Peter Nugent: The window of opportunity to get championship ready

WITH the All-Ireland football series now whittled down to the last four. that can only mean one thing for the club player – the club championship is appearing on the horizon.

With county championships set to throw in around the province over the next three to six weeks, depending on where you ply your trade, now is probably a good opportunity to take stock of how your own individual season has progressed to date.

Whether it has or hasn’t lived up to your initial expectations to date it is up to you to make the most of the next window of preparation being afforded to you. In Armagh it seems the club championships will have a mid/late September start date, which is a perfect time frame for those players still a little off the peak of their powers.

What areas can you improve in your physical preparation and performance? Typically, most responses will centre around speed and aerobic fitness Improvements. Players crave the feeling of being ‘fast’ and ‘feeling fit’. What you mightn’t typically here in response to the above question is.

– I will be more consistent with my water intake.

– I will make a conscious effort to ration carbohydrates, proteins and fats accordingly in my day-to-day dietary requirements.

– I will prioritise a quality sleep routine.

– I will take extra precautions with prehab routines and muscle activation pre training and games.

– I will try to ensure I am not in a sedentary seated position for much of the working day.

When the above mentioned areas are being executed with consistency then the on-field preparation will become less arduous. Who doesn’t want to turn up feeling energised and niggle free? In order for players to feel championship-ready they may want to address the following three genres

Aerobic Fitness

If you believe that you haven’t scaled the heights of where you would like to be in a fitness sense, then you need a few things to go your way.

A) More game time – Competitive in-house or challenge games, whatever you can get your hands on you have to take it.

B) A structured three of four-week aerobic base building program may help you mentally as much as physically. You can achieve this by incorporating some tempo run sets or MAS runs into your individual and or team sessions. Set a date in mind for when you would like to be feeling at your best and work back from there.


As I have touched on many times before, acceleration for our field sports is a major component of the average players’ game-based activity, and your preparation should reflect this. Within our games players are constantly challenged to attack the ball from a variety of starting positions. Don’t be afraid to incorporate this into your routines.

Kneeling starts (double and single leg) press up position, side on starts, forward lean. When performing these actions in training we are replicating to a degree some of the chaotic nature of a game, these positions challenge the player to adapt and organise themselves quickly as they would in a game. Remember when we speak of acceleration, we are moving over distances between 10 and 30 meters.


Not to be confused with acceleration. Speed is when a forward is chasing down a racehorse corner-back as they have bolted from their own full-back line to support play in the middle third. Speed is a maximum effort, so in training if you’re not achieving your top speed or close to it (95 per cent minimum) then you aren’t improving your speed.

The thing with speed training is you must be patient, sit the recovery out and let the body replenish and recover. Sprinting 60 metres and repeating that sprint 40 seconds later is not speed training, it’s just general field conditioning. When considering the key factors for increasing speed:

– Keep overall session volume low – do this on a separate day to team sessions.

– Ensure sufficient recovery periods (three-minutes-plus per run depending on distance).

– Keep distance relevant (40-50-60M).

For any additional information please contact us on Instagram @gaaperformanceguys.

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere

No tags for this post.

Gaelic Life is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 10-14 John Street, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, N. Ireland, BT781DW