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Game Based Approaches (GBAs) have been advocated as pedagogies that positively impact athletes’ personal and social development, decision-making, tactical awareness and physical fitness. Despite the growing support for GBAs in the academic literature, evidence is currently lacking regarding the application of GBAs across different sports and developmental levels. Accordingly, the present study aimed to investigate Gaelic football coaches’ self-reported practice activities and session sequencing and assess how these aligned with benchmarks outlined in the GBA academic literature. In addition, coaches’ practice activities were examined as a function of developmental level (academy/developmental/senior) and time of the season (pre/peak). Responses to an online survey, completed by 150 practicing inter-county Gaelic football coaches, were analysed. During pre-season, coaches estimated spending the majority of time in Training Form activities (e.g., isolated fitness, technical skill), whereas they predominately utilised Playing Form activities (e.g., modified games) during peak-season. Coaches reported utilising Training Form activities in the first half of their coaching session before progressing to game like activities in the second half of the session. Few differences were noted across developmental levels. Further education with Gaelic football coaches is required to ensure a more sophisticated conceptual understanding and application of GBAs in coaches’ practice.
Paul Kinnerk, Philip Kearney, Ciaran MacDonncha, and Mark Lyons are with Physical Education and Sports Sciences, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland. Stephen Harvey is with Recreation and Sport Pedagogy, Ohio University, Athens, OH.