Sport Sciences for Health

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 161–172 | Cite as

Fundamental movement skill proficiency in juvenile Gaelic games

  • Siobhán O’Connor
  • Enda. F. Whyte
  • Brendan Gibbons
  • Owen Feeney
  • Sandy Luc
  • Niamh Ní Chéilleachair
Original Article



Fundamental movement skills (FMS) are basic observable patterns of movement and prerequisites to successful performance of sports specific skills. International research has found that children are not reaching their FMS developmental potential. Stability is a third construct of FMS; however, it is typically excluded from FMS assessment protocols. Limited research has examined FMS and balance proficiency in Irish children.


This study aimed to examine FMS and balance proficiency in juvenile Gaelic games players.


Thirteen FMS skills and dynamic balance were measured on 63 juvenile Gaelic games players (9.9 ± 1.3 years) using the Test of Gross Motor Development-3 and the Y Balance Test (YBT), respectively.


Children demonstrated high levels of mastery in the run (100%), slide (96.8%), underhand throw (95.2%), catch (93.7%), and overhand throw (93.7%). Boys performed significantly better in object control skills (p < 0.0001) and total FMS skills (p = 0.002) than girls. Boys also participated in Gaelic games more frequently (p = 0.005), for more hours per week (p = 0.012) and for more years (p = 0.001). Players that played more hours of Gaelic games per week performed significantly better in object control skills (p = 0.04). Boys and girls did not perform significantly different in the YBT.


Irish juvenile Gaelic game players display higher FMS mastery in a range of FMS and balance proficiency than age-matched, general population. This suggests that participation in Gaelic games facilitates FMS development in children. However, low mastery levels were observed in certain skills; therefore, coaches should incorporate FMS development in coaching sessions.


Gaelic football Hurling FMS Y Balance Test Motor competency 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia S.r.l., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Health and Human PerformanceDublin City UniversityDublinIreland
  2. 2.Department of Sport and Health SciencesAthlone Institute of TechnologyAthloneIreland

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