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The anthropometric and performance characteristics of starters and non-starters in Gaelic football

Updated: Jun 28, 2020

KIERAN COLLINS & BARRY HORGAN (2019) BASES Conference 2019 – Programme and Abstracts,Journal of Sports Sciences,37:sup1,1-93,DOI:10.1080/02640414.2019.1671688

Introduction: To date, no study has investigated the anthro- pometric and performance characteristics of elite Gaelic football players with respect of selection. With this in mind, the purpose of the current study was to investigate the anthropometric and performance characteristics and deter- mine which qualities were important to selection in elite Gaelic football. Methods: The games of the All-Ireland series were used to classify starter and non-starter. Sixty-two male, elite Gaelic footballers (25 + 4 years), 12 full-backs, 13 half-back, 6 mid- fielders, 15 half-forwards and 16 full-forwards underwent measurements of standard anthropometric (stature, body mass) and performance characteristics (counter-movement jump (CMJ), CMJ peak power, 5-, 10-, 20-m sprint times and YoYo IRTl1) during the later stages of the competitive sea- son. A one way ANOVA with significant differences accepted at a criterion alpha level of p < 0.05 was used to compare the groups. Data is reported as mean ± sd (95%CI). Results: Starters tend to be older than their non-starter counterparts (26 ± 3 years (95%CI: 24–27) vs. 24 ± 4 (95% CI: 22–26). Starters also tend to be taller (183 ± 6 cm (95%CI: 181–185) vs. 182 ± 5 cm (95%CI: 179–184) and lighter (85.1 ± 6.2 kg (95%CI: 82.8–87.4) vs 86.1 ± 6.5 kg (95%CI: 83.7–88.4) than non-starters. A non significant variation was evident between these variables. Starters possessed signifi- cantly (p = .015) superior CMJ performance (45.1 ± 5.3 cm (95%CI: 43.1–47) vs 41.5 ± 5.5 (95%CI: 39.5–43.5) and sig- nificantly higher (p = .037) YoYoIRTLI scores (2585 ± 273 m (95%CI: 2483–2687) vs. 2404 ± 383 m (95%CI: 2266–2542) compared to non-starters. A non significant variation was observed for sprint speed and CMJ peak power between the groups. Conclusion: Identifying variations in the anthropometric and performance characteristics of elite Gaelic football players provides insight into the qualities which are important for playing success, whilst also identifying factors which may limit performance. The results demonstrate that elite Gaelic football starter have better power production and intermit- tent exercise capacity than non-starters, suggesting that these qualities may contribute to playing success. Coaches should consider the development of these qualities within their training regimen. The information provides bench-marks for the development of CMJ and intermittent exercise performance in elite Gaelic footballers.

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