No Influence of Prematch Subjective Wellness Ratings on External Load During Elite Australian Football Match Play

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: To determine whether there is an association between external match load and contextual factors on subjective wellness in the days before and after Australian Rules football match play. Methods: A total of 34 elite male Australian football players completed a subjective wellness questionnaire in the days leading into the match (–3, –2, and –1 d), the day of (match day), and the days after each match (+3, +2, and +1 d). Players subjectively rated each item (mood, energy, stress, leg heaviness, muscle soreness, sleep quality, hours slept, and total wellness [a sum of the total response score]) on a visual analog scale ranging from 1 to 10, with 1 representing the negative end of the continuum. External load during competitive matches was quantified using accelerometer-derived PlayerLoad, and running activity was quantified using global positioning system technology across 2 competitive seasons. The relationships between perceptions of wellness (within-individual z score), external match load, and contextual factors (match result, match location, and between-matches recovery duration) were analyzed using linear mixed models. Results: Mixed-effect linear models revealed trivial effects of match-day wellness z score on subsequent external match load metrics. Match result (win) and PlayerLoad in the anteroposterior vector (au·min−1) were associated with an increased (estimate ± SE: 0.30 ± 0.13 z score) and reduced subjective wellness (−0.15 ± 0.06 z score), respectively. Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that prematch perceived wellness does not relate to external match load in elite Australian football players. The between-matches microcycle length appears to be sufficient to restore perceived wellness to values that do not affect the subsequent external match loads.

Bellinger, Newans, and Minahan are with Griffith Sports Physiology and Performance, School of Allied Health Sciences, and Bellinger also Menzies Health Inst Queensland, Griffith University, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia. Ferguson is with the High Performance Unit, Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Bellinger (p.bellinger@griffith.edu.au) is corresponding author.
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