Hurling Drills 

The best information on games development is found on the GAA website. Here you will find drills, club strategy, and information for coaching and referees.

Official GAA Games Development Page


Compiled by J. O' Coigligh and Sons                                                                                        

Drills must be designed to train the hurler to unconsciously react to a game situation. The more touches a player gets, the better they will become.

Make sure that players are moving their feet, staying on their balls during drills, ready to react to any situation.

The coach may adjust the level of intensity to suit the needs of the team.


Lift, Circle Drill


Y                     Z

v                      ^

XX                   YY


Three or more sliotars are place in a circle with the hurlers. Hurlers rotate counter-clockwise around the circle at a jog pace using roll lifts and jab lifts to field the sliotar, getting it into the hand, and then dropping it on the ground. Stop after several minutes. Then switch technique and direction. Afterwards push-ups for missed sliotars.


Handpass Drill

Teammates form a circle. Call a teammate’s name and then handpass the sliotar to the chest. Then that teammate will call out another teammate’s name and make a crisp handpass. Add sliotars to increase the difficulty. This is a great activity to learn everyone’s name on the team and is excellent for team building.


Leading/Trailing Drills

X> Y>   

Z>  XX>


Hurlers pair up on a sideline, a sliotar between them. The pairs move from one sideline to the next and back again, switching off as leader and trailer and working on various hurling drills.

-X and Y both advance towards the sideline. X throws the sliotar past Y so that Y must first react and then lift the rolling sliotar. Once in the hand, the sliotar is handpassed to the trailing Y who resets the drill.  

-Y backpedals, X trails. Y drops the sliotar and X must field it using either roll or jab lifts and the handpasses the sliotar to the backpedaling Y. Y grabs the slioatar and then drops it on the ground so that the advancing X can field it.

-Y backpedals, X trails and throws him high balls. Y works on batting the ball back to X’s chest.

- Y backpedals, X trails and throws him high balls. Y works on taking high catches, guarding the catching hand with the hurl, and handpasses the sliotar to X’s chest.


Slow Motion Frontal Block and Hooking Drills

With a partner and a sliotar, practice the proper techniques for frontal blocks and hooking drills. This drill is imperative so that players don’t get their blocks chopped off.


Ground Keep Away

Hurlers pair up and on receive a sliotar between them. X guards the ball, using his body and his hurley to keep the sliotar away from Y. If Y does get the sliotar, he should defend it. Coach blows whistle and lets the players go 100% for one minute. Then Y gets the sliotar and goes for one minute. This is a high-intensity drill and players should be quite fatigued. If they are not, let the players work in groups of three with one sliotar among them so that they have to defend the sliotar against two opponents instead of one.


1-1 situation (Great for teaching intensity)

X                                 Y/Z

X hits high and low balls to Y and Z who battle for the ball and return it to X at his chest.

X Y   


Variation: Y and Z lie facedown on the ground. X (Coach) hits a sliotar out and blows a whistle. Y and Z must pursue the sliotar and return it to X.

Variation: Set up a goal and have the players score points and goals after they win the ball.


Passing Drill


X                     Y                     Z


XX                   YY                   ZZ


Pair up and then line up along two lines. Keep the lines close working on control.

-Alternate hitting right and left into the chest. Receiver catches ball in hand.

-Hit more softly, the receiver should control the sliotar on the bos and then hit it back to his partner never taking it into the hand. This exercise takes great practice.


Line Passing Drill (3 or more)

X                                             Y                                             Z

-X hits to Y who hits on to Z who returns the ball to Y and so on. Spacing is decided by the coach. Hit into the chest, then grounders and high balls. Parties who overhit the sliotar must do 5 quick pushups. Keep the passing quick and crisp. Also, make the man in the middle.  work, keep the pressure on him. After some time, switch the man in the middle.

-Do the same drill with ground pulls. Start by making the man in the middle control the ball and then pull on it. Then instruct them to double on it, advancing the sliotar in the direction it travels by adding to its speed.


Middle Switch Passing Drill

X                                             Y Z                                          XX

2 sliotars are in play.  Y and Z have their backs to one another. X hits the sliotar to Y and XX to Z. Y and Z return the sliotar and then they switch positions. Now X hits to Z and XX hits to Y who return the sliotar and switch again. Again, the tempo should be high with quick, crisp passes to keep Y and Z busy. This is also a valuable drill for trust building as they must trust one another to control the sliotar. 


Rotate Drills

Fig 1    X>                                 Y                     Z

Fig 2                    <Y                         X>  <Z

Fig 3    Y                                 Z                      X        

X starts with the sliotar. He solos 10 steps, hits it to Y who hand passes it back to him as he passes. X continues his solo to Z and then fires the ball back to his original position where Y is now waiting. Z fills in the middle and the drill starts over. Players should be in continual motion on this drill. There are many variations to this drill.



Handpass Game

Mark off a small box using cones. Divide the players into two teams with not more than four on a team. Hurlys are not needed in this game. The goal of the game is for a team to get 10 consecutive handpasses before they turnover or drop the sliotar. If a team turns over the sliotar or if the sliotar is dropped, the other team gains possession and tries to get ten consecutive points. The loser does pushups. Please stress movement and calling out names. This is a great team building game.



Divide into two groups and run various relays between cones using solo runs, handpasses, and passing. Teams can all start from one end, or they can start on opposing ends. There are infinite variations on relays: introduce a center cone where a player has to perform a skill, or field a sliotar, solo around another cone and replace the sliotar. The losing team again does pushups.


Ground Hurling

Goals are set up to make a short pitch. Players are not allowed to take the sliotar into the hand, but must play it on the ground. Caution: this game always breaks sticks.

Some play with a variation that allows one to rise the ball (not taking it into the hand) to solo or strike.


5 Pass

On a short pitch, play a game of hurling which requires 5 passes before one may take a score. Teams should count out the number of passes they have to ensure fairness.


Backs and Forwards

Divide into two teams. One team lines out as backs (defense), the other forwards (offense). One player guards the goal, the rest should line out man-to-man as forwards and backs. Goalie send pucks out the ball. The forwards try to score points and goals, the backs try to defend. If backs take possession of the sliotar they should send it over the half line; this will reset the game. After a period of time, players switch sides—the forwards become backs and the backs become forwards.


American Hurling Company



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