A Comparison of Speed and Power Variables in u18, u21 and Senior Inter-county Hurling Players and an Investigation into the Relationship Between Speed and Power in Elite Hurlers
Background: Hurling is a very popular amateur field sport played in Ireland which requires high levels of skill and fitness to participate at the elite level. The purpose of this study was to compare the speed and power capabilities of elite u18, u21 and senior hurlers as well as investigating the relationship between these variables in this population. Methods: A battery of speed and power tests was carried out on thirty-five u18s, fifteen u21s and twenty senior elite hurlers during pre-season. Height and weight were measured before 10m and 20m sprint tests were carried out. A combination of countermovement jump (all squads), squat jump (seniors and u21s) and standing broad jump (minor) were used for power assessment. Speed and power were tested on separate days. Results: Minors (u18s) were significantly faster (p<0.05) than u21s for 10m speed. Seniors were significantly faster (p<0.05) than u21s for 20m speed. Significant differences were found between minors and the other two groups for CMJ (p<0.01). Conclusion: The results of the research provide normative data for speed and power for elite u18, u21 and senior hurlers. The results also show that hurlers at the age of eighteen have similar sprinting abilities and possibly greater power capabilities than their senior counterparts. It is also clear that the training phase being implemented has a major influence on speed and power. The significant relationship between speed and power indicates the need for continued and further emphasis on speed and power training for these athletes.