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Timothy J.H. Lathlean, Paul B. Gastin, Stuart V. Newstead and Caroline F. Finch

Purpose: To investigate associations between load (training and competition) and wellness in elite junior Australian Football players across 1 competitive season. Methods: A prospective cohort study was conducted during the 2014 playing season in 562 players from 9 teams. Players recorded their training and match intensities according to the session-rating-of-perceived-exertion (sRPE) method. Based on sRPE player loads, a number of load variables were quantified, including cumulative load and the change in load across different periods of time (including the acute-to-chronic load ratio). Wellness was quantified using a wellness index including sleep, fatigue, soreness, stress, and mood on a Likert scale from 1 to 5. Results: Players spent an average of 85 (21) min in each match and 65 (31) min per training session. Average match loads were 637 (232) arbitrary units, and average training loads were 352 (233) arbitrary units. Over the 24 wk of the 2014 season, overall wellness had a significant linear negative association with 1-wk load (B = −0.152; 95% confidence interval, −0.261 to −0.043; P = .006) and an inverse U-curve relationship with session load (B = −0.078; 95% confidence interval, 0.143 to 0.014; P = .018). Mood, stress, and soreness were all found to have associations with load. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that load (within a session and across the week) is important in managing the wellness of elite junior Australian Football players. Quantifying loads and wellness at this level will help optimize player management and has the potential to reduce the risk of adverse events such as injury.

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Pitre C. Bourdon, Marco Cardinale, Andrew Murray, Paul Gastin, Michael Kellmann, Matthew C. Varley, Tim J. Gabbett, Aaron J. Coutts, Darren J. Burgess, Warren Gregson and N. Timothy Cable

Monitoring the load placed on athletes in both training and competition has become a very hot topic in sport science. Both scientists and coaches routinely monitor training loads using multidisciplinary approaches, and the pursuit of the best methodologies to capture and interpret data has produced an exponential increase in empirical and applied research. Indeed, the field has developed with such speed in recent years that it has given rise to industries aimed at developing new and novel paradigms to allow us to precisely quantify the internal and external loads placed on athletes and to help protect them from injury and ill health. In February 2016, a conference on “Monitoring Athlete Training Loads—The Hows and the Whys” was convened in Doha, Qatar, which brought together experts from around the world to share their applied research and contemporary practices in this rapidly growing field and also to investigate where it may branch to in the future. This consensus statement brings together the key findings and recommendations from this conference in a shared conceptual framework for use by coaches, sport-science and -medicine staff, and other related professionals who have an interest in monitoring athlete training loads and serves to provide an outline on what athlete-load monitoring is and how it is being applied in research and practice, why load monitoring is important and what the underlying rationale and prospective goals of monitoring are, and where athlete-load monitoring is heading in the future.