Many thanks for taking the time to visit and welcome to this list of 15 Gaelic Football drills for U12’s and U14’s which we hope can benefit you and your own underage teams. We have split this list into 2 main parts where we have outlined 5 drills that can be used as part of a general warm-up session and 10 more drills which can be used after the warm-up and before the final match play session. Some of these Gaelic drills will probably work better than others so feel free to scroll down through them and pick out the ones you feel will work best for you.
To keep the ongoing training sessions fresh, you should mix and match a small selection of these drills for different sessions so that they are challenged week in week out instead of having the same set up week after week. You can pick one drill for kick passing one week and a different one then for the second week and the same goes for the hand passing drills, shooting drills and tackling drills. For easier navigation here, our list of 15 Gaelic football drills will be split out as follows…
U12 & U14 Gaelic Football Drill Content:
- Section 1: U12 & U14 Gaelic Warm-up Football drills – 5 options
- Section 2: U12 & U14 Gaelic Football technique drills – 10 options
- Section 3: Match play planning
- Section 4: Feedback opportunity
After the light warm-up, various stretches should be completed such as the quads, hamstrings and calf muscles. Get them to follow you through a 5 minutes exercise routine that can include jump in jacks, side switch steps, squats, forward lunges, touching their toes while their legs remain straight and also double leg bridge stretches.
Read also: Our football equipment list for drills here
Section 1: U12 & U14 Gaelic Warm-up Football drills – 5 options
Warm up Drill Option 1 – Triangle Hand Passing
- Set up the group into 3 main stations lined up behind each other and the aim of this drill is to get them passing into the space for the oncoming runner.
- Instead of a hand pass direct at the cone, they should pass it 2 steps away for the receiver to take it. Start with 1 ball and progress to 3 balls in time.
- The first player on each cone starts at the same time and try to keep them going at a steady pace rather than overtaking each other.
- After a few minutes, change the direction to anti-clockwise with the blow of a whistle and get them passing with the weaker hand.
- Instead of the hand pass, you can also include high ball catching and ball rolling pick-ups during this session to keep them on their toes
Warm up Drill Option 2 – Trio Jog and Shot
- Start at the halfway line and get them into groups of 3 lined up behind one another. They need to start halfway out and hand pass to each other at speed.
- The focus here should be hand speed rather than feet speed with a maximum of 4 steps allowed before the hand pass is given / taken.
- Once they reach 20m of the goals, then the last person with the ball takes a shot over the bar. A mentor or 2 should be behind the goals to retrieve the balls back to the group.
- Each player should get a few kicks on goal and encourage kicking while on the run instead of being in a stationary position. Keep note of the players that consistently score points for potential forward play in competitive games.
Warm up Drill Option 3 – Turn & Kick Pass
- Set up a drill with cones approx. 20m in length as outlined in the diagram above. Have groups of 3 or 4 depending on numbers and have 5 players set up per group.
- Line them up with 1 football per group and start with just a jog out to the next set of cones with a bounce and a solo and return the ball with a kick punt pass. Try to encourage accuracy of the kick pass and alternate it with a low hard pass back and a chest high pass.
- After a few minutes, increase the pace to 80% speed and they continue with the bounce and solo out. Keep focused on the quick feet around the cones with more types of return passes.
- Then after a while, slow down the pace again to a jog and get them to perform the solo and the return kick pass with the weaker foot.
Warm up Drill Option 4 – 20 Hand Passes
- For this next warm up drill, try your best to split them up as evenly as you can in terms of size, strength and ability or even set them up as defenders on one team and forwards all on the other team.
- Split the large group into 2 teams and each team wears a separate coloured bib. The objective for this drill is for the first team to secure 20 consecutive hand passes without being intercepted.
- The coach or mentor needs to be close-by and shouts aloud the number of passes completed – motivating both the hand passers and the interceptors to get more involved in the drill.
- Once intercepted, the opposing team now have to try to secure 20 consecutive hand passes. The first team to get the 20 hand passes completed is the winner
Read also: Gaelic Drills equipment support list here
Warm up Drill Option 5 – Hand Pass Points
- Another warm up drill you can use to change it around a bit is to have a slightly competitive hand passing point scoring game.
- Split the large group into defenders and attackers. The objective here is for the attackers to work the ball forward through the defenders into a scorable position. Once in the scorable position, players can only take a score by hand passing or hand fisting the ball over the bar.
- After 8 minutes, change it around and have the defenders attack while the forwards need to defend. Similarly let it run for 8 minutes and keep track of the scores of both teams to see who wins
- This exercise motivates the forwards to defend when they don’t have the ball and it is also great for close encounter tackling and near hand tackling
Section 2: U12 & U14 Gaelic Football technique drills – 10 options
Once the warm-up drills and stretching is all wrapped up, then get the panel split up into smaller groups where needed and rotate the players where possible through the drills. Some of these drills will work better than others for you so feel free to pick and choose the ones that will work best for your own members. To keep things fresh, alternate or mix and match a selection of the drills at different sessions to always keep them on their toes.
Read also: Our equipment support list for drills here
Gaelic Drill Option 1 – Mini 5 v 5 Games
- For this intensive drill, split the large group into 4 teams of 5 or so and set up 2 mini goal posts close together around 20-25m apart.
- Players are only allowed 2 plays of the ball when carried and then they must pass the ball or be tackled.
- The objective of this exercise drill is support play when players are in difficulty, so each member of the mini team needs to work hard for each other.
- They will also need to work on their hand passing accuracy skills, ball control, secure catching and scores can only be taken over the bar with the hand or fist.
- After 5 minutes change to the next 2 teams and allow them to compete, tackle, support each other and keep track of the scores. Winners of both games then compete in a final playoff.
Gaelic Drill Option 2 – Near Hand Tackling
- For this drill, we want to get the defenders to practice the near hand tackling routine so again split them into 2 groups as outlined in the diagram above.
- The yellow team start off with the ball and are allowed 2 to 3 plays of the ball and they run past the blue team who will try to tackle them using the near hand tackling routine.
- Start off with a jog with little resistance to get the technique right and then progress to a faster pace once they have mastered the skill.
- Allow to run for 5 minutes and then alternate the team so that the forwards focus on the tackling also.
- Players can only take goal scoring with the foot and they must take a minimum of 2 plays of the ball before striking on goal
Gaelic Drill Option 3 – Side by Side Tackling
- This is somewhat similar to the previous drill but this time they will be trying to work the near hand tackle while running side by side
- Starting off they jog slowly with the yellow team with the balls and they play the ball bouncing and soloing without much resistance allowing the blue team to tackle them.
- Let them jog through the cones to the far end and they should aim to get at least 2 or 3 near hand tackles during this time.
- After a few minutes, then progress it to 50% speed and with some resistance from the yellow team where more effort is required on the part of the blue team to dispossess them.
- Then after 5 minutes, alternate the blue and yellow teams so that everyone gets to practice the correct tackling while on the run with their opponents
Gaelic Drill Option 4 – Pass, Catch and Kick
- For this drill, we want to incorporate various multiple tasks for hand passing, catching and kick passing.
- Split them into 3 groups and line them up in the cones as outlined in the diagram. Then set a cone 20m out and the last cone a further 10m out (total distance of 30m). A player will be positioned at the first cone for each group who takes a hand pass and returns the ball for a high catch to the oncoming player.
- The oncoming player needs to leap for a high catch and then jogs to the far cone and returns the ball to the group with an accurate punt kick pass
- Alternate the middle stationary players after a few minutes and also get them to use a mix of passes for the oncoming player be it a high catch, rolling ball, a hand pass to the left or a hand pass to the right.
- That way the oncoming player needs to react quickly to the type of pass coming their way.
Gaelic Drill Option 5 – Passing & Goal Shooting
- For this next exercise, we want to work on slick and accurate passing while moving at the same time and getting into position to score goals.
- The player starts with a kick pass marked “A” on the diagram and moves to the rear of the next section.
- The first player in blue above collects the kick pass and hand passes it to the mentor marked “B” in the stationary position in the centre. They take a return pass and go around the mentor and head towards goals at pace for a shot on goal marked “C”
- Once the shot is taken, they must collect the ball from the goals and return to the starting position once again. Start with a jogging pace and increase to full speed after 5 minutes.
Gaelic Drill Option 6 – Win the Ball to Shoot
- The next drill that you can use for some of your sessions is to introduce a competitive edge to the drills by making them compete against each other to win the ball.
- The coach stands at the other side of the square approx. 20m by 20m and throws the ball high up into the air for the 2 oncoming players to compete for. Whoever wins the ball tries to kick a score and the player who doesn’t win the ball must defend.
- Try to line them up in partners of equal size and ability so it won’t be one sided. Whoever kicks the ball must return the ball to the coach area.
- The coach should have 5 or 6 balls on hand to keep it moving and they should alternate it to a high throw, low throws and throws to the left and to the right. Start them off at 50% pace and progress to full pace after 5 minutes.
Gaelic Drill Option 7 – Speed Development
- This next drill that you can use is specifically for speed development with the ball so set the cones out 15m apart and line them up behind the cones as outlined in the diagram.
- We also want them to improve their reactions so when they reach the first set of cones, the coach shouts out the command in an instant be it move to the left or to the right or stay centre or jump in the air.
- They will also be using the ball during this exercise, so we are looking for quick feet, quick bouncing and quick soloing and quick reaction times.
- Once they reach the outer cone, then it is a kick punt pass to the start of the group. Start off with 80% pace and progress to full pace after a few minutes.
Gaelic Drill Option 8 – Multi Direction Passing
- This drill is all about quick hands and quick hand passing and turning at pace to give another quick hand pass.
- Split them up into small groups of 3 and have 2 players either side in a stationary position with the footballs.
- The player in the middle is the only one running and only allow this to go for 30 seconds at a time - count how many passes they can give in this short time frame.
- When the 30 seconds is up, then alternate one of the stationary players into the middle for them to do the next set of 30 second passing.
- This exercise will get them pumped up and help them with ball catching and hand passing at speed when they are experiencing some levels of fatigue
Gaelic Drill Option 9 – Securing Possession
- The main objective of this drill is to first secure possession of the ball when thrown in by the coach and then work with your team mate to pass to your corresponding player outside the cones.
- Split them into groups of 8 for this drill and have 2 teams of 4 wearing different coloured bibs.
- It will be a 2 versus 2 on the inside of the cones and the players in position “A” and “B” stay in their stationary positions.
- The coach throws the ball in high and the yellow team of 2 need to secure it and work it out to their 2 players on the outside. Likewise, the blue team will be competing for the same ball for their own players on the exterior.
- Alternate after 3 to 5 minutes and keep track of how many balls are secured to base by each team
Gaelic Drill Option 10 – Blocking Passing
- Another useful drill that can be used for developing accurate kick passing is block passing where 2 opposing players are allocated to each square block.
- A maximum of 2 plays are allowed where they are forced to make a pass. The ball starts in one cone and then the player with the ball can kick it into either of the other 3 blocks to their own team members.
- Allow it to run for 5 minutes with little resistance from the opposition until they get accustomed to it and then increase the intensity of it.
- Hand passing and kick passing is allowed, and they should target to get 5 passes without being intercepted. Once intercepted then the other team will try to string 5 passes together without being dispossessed.
Read also: Our equipment support list for Gaelic drills
Section 3: Match Play Planning
When all the drills are complete, make sure to allow the last 20 to 25 minutes for a competitive game and pick 2 teams as fairly as you can. Instead of picking the strongest players first into teams, pick some of the weaker players out first so that they don’t always feel that they are the worst players in the panel.
Start off with a complete open play and then introduce a maximum of 2 plays with the ball and also divide the pitch into 2 where half the players must stick to their own half of the pitch which will encourage more long range passing.
Section 4: Feedback opportunity
How about you – did you find this list of U12 and U14 Gaelic football drills useful or helpful in any way? Are there other drills that you believe work better for your own groups that you would recommend instead?
If possible – please share your own suggestions or feedback in the comment box section provided below – so that others across the Gaelic Football community can learn also! (email addresses are not published)