PESS Staff Contribute to the Gaelic Games Player Pathway and Sports Science 2030 Vision.

The Gaelic Games Player Pathway and Sports Science 2030 Vision provides a framework for the application of sports science across Gaelic Games. Healthy and holistic player development is led by coaches, teachers, parents and guardians, supported by evidence-based education and qualified practitioners from various disciplines of sports science. In today’s blog, two members of PESS staff who were involved in the development of the framework explain what it involves and who it is for.

Sports Science is for everyone
The various disciplines of sport science can contribute to promoting positive experiences for all those involved in Gaelic Games. Whether your goal is to provide a fun and stimulating experience for young children, to retain teenagers in sport, to develop high performers, or to provide recreational sport for adults, the knowledge gained from sports science research and the expertise of sports scientists can help.

Good practice in sports science across the player pathway is supported by the following principles:

  1. Retain coaching the game as the core of all activities, with sport science delivered with and through coaches.
  2. Support all members to be active and healthy through Gaelic Games as a lifelong participant.
  3. Embed sports science into existing player pathways specific to age groups.
  4. Ensure Gaelic Games led activity is based on up-to-date scientific principles; always ‘good’ and aspires to ‘best’ practice.
  5. Emphasise Inter-Disciplinary support teams.
  6. Nurture and produce high performers.

In applied Gaelic Games contexts, the sports science disciplines are commonly recognised as athletic development, nutrition, performance analysis, skill acquisition, sport psychology, and physiotherapy & rehabilitation.

Dr .Phil Kearney

I was privileged to coordinate the Skill Acquisition subgroup within the framework (you can find out more about the group here). Skill Acquisition is the science of practice, providing guidance for coaches on how to design and deliver optimal training sessions, and guidance for players on how to make the most out of each hour of practice. A knowledge of skill acquisition allows coaches to ensure that practice is as efficient and as effective as possible throughout the lifespan of a player. I am particularly excited by the potential of the Framework, and the forthcoming work that is guided by it, to raise the profile of Skill Acquisition within a Gaelic Games context, and to support the development of a community of practitioners applying skill acquisition to enhance the player experience at all levels of Gaelic Games.

Dr. Catherine Norton

The Performance Nutrition subgroup was tasked with providing guidance for players and coaches on what, when and how to eat and drink to support health, participation, and performance in Gaelic Games. We devised a road map for nutrition education across the pathway from minis through to elite athletes with suggested resources (human and otherwise). We hope that this supports learning on the importance of food for and health, participation and performance in sport for players and support staff. The work drew on experience and expertise from academics and practitioners in performance nutrition and has reminded us of the benefits to collaboration. We have scientific communications in progress and this work has offered direction on future research activity for our group. Watch this space!

Dr Phil Kearney is the Course Director of the MSc Applied Sports Coaching within the PESS Department here at the University of Limerick. View Phil’s profile:

Dr Catherine Norton is the Course Director of the MSc Sports Performance within the PESS Department here at the University of Limerick. View Catherine’s profile:

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