Planning in GAA (Part 2)

Medium Term Plan

In yesterdays blog, we spoke about Long Term Planning which would involve a Club Coaching Plan. It can be found here:

Today we will speak about individual plans, which will form sub sections of the Club Coaching Plan.

I have identified 5 distinct groupings within the club, each of which has its own unique features. These are 1. Nursery (5-8 year olds) 2. Child (9-12 year olds) 3. Youth (13-17 year olds) 4. Young Adult (17-20 year olds) and 5. Adult (21 years+). Most of you will be familiar with this diagram from the Foundation Course, where you had to designate which activity is most appropriate to each age group.

While some items listed will apply to each group, they may hold a different weighting e.g. Tactical Awareness will have a greater weighting as you progress from Nursery to Adult, with each section placing a little more importance on it than the last.

Brian Cuthbert recently spoke on a webinar ( ) and Podcast ( ) with us and he highlighted 3 distinct areas that need to be considered in player development.

I think, if anyone is designing a new plan, these 3 areas would be a really good starting point. By incorporating and acknowledging all these aspects in the plan, it should lead to a very cooperative, player and coach friendly environment.

Along with this, it is also necessary to highlight the age appropriate skills for the younger age groups to ensure they are advancing through the ages. Here is a very simple age appropriate skills for the Nursery level.

If a coach was to introduce 3 new skills, along with the Core skill each year, by the age of 10 a child would of been given an introduction to each skill needed to play Hurling and Football. It is also important to set a level of appropriate physical development program, be that Fundamental movement with the Nursery group or introduction to body weight exercises for older players, progressing onto weights further on.

Once a child has mastered the basic introduction to the skills as mentioned by the age of 10, it is important that clubs and mentors have a plan in place for further advancing the ttechnical and tactical side as they progress. For instance, we may put a focus on first touch and gaining possession at U13, whilst also introducing aspects of creating and compressing space. At U14 we might progress to an emphasis on aerial ability and progressing that skill set, whilst also working on Maximising the use of possession.

Each individual age group within the sections also needs to plan accordingly. In a recent webinar on planning for a season (video below) I highlighted all the areas that may need to be taken into account for a given year. These will change from age to age and the weighting of certain aspects, as mentioned already, will vary significantly as age groups progress . In designing a Player Development plan for Cork GAA a number of years ago, we set in age specific content which can be found in this file.

From the video, a plan for an U10 season may look something like this.

A simple template for an underage team may look something like the above, while an adult Hurling team may look like this below.

Realistically, you can go into as much or as little detail as you may need.

For Youth and Adult teams, i would definitely suggest checking out Deely Sport Science for season plans. Ciaran and his team have developed an unbelievable archive of information on this area, which should definitely be checked out by coaches working in the Young Adult and Adult sections. Website link here:

In tomorrows post, i will discuss the short term blocks and designing a plan for them. Each age group has differing needs, so be conscious of your own groups needs when putting plans in place. Tomorrows Short Term plan should fit into todays Medium term plan which fits into yesterdays Long Term Plan.

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