dedicated September to creating Superhero-themed nursery u-7 sessions.

NHS staff among many others have been rightly hailed as heroes throughout this horrific pandemic but I couldn’t help feel moved by some of the stories shared by our primary school pupils since returning to class. At this point there are very few families that haven’t had a loved one contract the virus. Some have been fortunate in how their bodies have reacted whilst for others the consequences have been devastating.

The reality that a generation of three year olds (including my own son) knew the term ‘Coronavirus’ before they would pick up the names for some animals, colours and numbers, tells its own sorry tale.

However, in the midst of these most challenging of times, the resilience that our children have shown has been nothing short of incredible! They’ve missed time with family, friends, months upon months of schooling, endless sporting sessions all while dealing with worries that even us as adults were struggling to cope with.

When I think of a Superhero, I see someone who shows great strength in the most challenging situations and someone who protects others around them.

Our children are certainly worthy recipients of such a title! It will be nice to have them dressed up in their costumes throughout September sessions so that they can see themselves as the ‘Superheroes’ that they are too!

Superhero Themed Practice Stations & Games: September Part 1

Fundamental Movement Skills: Agility, Balance, Co-ordination, Throwing & Running

Technical Skills: Handling, Travelling (bouncesoloevasiondribbling) Hand Passing, Kicking, Striking

Equipment Required: A minimum of 6 x bibs, 12 x beanbags, 20 x cones, 16 x softplay balls (4 of each colour) 6 x camán, 12 x ‘First Touch’ (or lighter) footballs & sliotars, 3 blinfolds & 6 x hoops

Zone 1 SuperwomanSuperman Laser Vision

l Introductory Phase: Same number of coloured soft balls hidden under a series of cones e.g. 4 x blue, 4 x yellow, 4 x green, 4 x red. The soft balls represent ‘People who need rescued.’ Players are assigned a colour and must use non-dominant hand to search under cones until they have rescued (found) everyone (all of their coloured balls).

l Practice Phase: Same game as above only this time our superheroes have been injured and must hop off one foot as they try to rescue everyone.

l Challenging Phase: Superheroes work in pairs. SuperwomenSupermen wear a blindfold and are directed by their sidekick’s voice commands as they try to rescue everyone.

Progression through age groups:

Time limit placed on rescue

Only non-dominant foot can be used when hopping

Greater number of cones used with no balls underneath

Zone 2 SpidermanSpiderwoman Handpassing

l Introductory Phase: Parentscoaches stand spread out around the zone holding hoops at varying heights. SpidermenSpiderwomen must shoot their web ‘underarm throw sliotarball’ through the hoops.

l Practice Phase: Same game as above only this time our superheroes are encouraged to handpass the sliotarball through the hoops

l Challenging Phase: Parentscoaches are constantly on the move as our SpidermenSpiderwomen try to shoot their web through the moving hoops

Progression through age groups:

First to shoot their web through 10 different hoops is the winner

Hand-passing off both sides

Passing to parents’coaches’ chests as they are on the move

Zone 3 Thor Solo & Strike

l Introductory Phase: Camán acts as Thor’s hammer. A number of humans (beanbags) are stranded on Thor’s planet (squared off area) and must be returned to Earth (hoops on other side) by travelling on Thor’s hammer

l Practice Phase: Players standing with their backs to coachesparents. On call they run out and strike the asteroids (ballssliotars) with their hammers

l Challenging Phase: Mixture of both games above. Players transport (solo) the beanbags to the hoops (Earth) then pick up and groundbounce strike the asteroids away from Earth with their hammers (camáin)

Progression through age groups:

Rackets with larger bases could be used in place of camáin initially for those finding balancing a bit tricky with the camán

Use sliotair in place of beanbags

Striking the sliotair in the air during the challenging phase

In my next article, I will describe the next three stations that will complete September’s Superhero session plan: Batmanwoman’s Evasion Run, Hulk Smash Kicks and Elastagirl’s Balancing Escape.

For more discussions, suggestions, resources and to see video clips of some of the games above please visit my Twitter page: @livelearnlovegg

Furthermore, if you would like further information about any of the games outlined above or wish to discuss possible games for a certain learning area please email me at:

If you are seeking more info or wish to place an order for our Nursery Under 7 club booklets please visit: or email the address above.

MG Doherty image 1

INSPIRE… Young player can be inspired to be super players

MG Doherty image 2

PLAY… Try to introduce more play to your coaching sessions

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