The use, integration and value of performance analysis to GAA coaches


  • Denise Martin School of Business and Humanities, Institute of Technology, Dublin, Ireland
  • Alan Swanton Irish Institute of Sport, Dublin, Ireland
  • Denise McGrath School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  • Jonathon Bradley Sports Institute Northern Ireland, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom





Performance analysis (PA) has become integral to the multi-million euro preparation of intercounty GAA teams (GAA, 2013). With little research on the coaching practice of GAA coaches, this paper explores their engagement with PA. Its aims were to examine the use, integration and value of PA to coaches. A sample of 12,500 (minimum level 1 Coaching Ireland qualified) coaches were selected to complete an online-survey with 538 respondents across 37 sports. As the highest responding cohort (n=144), data for the GAA coaches was isolated for further analysis. PA was used by 49% of GAA coaches. These coaches were more likely to have 10+ years coaching experience (Xi2 = 20.7 p = 0); be qualified beyond GAA Award 1 (Xi2 = 14.0 p = 0) and coach at intercounty level (Xi2 = 12.3 p = 0). Coaches using PA had access primarily to match statistics (81%); only 49% had access to match video. The most popular tools for data collection were hand notation (65%), Dartfish (38%) and Apps (38%). Coaches cited resources and knowledge as key barriers to progressing their use of PA. Reliability of information was not identified as an issue. 88% of coaches using PA felt it was important / essential to their practice. The findings indicate that GAA coaches have substantially more access to quantitative information compared to video feedback. This lack of video to contextualise and validate data has potential to hamper the interpretation of information by a coach thus impacting their subsequent interventions. In GAA coach education, more emphasis could be placed on the importance of contextualising statistics with video and the potential of video feedback to players. Coaches should be encouraged to question the reliability of match statistics and equipped with appropriate strategies to minimise errors in data collection.


Download data is not yet available.


Ball, K., & Horgan, B. (2013). Performance analysis of kicking and striking skills in Gaelic sports. Performance Analysis of Sport IX, 117.

Blaze, A., Atkinson, G., Harwood, C., & Cale, A. (2004). Prevalence and perceptions of performance analysis in the English Premier Association Football League. Performance Analysis of Sport V, Centre for Performance Analysis, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, 79-83.

Bradley, J., & O'Donoghue, P. G. (2011). Counterattacks in elite Gaelic football competition. Int J PA Sport, 11(1), 159-170.

Butterworth, A. D., Turner, D. J., & Johnstone, J. A. (2012). Coaches' perceptions of the potential use of performance analysis in badminton. Int J PA Sport, 12(2), 452-467.

Byrne, L., & Byrne, E. (2016, in press). A statistical analysis of Kilkenny Senior Hurlers during the 2015 season.

Carling, C., Williams, A. M., & Reilly, T. (2005). Handbook of Soccer Match Analysis. London: Routledge.

Carroll, R. (2013). Team Performance Indicators in Gaelic Football and Opposition Effects. Int J PA Sport, 13(3), 703-715.

Cummiskey, G. (2015). Munster Council bans live video analysis at grounds. Irish Times.

Daly, A., & O'Connor, C. (2014). Dalo: The Autobiography: Transworld Publishers Limited.

GAA. (2013). Gaelic Athletic Association Annual Report to Congress 2013. Dublin: Gaelic Athletic Association.

GAA. (2014). GAA Games Development Report for Irish Sports Council. Dublin: Gaelic Athletic Association.

Gilmore, H. J. (2008). The craft of the Caman; A notational analysis of the frequency occurrence of skills used in Hurling. Int J PA Sport, 8(1), 68-75.

Groom, R., & Cushion, C. (2004). Coaches perceptions of the use of video analysis: A case study. Insight, 7(3), 56-58.

Harte, M., & Shannon, K. (2003). Kicking Down Heaven's Door: All-Star Print Ltd.

Horgan, P., & Daly, P. (2015). The Role of the Coach Developer in Supporting and Guiding Coach Learning A Commentary. Int Sp Coaching J, 2(3), 354-356.

Hughes, M. (2008). Notational Analysis for Coaches. In R. L. Jones, M. Hughes, & K. Kingston (Eds.), An Introduction to Sports Coaching (pp. 101-113). London: Routledge.

James, N., Taylor, J., & Stanley, S. (2007). Reliability procedures for categorical data in Performance Analysis. Int J PA Sport, 7(1), 1-11.

Keyes, C. (2016, 5 March, 2016). Cost of running county teams at record levels. Irish Independent.

Mahoney, C. (2002). The Multidisciplinary Delivery of Sport Science in Gaelic Football. Science and Football IV, 387-391.

Martin, D., Cassidy, D., & O’Donoghue, P. (2004). The effectiveness of performance analysis in elite Gaelic football. Presented at the World Congress of PA of Sport, GAA Workshop.

Maslovat, D., & Franks, I. M. (2015). The importance of feedback to performance. In M. Hughes & I. M. Franks (Eds.), Essentials of Performance Analysis in Sport (2 ed., pp. 11-17). London: Routledge.

McGuinness, J., & Duggan, K. (2015). Until Victory Always: A Memoir: Gill & Macmillan Limited.

Mooney, R., Corley, G., Godfrey, A., Osborough, C., Newell, J., Quinlan, L. R., & G, O. L. (2015). Analysis of swimming performance: perceptions and practices of US-based swimming coaches. J Sports Sci, 1-9. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2015.1085074

O'Donoghue, P. (2015). An introduction to performance analysis of sport. London: Routledge.

O'Donoghue, P. G. (2010). Research methods for sports performance analysis. London;: Routledge.

O’Donoghue, P. G., & Mayes, A. (2013). Performance analysis, feedback and communication in coaching. In T. McGarry, P. G. O'Donoghue, & J. Sampaio (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Sports Performance Analysis. (pp. 155-164). London: Routledge.

Reeves, M. J., & Roberts, S. J. (2013). Perceptions of Performance Analysis in Elite Youth Football. Int J PA Sport, 13(1), 200-211.

Reilly, T., & Collins, K. (2008). Science and the Gaelic sports: Gaelic football and hurling. Eur J Sport Sci, 8(5), 231-240.

Ulster GAA. (2012). Ulster GAA High-Performance and Talent-Identification and Development Plan 2012-2016. Armagh: Ulster Council GAA.

Whelan, D. (2013). The Managers: The tactics and thinkers that transformed Gaelic football. Dublin: Hachette Books Ireland.

Wright, C., Atkins, S., & Jones, B. (2012). An analysis of elite coaches' engagement with performance analysis services (match, notational analysis and technique analysis). Int J PA Sport, 12(2), 436-451.

Wright, C., Carling, C., & Collins, D. (2014). The wider context of performance analysis and it application in the football coaching process. Int J PA Sport, 14(3), 709-733.


Statistics RUA



How to Cite

Martin, D., Swanton, A., McGrath, D., & Bradley, J. (2017). The use, integration and value of performance analysis to GAA coaches. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, 12(2proc), S492-S501.