Individual Response to External Training Load in Elite Football Players

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: To investigate within-player effect, between-player effect, and individual response of external training load from player tracking devices on session rating of perceived exertion training load (sRPE-TL) in elite football players. Methods: The authors collected sRPE-TL from 18 outfield players in 21 training sessions. Total distance, high-speed running distance (>14.4 m/s), very high-speed running distance (>19.8 m/s), PlayerLoad, PlayerLoad2D, and high-intensity events (HIE > 1.5, HIE > 2.5, and HIE > 3.5 m/s) were extracted from the tracking devices. The authors modeled within-player and between-player effects of single external load variables on sRPE-TL, and multiple levels of variability, using a linear mixed model. The effect of 2 SDs of external load on sRPE-TL was evaluated with magnitude-based inferences. Results: Total distance, PlayerLoad, PlayerLoad2D, and HIE > 1.5 had most likely substantial within-player effects on sRPE-TL (100%–106%, very large effect sizes). Moreover, the authors observed likely substantial between-player effects (12%–19%, small to moderate effect sizes) from the majority of the external load variables and likely to very likely substantial individual responses of PlayerLoad, high-speed running distance, very high-speed running distance, and HIE > 1.5 (19%–30% coefficient of variation, moderate to large effect sizes). Finally, sRPE-TL showed large to very large between-session variability with all external load variables. Conclusions: External load variables with low intensity-thresholds had the strongest relationship with sRPE-TL. Furthermore, the between-player effect of external load and the individual response to external load advocate for monitoring sRPE-TL in addition to external load. Finally, the large between-session variability in sRPE-TL demonstrates that substantial amounts of sRPE-TL in training sessions are not explained by single external load variables.

Wiig, Luteberget, and Spencer are with the Dept of Physical Performance, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway. Andersen is with the Dept of Sports Medicine, Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway. Spencer is also with the Dept of Public Health, Sport & Nutrition, University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway.

Wiig (haavard.wiig@nih.no) is corresponding author.
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