Speed For GAA Players
Speed is defined as the rate at which someone moves. We can divide speed into an explosive phase and a knee drive phase. A lot of GAA players spend far too much time developing muscles to move slowler, simply because this is an easier way to train during a gym session. We have to look at the relationship between gym sessions and the game played. GAA involves a lot of acceleration and deceleration, but many gym programs don’t reflect the two patterns.
There is a huge role for both strength and hypertrophy in athletic development but speed is often ignored. Reasons for this include;
It’s Time Consuming
In order to train absolute speed it can take up to 40 minutes to properly warm up and activate the muscles and patterns required. This can be slow and tedious. Quite often this part is skipped or sped up in order to get to ‘the good stuff,’ such as sprinting. Athletes can be resting for up to 4 minutes between exercises which can result in sessions lasting up to 2 hours . These sessions are regularly omitted from training plans because of an already busy schedule.
It Is Perceived As A Light Session
There is a ‘if its not hard its not worth doing’ mentality in GAA. Quite often coaches would rather see teams out of breath rather than doing a pure speed session. Athletes don’t get their heart rates up too high or break a sweat. For coaches and some athletes the temptation to work hard can be too much. Working smarter is better for athletic development.
Too Tired After Heavy Training Loads
Heavy weights, long training sessions and matches make it hard to fit speed work into a training regime. You need to prioritise it in your training week for when you are at your freshest. Typically GAA matches are on a Sunday so a speed session would be optimum on a Wednesday. Pitch sessions and gym sessions are regularly prioritised ahead of this, with pitch sessions regularly on a Tuesday and Thusday and gym sessions on Mondays and Wednesdays.
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