Ever a stalwart friend, the Hurling Wall is amongst the most tried and true methods for individual skill development. Whether working in a couple minutes to keep those wrists snappy or venting some frustration by peltin’ some plastic against those palisades, the Hurling Wall should be a staple of your training regimen. At US Hurling & Supply Co., we’re ardent believers that if you own a fancy pair of colorful boots (cleats) but don’t have a wall ball, your priorities are pretty poorly positioned.
If you can’t think of a good wall to practice striking off of, find one! Just keep an eye out as you go around town. Best-case scenario, you find one immediately adjacent to grass to maintain the closest to match conditions as possible. A wall juxtaposed to some pavement works just as well, though. Look for a flat surface that’s over 10ft. high (though 6ft. can probably do the trick). Anything made of cinder block or concrete works great, though watch out for those bumpy and rough exterior surfaces that send your sliotar scattering.
There’s no easier way to get the touches you need when all by your lonesome than the Hurling Wall. Wall Balls are especially great for this training as they are less expensive and last far longer than regular sliotars do when repeatedly struck against hard surfaces like the wall or pavement. The material also makes the ball more lively, helping to develop reaction times, while still being a bit less dense in case the wall sends it right back at you.
Just because it’s the off-season, doesn’t mean you should let those skills you work so hard to maintain get rusty. If you’re like us and want to spring into next season without cleanin’ off the cobwebs, make sure you hit the wall this fall and winter. To help, here’s 5 of our favorite Wall Drills anyone can do (plus some more you can do depending on your wall or if you have some company!):
Solo-Pepper - standing roughly 10ft from the wall, repeatedly strike against the wall and back to yourself, catching the sliotar each time. The goal is to strike as quickly as you can while maintaining consistent, controlled, and accurate strikes. Continue for a set amount of time or a certain number before switching sides. Most of us hate training our weak-side, but Wall Drills are perfect for it. This will improve the accuracy and quickness of your striking.
3-Strike Challenge - starting roughly 20-30m from the wall, run towards the wall and quickly strike the sliotar against the wall and field it three times. Catch the ball on its return, continuing your run, and then strike it back towards wall as quickly as possible. Field, strike, and catch a third time before running out of space. This will improve your striking and 1st touch/fielding on the run.
“Look Ma, No Hands” - standing roughly 10-15m from the wall, strike the ball and attempt to field its return using only your stick and 1st touch. If you can easily get one touch on the wall ball before catching it, try not to go to hand at all by settling it and tossing it up off the stick for the next strike. This will improve your striking and first touch.
1 Strike, 1 Touch - standing roughly 30m from the wall, strike the ball before immediately attacking its return at pace and fielding it, attempting to gain possession as close to the wall as possible. This will improve your striking, acceleration, and fielding on the run.
Accuracy Challenge - if you can mark the wall with some chalk or some other non-permanent substance, make a target and back-up about 10m from the wall. Aim all of your strikes for the target and either back up further or make a smaller target if you find it too easily to hit. Remember - aim small, miss small. If you can’t mark the wall, get creative - try placing a can or bottle at the base of it (great for practicing shots on goal) or on top of something, such as a milk crate, or set up a tire target.
EXTRA DRILLS! (Because who doesn’t love more drills)
Pairs/Doubles - if you have a friend or teammate with you at the wall, you can work together to develop a rhythm of striking, movement, and fielding as a pair (or more). With one person positioned about 5m behind the other, the front player strikes the sliotar against the wall before dropping back behind their partner. The further back player moves forward to field the returning wall ball before quickly striking it back against the wall for the first player to field. The two (or more) players continually cycle through striking and fielding the wall ball with each other for a set amount of time of number of completions. If you’re playing on top of pavement, you can also bounce pass the wall ball to each other to change it up.
Groundstrikes - groundstrike the ball against the wall repeatedly, alternating sides and approaching from different angles. This works best if you’re playing against the wall while on grass, as you might damage or break your stick practicing groundstrikes on top of pavement.
Overhead Catch - practice your overhead catching by striking the ball up high on the wall and running towards the rebound, jumping in the air and fielding the Wall Ball with an Overhead catch. When playing on pavement, you can also bounce pass the sliotar against the wall so that it pops up nice and high for those catches (which also requires less overall space than when aiming high against the wall).
The Gauntlet - if you are practicing against a long wall, start on one end and run to the other while striking and fielding the returning Wall Ball along the way. See how many strikes you can get in and field effectively before reaching the end of the wall. This will give you different planes of motion for striking and fielding to help with match-day scenarios. Return the way you came and you’ve worked in both strong- and weak-side.