Peter Nugent: Prepare for a change in pace

Gaels across the north rejoice as at long last we are getting the green light to return to the pitches in pods of 15.

There can’t be any denying that this has been an extremely testing period in the history of the GAA, unprecedent periods of inactivity, dwindling financial resources and thousands of young children and adults left to kick their heels in the wake of this pandemic.

To combat this huge void my brother and I came up with the idea of launching a GAA Coaching platform(GAA Performance Guys) whereby players can access vital structured programming that allows them to prepare for the return to collective sessions with their teammates, which we now have a date for on April 12th.

This was borne out of a frustration at many players across all codes being left without direction to prepare, the GAA had remained tight lipped on return dates and many players were suffering from demotivation and an uneasiness in terms of “What should I be doing now?” “Should I take up distance running” “When do I stop the longer stuff and transition that into more speed based activities?”. It became clear that in some cases players weren’t getting any direction from club coaches and this could be ultimately led to a sleepwalking scenario where players arrive back to club training with little to no adequate preparation and bang you know what comes next.

The change up from low activity to three or four pitch sessions a week, a volume overload of unsustainable proportions and before you know it you’re parked up in the sick bay, unfit for purpose.

This is the situation we had observed from many club players after lockdown lifted last summer and we wanted to issue a strategy that could aid players navigate the return to play successfully after a long layoff.

The result after some trial and error being we have put together a full return to play post lockdown program in accordance with the many varying demands of specific positions within Gaelic games.

Middle 8 Players

Inside Lines Players

Aerobic Development

The sessions are available to view via an online app with video content on all drills and coaching points easily accessed. These coaching programs are loaded with game specific movements, importantly all aspects of the programming include performing with ball in hand, the most crucial element in GAA games preparation.

In these sessions we look specifically at building players tolerance to load over a period of six weeks. A pre season of sorts in this chaotic time.

The ultimate defined outcome is that players can gradually build their tolerance to incremental loading demands week to week.

Central to this is the players ability to perform repeated sprints firstly in the outlined sessions and secondly transferring that into game scenarios.

That is, after all, the very crux of the games we play, the ability to move with and off the ball at high velocity.

When incorporating repeated sprint ability or RSA into a pitch session its important the coach and players understand the importance of work to rest ratios.

Essentially this is the ability to perform repeated sprints of less than 10 seconds with less than 60 seconds for recovery.

An example of this could resemble : 5x 30 Meter Accelerations (3-5 seconds) 30 Seconds rest between reps.

If you would like some more information on the GAA Performance Guys Post Lockdown Return to play programs, then drop us a message on Instagram page @gaaperformanceguys

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