So how do you coach your hurling at Juvenile level?

So this topic is alluded to many times when our big lads get handed their arse’s by primarily Kilkenny. The cats are more skillful, why??

Have we basically stopped coaching forward play? Is it that we’re so content with tackling and small sided games because they overlap so nicely from football to hurling??

How much time is spent with Juvenile teams to minor on striking, catching, touch work…close in and further apart.
How much time is spent on high Catching?
Are we coaching the freedom out of hurling (running off the shoulder, support play, working the ball out??

Whatever about the numbers bigger clubs have, how can there be such a disparity in playing levels in just one division??

Genuine question, Are teams training on large areas or are they shoehorned into small sided game territory??

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You walk into St Kieran’s at lunchtime and all you see are sliothars flying around.


And i suspect Col Eoin

I would be a perfect example of whats wrong , many moons ago as a voluntaring father I helped coach from under 8s to under 14s , I did play football a reasonable level , but never held a hurl , the other coaches were of similar ilk , this was repeated through various age groups , I know its not that unusual a tale in other clubs
Some of the better hurling clubs I come accross had big cluchie influence running through them , until the majority of clubs have people who really know what they are doing and are furthermore passionate about it you wont compete .

Im sure there are many other factors , living in big smoke exposed to so many alternatives to just one sport


I coached a hurling team from nursery to minor while still playing adult hurling. Put a big emphasis on the basics from an early age. First touch, striking, fielding etc… I coached initially without positions in mind with every player being capable of executing all aspects of the game. This included free taking and sidelines. As players developed they gravitated to certain positions and we worked to coach attacking and defending in equal measure. Every year we maintained and reviewed a player development plan to ensure we focused specific areas of improvement on players. Might be striking from weaker side for example. Quite successful team in winning competitions but the main sucess was retention I felt. We always talked to players, never criticised and requested feedback. This worked well.


Would you be from a “bigger” club?

What’s your opinion on small sided games for training etc?

Did you coach both codes and what crossover would you see for practice sessions?

Bigger Club Yes.

Small sided games have merit but I tended to limit them as I feel full sized pitch games give players the full perspective of a match. Useful for coaching positional sense or specific aspects of defending/attacking. For example coaching goal opportunity when an overlap occurs.

Sorry didn’t coach both codes.

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There are times I think the small sided games are a real cause of some of our woes. A lot to be said for having space to hurl into.

I don’t think that’s wrong at all, but fully understand where you’re coming from. For sure there are loads of folks out there coaching the game that have never played it. I think that’s fine once you have your homework done for Juvenile stuff and keep giving the correct messages.

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Did you attend coaching courses or where did you get the ideas / info for sessions?

Often went to coaching sessions. You’d always pick something up from them. Generally tailored drills and coaching from sessions I would have trained in from my juvenile and adult times.


Coaching juv camogie at the min and would have been advised on coaching courses to stick to small sided games for as long as we can, interestingly enough.

A very small dual club too, so trying we’d have limited time with the small ball too, suppose most places are the same.

Yes, the user name is now out of date…

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Not on the coaching front but I’d say every club needs a solid wall ball/alley and that the county board need to invest in more publicly accessible walls. There’s no reason there can’t be a public wall in the likes of Phoenix park. If you a take a drive through any of the top hurling counties you’ll see no end of ball alleys; in clubs, in schools, and a few just for the general public. It affords younger players the chance to really work on their touch and sharpens them up.

If your club or school don’t have a wall and chances are high that your house is too near another house or shares walls then the only place you’re able to work on your touch is in training or with someone else which isn’t always practical.


I think small sided games have a place, but they are overused where space is at a premium and coaching is constrained ( my opinion only of course).
They can be good if goals are used so scoring is high on the agenda. Using 3 sets of goals can be really good to get players moving in completely different directions.
The standard hand passing games are warm up activities for me and should never be used for kids as a main part of the session.

I think that’s where learning for coaches really happens to be honest.

It doesn’t need to complicated either.

Completed the foundation course last week but have been helping out with under 13s in the club. For such a simple course it was very informative Anthony holly & sean Cleary ran a great 2 nights and gave us endless ideas going forward

What are the simple things?

Was that a club session?

Just about the fundamentals and how to introduce each exercise into game situations the coaching manual we were giving helps a lot as well for the planning of the session. Was a club session yeah 2.5 hours each over the 2 nights

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I dont think it can be stressed enough how simple it can be , teach the kids the very basics at a young age

I think a lot of the time kids can be over coached , complicated drills, more cones than sliotars, tactics etc

Doing the simple things well and at speed is the key, then doing it under pressure consistently

There is a mountain of resources around these days with YouTube, Player Pathways , coaching manuals to help but sometimes its too much and can lead to the over coaching

*On the KK thread earlier, I was thinking of what they do differently

Other than what has already been mentioned around culture/tradition and everything that helps, one thing I think has an impact is the 13/15/Minor grading, players getting to play and train with older players every second year has to help , you even see two or three year jumps , the best U12/U13 can end up playing U15 due to numbers , it only happens in very rare cases in Dublin but I think it has huge benefits.


Playing up is massive. It’s actually one thing done in the country that we don’t really see. Ballyhale lads would see a fair bit of it.

Practice sessions for kids should be all about ball and touch work…… and shooting, and shooting. Oh yeah, and shooting. Without pressure, with some pressure with full pressure.