Paudie Kissane: AFL stars fitter than GAA players

Former Cork All-Ireland winner and newly-appointed Limerick coach Paudie Kissane has produced results to prove that professional Australian footballers are leaner, fitter, and stronger than GAA players.

As part of his studies for a Masters in Strength and Conditioning, Kissane compared the fitness of elite inter-county players and a selection of AFL stars.

He is hopeful his results will soon be published as a journal paper and he believes what he’s learned can help in his new role alongside manager Billy Lee in Limerick, particularly from a nutritional viewpoint.

Kissane, who won an All-Ireland senior medal with Cork in 2010, explained: “If you’re not carrying excess weight, you’ll have greater endurance.

“The majority of inter-county players train really well and look after themselves but that’s (nutrition) an area in the off-season that would let down some players.

“I compared the fitness of elite inter-county players and the AFL. It’s something I’ve always been curious about and every couple of years, they play each other.

“I’ve often wondered how can an amateur compete against a professional?

“It turned out as I’d expected, that the Australian players are leaner, fitter, stronger.

“It’s interesting to have the data as to what the differences are, to help my programming going forward. The big thing would actually be the body fat of the AFL players, the leanness of them.

“Professional athletes have huge aerobic demands and it’s hugely important to have low body and fat and be lean. The majority of Gaelic players are but I find over the winter, it can be a battle.

“Players on professional contracts know that when they return to pre-season training, there’s a contract on the line and money at stake. There are different expectations as such.

“AFL players also have that massive endurance but then again, their game is longer and it’s a bigger area, so that would be expected.

“And as part of their talent identification, they would be looking at players who might have experience of athletics and triathlons, who have exposure to endurance at a young age.”

Kissane runs his own business, PK Athlete Development and Performance, and is aiming to improve standards in Limerick football following relegation back to Division 4.

Kissane said: “I was involved with Clare in 2014 and at that time, they were in Division 4 and looking to improve. So it’s similar enough in ways — I know you have different players in different counties but that experience will stand to me. As a management team, we have to believe we can make them better.”

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