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The effect of a periodized small-sided games intervention in hurling on physical and physiological measures of performance

Abstract

The current investigation examined the effect of a periodized small-sided games (SSG) intervention across a 4-week pre-season period on physical and physiological performance measures within hurling players. Twenty-five (n = 25) hurling players were observed across the training intervention with GPS and HR technologies. Players participated in 12 sessions of exclusive 4 min SSG bouts (4 v 4) across differing pitch dimensions from 100 to 200-m2 with the number of bouts of SSG increasing across the intervention period (from 4 up to 8 bouts). Pre and post intervention tests included physiological (VO2max (mL kg−1 min−1), vVO2max (mL kg−1 min−1), PTV (km h−1), oxygen consumption (mL kg−1 min−1), vLT (mmol L−1), vOBLA (mmol L−1) and HRmax) and physical [5-, 10-, 20-m speed (s), Yo-YoIR1 (m) and RSAb (s)] testing methodologies. Across the period significant improvements in physical and physiological qualities were observed with these being trivial to large in nature. Significant large improvements in VO2max (ES 1.79; 95% CI 1.02–2.01) and vLT (ES 1.56; 95% CI 1.12–1.78) were reported with moderate improvements in vVO2max (ES 0.93; 95% CI 0.77–1.11) and vOBLA (ES 0.89; 95% CI 0.34–0.99) respectively. Moderate improvements in Yo-YoIR1 (ES 0.65; 95% CI 0.33–0.78) and RSAb (ES 0.41; 95% CI 0.21–0.66) were also observed across the period with trivial improvements observed for speed across 5-, 10- and 20-m. Furthermore, SSG also led to an improvement in oxygen consumption across varying speeds as indicated through significantly reduced VO2 and HR at running speeds of 8-, 10-, 12-, 14- and 16-km h−1 (ES 0.99–1.78). The present study provides coaches with a periodization strategy for pre-season hurling specific SSG. Overall, the data demonstrate that implementing a structured periodized SSG training intervention can improve the physical and physiological fitness characteristics of hurling players across a pre-season.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to state that they have no conflicts of interest to declare while also thanking the management and players of the teams involved in the current investigation

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Correspondence to Shane Malone.

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Ethical approval for the current investigation was granted by the research ethics committee of the Technological University of Dublin, Tallaght. All procedures performed in the study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Trust and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Malone, S., Keane, J., Owen, A. et al. The effect of a periodized small-sided games intervention in hurling on physical and physiological measures of performance. Sport Sci Health 17, 403–413 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11332-020-00703-w

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11332-020-00703-w

Keywords

  • Small-sided games
  • GAA
  • Training intervention
  • HR
  • GPS