Impaired Player–Coach Perceptions of Exertion and Recovery During Match Congestion

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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During intensified phases of competition, attunement of exertion and recovery is crucial to maintain performance. Although a mismatch between coach and player perceptions of training load is demonstrated, it is unknown if these discrepancies also exist for match exertion and recovery.


To determine match exertion and subsequent recovery and to investigate the extent to which the coach is able to estimate players’ match exertion and recovery.


Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and total quality of recovery (TQR) of 14 professional basketball players (age 26.7 ± 3.8 y, height 197.2 ± 9.1 cm, weight 100.3 ± 15.2 kg, body fat 10.3% ± 3.6%) were compared with observations of the coach. During an in-season phase of 15 matches within 6 wk, players gave RPEs after each match. TQR scores were filled out before the first training session after the match. The coach rated observed exertion (ROE) and recovery (TQ-OR) of the players.


RPE was lower than ROE (15.6 ± 2.3 and 16.1 ± 1.4; P = .029). Furthermore, TQR was lower than TQ-OR (12.7 ± 3.0 and 15.3 ± 1.3; P < .001). Correlations between coach- and player-perceived exertion and recovery were r = .25 and r = .21, respectively. For recovery within 1 d the correlation was r = .68, but for recovery after 1–2 d no association existed.


Players perceive match exertion as hard to very hard and subsequent recovery reasonable. The coach overestimates match exertion and underestimates degree of recovery. Correspondence between coach and players is thus not optimal. This mismatch potentially leads to inadequate planning of training sessions and decreases in performance during fixture congestion in basketball.

Doeven is with the School of Sport Studies, Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen, the Netherlands. Brink and Lemmink are with the Center for Human Movement Sciences, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands. Frencken is with Football Club Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.

Doeven ( is corresponding author.