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Fitness Profiling of Elite Level Adolescent Gaelic Football Players

Cullen, Bryan D.; Cregg, Cathal J.; Kelly, David T.; Hughes, Sarah M.; Daly, Pat G.; Moyna, Niall M.

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: August 2013 - Volume 27 - Issue 8 - p 2096–2103
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318277fce2
Original Research

Abstract: Cullen, BD, Cregg, CJ, Kelly, DT, Hughes, SM, Daly, PG, and Moyna, NM. Fitness profiling of elite level adolescent Gaelic football players. J Strength Cond Res 27(8): 2096–2103, 2013—The purpose of this study was to evaluate the anthropometric characteristics and fitness levels of elite level under 18 (U-18) Gaelic football players to establish normative centile scores for selected fitness parameters and to compare the physical and fitness characteristics relative to each playing position. A total of 265 male U-18 Gaelic football players (age: 16.96 ± 0.7 years; height: 178.11 ± 6.27 cm; weight: 72.07 ± 8.68 kg) participated in the study. According to positional roles, players were categorized as goalkeepers (n = 13), defenders (n = 113), midfielders (n = 30), and forwards (n = 109). Height and weight were measured, and skinfolds were taken before participants sequentially performed a sit and reach test (S&R), countermovement jump (CMJ), standing long jump (SLJ), 5- and 20-m speed test, and the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1 (YYIRT1). The percentage body fat was higher (p < 0.01) in goalkeepers than the other playing positions. Goalkeepers had a higher body mass index than defenders (p < 0.05) and forwards (p < 0.01). Midfielders and goalkeepers were taller (p < 0.01) and heavier (p < 0.01) than defenders and forwards. The total distance covered in the YYIRT1 was significantly lower (p < 0.01) in goalkeepers than the other playing positions. There was no significant positional difference in the performance scores in the S&R test, CMJ, SLJ, and 5- and 20-m running speed. The study findings indicate minimal differences in the anthropometric and physiological characteristics between playing positions in elite youth level Gaelic football players. The norm-referenced percentile scores will enable conditioning coaches to benchmark elite performance and design training programs.

1School of Health and Human Performance, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland

2CLARITY, Center for Sensor Web Technologies, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland

3Gaelic Athletic Association, Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland

Address correspondence to Bryan D. Cullen, bryan.cullen2@mail.dcu.ie.

Copyright © 2013 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.