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TRAINING WELLBEING AND RECOVERY LOAD MONITORING IN ATHLETES

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Identifying and monitoring training wellbeing and recovery load is important, especially when training is done in the context of an individual's goals and objectives. This article provides an overview of some of the tools and resources available to aid in this process. It also includes a framework to help you make decisions and consider a range of physiological and psychological indicators when making such decisions.

Psychological indicators

Keeping tabs on an athlete's recovery load is an important step in developing a successful competitive athlete. This is best accomplished through scientific monitoring, which can reveal not only an athlete's level of fatigue, but also a player's true recovery needs. It also helps sports governing bodies plan their events with the athlete's health in mind.


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A scientific monitoring program should include both internal and external load measures. The latter can be applied to a variety of organ systems and tissues. A well-rounded program will also incorporate squad rotations to avoid exposing an individual player to match loads. The latter is particularly important in football.


A well-rounded program also includes proper hydration and rest. This can be accomplished through proper recovery protocols and by incorporating the right relaxation and stress management strategies. Lastly, a well-rounded program should consider the sport's most important variables, including age and gender. A thorough examination of the athlete's training and competition schedules can provide invaluable information on a player's recovery needs.

Physiological indicators

Physiological indicators for training wellbeing and recovery load monitoring in athletes are increasingly important for injury mitigation, performance management and injury prevention programs. These indicators are used to evaluate the effects of training and recovery on the physical and psychological well-being of athletes.

These indicators include subjective and objective measures of performance, training response, fatigue and recovery. Subjective measures are used to assess changes in an athlete's well-being, and include: perceived stress, mood disturbance, recovery stress and wellness.

Objective measures include heart rate, oxygen consumption and blood markers. These measures can be used to assess training effect, including performance capacity, cardiovascular response and oxygen consumption. These measures can also help define an athlete's exercise intensity.

Subjective measures can be used to assess athletes' well-being, and include: Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE), perceived stress, mood disturbance, recovery stress and wellness. Subjective measures are generally based on an individual's perceived psychological and social well-being.

Athlete self-report measures

Whether it's an athletic recovery program or monitoring training response, athlete self-report measures have a key role to play. As a simple, inexpensive tool, these measures can assist practitioners in understanding athletes' perceptions of training load and recovery. They can also be used to prevent overtraining and injury, or to detect coinciding injury.

The most commonly used athlete self-report measures for monitoring recovery are wellness questionnaires. These are based on the athlete's perceived physical and psychological well-being. These measures include rating of perceived exertion, heart rate response, biochemical indicators, and physiological measures of performance capacity.

Self-report measures are generally more sensitive than objective measures of training response. The subjective measures used include the recovery stress questionnaire for athletes (RESTQ-S), the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), and the Profile of Mood States (POMS).

Subjective measures provide a practical means of monitoring athlete health, but they should be combined with education tools. When used as intended, these methods can be effective. They should be validated, and should be accompanied by a personal discussion with the athlete.

Decision-making framework

Identifying and monitoring athlete load has become a topic of interest in the sports science community. This is especially true for youth athletes who face a variety of external and internal stressors. It is important to monitor both training load and general wellness.

There are several metrics used to monitor load. The most common external load monitoring method is GPS tracking. Another method is time-motion analysis. Other methods include RPE and ACWR.

These techniques are not always predictive and can lead to overestimating training load. This may lead to overtraining and injury. It is important to use a monitoring strategy that is easy to implement and cost-effective.

Ideally, a comprehensive monitoring protocol should capture both internal and external load. The protocol should also include methods to improve adherence. This is important because weak adherence can prevent effective adaptations to load.

A comprehensive monitoring protocol should also include a range of subjective measures. These should be tailored to the athlete's needs. Typical questionnaires contain four to twelve variables. These questionnaires are usually adapted from existing questionnaires.



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