What The Coach Does (V)

A Games-Based Approach

There are 3 aspects to the Games-Based approach promoted by the GAA.  

  • Firstly on a macro level the coach uses training sessions in between games to help players improve upon aspects identified in the games as requiring attention.
  • Secondly the coach applies a philosophy of emphasising games-based activities in their coaching sessions. The coaching process should start with the Game and when necessary the coach “Freezes” the Game and using the appropriate activity from the Coach10 Activity Wheel (see below) they “Fix” the skill before going back to play the Game. 
  • Thirdly, the Coach uses a 'Guided Discovery' as opposed to 'Instruction' based approach when communicating with players. 

The Coach10 Activity Wheel

The activity type chosen is dependent on the context, i.e. whether you are dealing with Child, Youth or Adult players and also on the intervention needed.  The activity types are colour-coded according to their contextual relevance with the further away you go from the Game at the centre, the less like the Game the activity type is.  

E.g. at Nursery level the focus should be on the outer Yellow orbits, i.e. Fun Routines, Ball Sense & Drills whereas at Youth level you now include the Green activity types and the Red activity types at Adult level.


Fun Routines:

Activities undertaken by players - on an individual or group basis - where the primary emphasis is placed on fun - deriving from the playful nature of the underlying activity - as distinct from the competitive outcome

Ball Sense:

Activities involving the use of the ball or specific object (e.g. bean bag), undertaken by players to develop ball manipulation skills & hand-eye/foot-eye coordination as part of a ball wall, freestyle, alley or rebound programme.


Execution of skills, mostly technical involving different organisational formations and varying levels of pressure and/or intensity.

The Game:

The full version of a game in which participating teams have the maximum number of players and play in accordance with the specific rules and pitch dimensions as determined for that age and/or level e.g. Adult: 15-a-side, Go Games (U7, U9, U11) @ child

Go Games

Modified version of hurling and Gaelic football which have been devised for children in which very participant takes part for the entire game. The playing rules and equipment are structured to meet the needs of the two year age cohorts i.e. U7, U9 & U11.

Backs & Forwards:

Activity where one set of backs are competing against one set of forwards.

Small-Sided Games:

Activity in which participating teams have fewer than the maximum number of permitted players for that age-grade and/or level.

Conditioned Games:

Game - full-sided, small-sided, backs & forwards - where conditions are imposed on foot of the playing rules or scoring system.

Set Plays:

Activity whereby players work on set pieces e.g. kick out, puck out, 45’, 65’, free and/or side-line kick/puck with a view to replicating game conditions.

Practice Plays:

Activity where a group of players replicate a game like scenario e.g. contest/win possession, get/deny a score with varying level of opposition.


Activity where objectives are used to improve performance in a technical, tactical & team play context.