Sport Sciences for Health

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 351–359 | Cite as

The match-play activity cycles in elite U17, U21 and senior hurling competitive games

  • Damien YoungEmail author
  • Kieran Collins
  • Laurent Mourot
  • Giuseppe Coratella
Original Article



The current study aimed to investigate the ball-in-play (BIP) and ball-out-of-play (BOP) differences between U17, U21 and senior hurling matches.


Video recordings of matches (n = 36) were coded and analysed for BIP and BOP. Time when the ball was continuously in-play was considered BIP, whereas any stoppages were considered BOP.


The total and mean BIP cycle duration showed no difference between levels. The number of BIP cycles were higher in senior matches compared to U17 (ES = 1.80: large) and U21 (ES = 1.27: large). U17 matches had a lower frequency of BIP cycles between 16 and 30 s (ES = − 1.75: large) compared to senior. Total BOP duration was longer in senior (45:30 ± 4:13 min) matches compared to U17 (36:31 ± 2:30 min, ES = 2.59: very large) and U21 (36:48 ± 2:53 min, ES = 2.40: very large). Senior matches had a longer BOP duration and greater number of BOP cycles than U17 (ES = 0.17: trivial, ES = 2.20: very large, respectively) and U21 (ES = 0.17: trivial, ES = 0.99: moderate, respectively). U17 matches had a lower frequency of BOP cycles > 60 s (ES = − 1.33: large) compared to senior.


Although there was a difference in the total match duration, U17 and U21 matches have similar BIP time as seniors, suggesting that U17 and U21 players should be conditioned to withstand the elite senior BIP duration. In training practice, high-intensity short-duration games are suggested for repeating the duration demands of competition.


Physical demands Time–motion analysis Team sport Worst case scenario Ball-in-play–ball-out-of-play ratio 



The research was funded by grants from the French Ministry of National Education, of Research and of Technology (EA3920) and from Tomsk Polytechnic University Competitiveness Enhancement Program grant, Project № ВИУ-ИСГТ-108/2017-TPU CEP-HSTI-108/2017.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This study was approved by the University Franche-Comté and the athletes were informed of the purposes and inherent risks associated with this research.

Informed consent

Written informed consent was obtained.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia S.r.l., part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Unit EA3920 Prognostic Markers and Regulatory Factors of Cardiovascular Diseases and Exercise Performance, Exercise Performance Health, Innovation PlatformUniv. Bourgogne Franche-ComtéBesançonFrance
  2. 2.Gaelic Sports Research CentreInstitute of Technology TallaghtTallaghtIreland
  3. 3.The Tom Reilly Building, Research Institute for Sport and Exercise SciencesLiverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolUK
  4. 4.EA3920 Prognostic Factors and Regulatory Factors of Cardiac and Vascular Pathologies, (Exercise Performance Health Innovation -EPHI)Univ. Bourgogne Franche-ComtéBesançonFrance
  5. 5.Tomsk Polytechnic UniversityTomskRussia
  6. 6.Department of Biomedical Sciences for HealthUniversity of MilanMilanItaly

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