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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


3.3 HEALTH SCIENCES, Sport and fitness sciences


The current study examined the effect that game design modification, goal type, and player numbers on the running performance and physiological demands of small-sided hurling games (SSG). Forty-eight hurling players (age, 25.5 ± 3.2 years; height, 178.9 ± 3.2 cm; body mass, 78.5 ± 4.5 kg) performed 4 types of SSG (possession [P], normal play [NP], regular goals [RG] and small goals [SG]) in 4-a-side, 5-a-side, and 6-a-side formats. Heart rate (Polar Electro Oy) and global positioning system technology (VX Sport, 4-Hz, Lower Hutt) were used to analyze the physical and physiological differences between SSG. Total distance (m), high-speed running distance (m) (≥17 km·h), very-high speed running distance (≥22 km·h) (m), peak and mean velocity (km·h) were analyzed as an indicator of the physical demands of play. The 4-a-side SSG independent of game design and goal type resulted in a significantly higher relative exercise intensity compared with 5-a-side (mean change: 6 ± 2%; p = 0.001; d = 1.9 ± 0.2; large) and 6-a-side SSG independent of game design or goal type (mean change: 12 ± 2%; p = 0.001; d = 2.9 ± 0.8; very large). The 4-a-side SG (619 ± 106-m [419-735-m]) resulted in the highest distance when compared with all PP (mean change: 141 ± 9 m; p = 0.05; d = 1.9 ± 0.3; moderate) and RG (mean change: 119 ± 39 m; p = 0.004; d = 2.1 ± 0.8; large). Similar trends were observed for 5-a-side and 6-a-side games with SG resulting in increased total running performance. In conclusion, the current observations reveal that 4-a-side NP, SG, and RG have the highest physiological demands with 4-a-side SG having increased running performance in contrast to other game design and goal-type games. Furthermore, independent of game design and goal type, 4-a-side SSG show increased relative intensity compared with 5-a-side and 6-a-side SSG.