Differential Ratings of Perceived Exertion: Relationships With External Intensity and Load in Elite Men’s Football

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance

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Kobe C. HoutmeyersDepartment of Movement Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

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Pieter RobberechtsDepartment of Computer Science, Leuven.AI, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

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Arne JaspersDepartment of Movement Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

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Shaun J. McLarenNewcastle Falcons Rugby Club, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Durham University, Durham, United Kingdom

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Michel S. BrinkCenter for Human Movement Sciences, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands

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Jos VanrenterghemDepartment of Rehabilitation Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

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Jesse J. DavisDepartment of Computer Science, Leuven.AI, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

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Werner F. HelsenDepartment of Movement Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

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Purpose: To examine the utility of differential ratings of perceived exertion (dRPE) for monitoring internal intensity and load in association football. Methods: Data were collected from 2 elite senior male football teams during 1 season (N = 55). External intensity and load data (duration × intensity) were collected during each training and match session using electronic performance and tracking systems. After each session, players rated their perceived breathlessness and leg-muscle exertion. Descriptive statistics were calculated to quantify how often players rated the 2 types of rating of perceived exertion differently (dRPEDIFF). In addition, the association between dRPEDIFF and external intensity and load was examined. First, the associations between single external variables and dRPEDIFF were analyzed using a mixed-effects logistic regression model. Second, the link between dRPEDIFF and session types with distinctive external profiles was examined using the Pearson chi-square test of independence. Results: On average, players rated their session perceived breathlessness and leg-muscle exertion differently in 22% of the sessions (range: 0%–64%). Confidence limits for the effect of single external variables on dRPEDIFF spanned across largely positive and negative values for all variables, indicating no conclusive findings. The analysis based on session type indicated that players differentiated more often in matches and intense training sessions, but there was no pattern in the direction of differentiation. Conclusions: The findings of this study provide no evidence supporting the utility of dRPE for monitoring internal intensity and load in football.

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