3 Tips For A Top GAA Pre-season




It’s January, it’s freezing cold & wet outside and you’re probably a couple of kilos heavier than you’d like to be!!  That can only mean one thing……..



Check out my 3 simple tips below to get you off to the best start ever this pre-season!!



1- Plan Backwards to Move Forward…


Instead of charging head first into pre-season with some vague targets in mind



GIVE THIS A GO………. Plan your pre-season backwards from the date of your first competitive game.  Knowing exactly how many weeks/training sessions you have to work with when putting your plan in place is essential to optimising your pre-season. Fitting in the most beneficial & worthwhile training within that time frame!!


Develop a basic plan, section off and allocate weeks for specific & progressive training blocks depending on your goals (tip 2!!).  You don’t have to be a qualified S&C Coach to ensure your training time is optimised and well planned.


  • Firstly section your plan into weeks
  • Decide how many weeks you are going to dedicate to each  focused “Training Block”
  • Break each training block down into specific sessions per week
  • Finally take the time to plan out exactly what you are going to do in each session but be flexible (reps/sets/number & distance of sprints/skill drills etc) – most GAA coaches and players work or study full time so this takes the pressure off as you will always have your session pre-planned and ready to go…… BOOM no more precious training time gone to waste!!)



  • 10 weeks Pre-season ↓ ↓ ↓
    • One 3 Week Block of Functional Preparation and Long Distance Running (80-100m runs)
    • One 4 Week Block of Strength Training & Mid Distance Running (60-80m runs)
    • One 3 Week Block of Speed and Power Training (10-40m sprints)
  • 3 Week speed and power training sample session layout
    • Warm up – (mins)
    • Plyometrics – 4 exercises (reps x sets)
    • Sprints – 10/20/40 meter Sprints (reps x sets)
    • Skill Drills – Handling or Small Sided Game (time x intensity)




2 – Be A Top Goal Scorer…


Now you know exactly how many training hours you have to work with, sit down and set tough but realistic & achievable goals within that time frame.




Think back to last season…… analyse yourself, be brutal but constructive, ask coaches and team mates what was lacking from your game!


E.g -Did you spend a lot of time injured on the side line?

Goal – Work on balancing out dysfunctional movement patters with effective stretching/strengthening and dynamic mobility work.

-Consistently last to the breaking ball?

Goal – Aim to improve your 5/10/20m sprint times with SAQ and power training.

-Did you concede more goals than you would have liked as a goalkeeper?

“Goal” 🙂 🙂  – Look to optimise reactive speed, agility and power.


Or was it something outside of physical training? Like….

-Poor Time Keeping, always turning up late and missing the warm up?
-Not looking after your nutrition or hydration?
-Not getting enough good quality sleep?


You may be playing a team sport but ultimately you are responsible for yourself and have an obligation to your team mates and coaches to develop the best version of you to take onto the pitch!!

Certain goals may not be attainable within your pre-season time frame DON’T WORRY
Don’t discard them, simply expand your training plan over the season and continue to re-evaluate and continually work to achieve these goals long term.




3 -Test, Progress, Retest…


So the plan is in place and the goals are set……. What next??



The only way to figure out your starting point and determine if you have actually met your end goal is to test yourself.

i.e  timing speed over a certain distance, measuring vertical jump height or horizontal jump distance, stimulus reactions, rep max testing etc.  whatever it is I guarantee you there is a simple and effective way to test it without the need for expensive equipment.


Now decide what you want that test result to be when you retest?


You MUST set a target to work to…… This step is what sets your goals in stone!!


It’s easy to say “I want to be faster” “I want to be stronger” “I want to be more flexible” but unless you set specific targets these statements are just that….. statements, not goals.


Session to session/Week to week your training must have a set pattern of progression. Simply altering reps x sets/varying sprint distance or intensity/increasing plyometrics or simply playing around with rest times are all you need to progress your training effectively.

Progress is progress, it doesn’t need to be elaborate or fancy!


Keep in mind, some weeks you will struggle and won’t hit your targets… so what, thats life!!

Don’t give up 🙂

 Just remember the 3 R’s

Recover – Reassess – Reset