Keep practicing

Keep practicing 🙂

Movement and ball manipulation skills should be developed in the early years of physical development. This helps to provide the basis for all further development as your child grows.

Typically these skills are used as elements of warm-up activities for both developing and elite players.

Good GAA resources

There are a couple of great resources available to help develop your child’s GAA skills:

The ABC Programme

The ABC Programme provides a range of activities which can be used to develop movement skills incorporating Agility, Balance, Co-ordination, Running and Jumping.

ABC stands for Acquiring Bilateral Coordination, whereby each of the skills are developed on the left and right sides of the body, using left and right hands and feet.

Within the ABC Programme, for each of the 5 skills outlined, there are three levels of exercise – Level 1 being the easiest, Level 2 moderately difficult and Level 3 most difficult. With an average of 8 exercises within each level, there are approximately 120 exercises, which can be used to develop movement skills.

As the exercises are grouped based on ability level, many exercises can be substituted for each other while keeping the difficulty level of the session consistent. This helps to ensure that sessions are varied, both for the players and the coach.

Remember that movement skills should be developed throughout a player’s career, so these activities can also be used with older age groups, most commonly as warm-up activities.

The Have a Ball Programme

The Have a Ball Programme provides a range of activities which can be used to develop ball manipulation skills. These skills include Throwing, Catching & Passing, Kicking and Striking. Activities in this section focus on the participants’ ability to play with and manipulate balls of various sizes, shapes, and weights.

There are activities that can be used to develop each of the ball manipulation skills. As there are also three difficulty levels outlined, with an average of 8 exercises per level, the Have a Ball Programme offers a bank of approximately 100 exercises that can be used interchangeably.

The Sample Sessions

The Sample Sessions provide coaches with a number of ideas in terms of structuring and/or varying their sessions. A number of blank sessions are also included on the basis that coaches will be able to build a bank of quality sessions which reflect and contribute to best coaching practice.

Cúl Summer Camps

The GAA Cúl Camps provide boys and girls – between the ages of 6 and 13 – with an action-packed and fun-filled week of activity during the summer holidays which revolves around maximising enjoyment and sustaining participant involvement in Gaelic Games. There are camps in every county across Ireland.

Try This at Home with Your Child

Parents, try this at home with your kids: substitute a balloon for a ball, etc then use your imagination to give them little things to try out.

The key focus is on getting your kid(s) to

  • move
  • develop coordination
  • develop balance and
  • have fun!!


Advice from top Footballers & Hurlers

Taken from ‘Cúl 4 kidz’ Irish Times Supplement.

Ciaran Whelan ( Dublin Football ) – If you want to make it as a top footballer, you will have to practice kicking with both feet. It will really help your game. Always practice on your own when you can.

Eugene Cloonan ( Galway Hurler ) – I think its very important to practice on your own. If you can get out there for 20 – 30 mins everyday, you will definitely see your skills improve.

Darragh O Sé ( Kerry Footballer ) – practice kicking with both feet.

John Gardiner ( Cork hurler ) – All you need is a hurl, a ball and a wall to improve your game. GPA hurler of the year 2005.

DJ Carey ( Kilkenny ) – The basics skills of the game, primarily striking, picking up the sliotar, catching and blocking, are the most important, and you should never forget that. The Kilkenny squad practice them everytime they train. No matter how good a player you become, you can never practice those skills enough.

Eoghan O’Gara (Dublin Footballer) – It would take a bit of work for me to get my self-confidence right. I do work hard on that, as I’m not naturally the most confident person. But self-confidence is very important, especially in the Dublin camp where there are so many players at such a high standard. If you want to get picked, you have to force yourself to be confident and positive. You won’t get far unless you do. You literally have to train yourself to believe in yourself.

Oisín McConville ( Armagh Footballer ) – the most important thing is to practice the very basic skills of kicking and catching.

Conal Keaney ( Dublin Hurler ) – try and get out and play everyday. This is important. Even spinning the hurl with a few friends or playing against a wall for 20 – 30 mins. If you go off and train on your own, you will improve.

Seán Óg Ó hAilpín ( Cork Hurler ) – Eat well, sleep well and train well.

Babs Keating ( Tipperary Hurler and Manager ) – fitness and playing with heart are obviously important, but the skills are 80% of it.

Stephen O’Neill ( Tyrone Footballer ) – develop your skills using both feet. GPA footballer of the year 2005.

Matt Connor ( Offaly Footballer) – practice your kicking, both points and free kicks, very near to the posts until you have brought your accuracy at that distance to a very high level – only then, bring the ball out further. Repeat the same technique at the next distance.

Damien Fitzhenry ( Wexford Hurler ) – It’s all about Practise. Get a ball and find a wall and sharpen your skills on your own when you are not training.

Seanie McMahon ( Clare Hurler ) – hitting the ball on the ground is a great skill. Try to work on both left and right sides and this will help to keep the ball moving for your team.

Bryan Cullen ( Dublin Footballer ) – try to develop your weak side at a young age, as it will be a major advantage in the future. Accurate kick passing, as opposed to hand passing, is the most important skill in the game. It has the ability to open up a defence and also gain a lot more  ground faster.

Ollie Canning ( Galway Hurler ) – Ground hurling is the greatest skill in my opinion. It is the best way to keep the ball moving when you don’t have the time and space to pick it up.

Henry Shefflin ( Kilkenny Hurler ) – keeping your eye on the ball at all times during a match. This means that you are concentrating and can react quickly when things happen. Keep practising on your weaknesses and on your weaker side. Even when you’re not training, every chance you get, hit a ball against a wall at home on your own.

Eoin Brosnan ( Kerry Footballer ) – Being able to kick the ball with both feet is really important. It takes a lot of practice however, but it’s worth it in the end. Colm Cooper and Stephen O’Neill are great examples. Practise catching and kicking the ball against a wall at home. It’s great for ball control.

Mickey Harte ( Tyrone Manager ) – it’s not necessarily the amount of time spent training, but the quality of what you do when you train.

Pádraic Maher (Tipperary Hurler) – Young players in their own time should go to a Hurling wall as often as they can.

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