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Steven H. Doeven, Michel S. Brink, Wouter G.P. Frencken and Koen A.P.M. Lemmink

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.

Purpose:

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.

Methods:

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.

Results:

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.

Conclusion:

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.

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Steven H. Doeven, Michel S. Brink, Barbara C.H. Huijgen, Johan de Jong and Koen A.P.M. Lemmink

During rugby sevens tournaments, it is crucial to balance match load and recovery to strive for optimal performance. Purpose: To determine changes in well-being, recovery, and neuromuscular performance during and after an elite women’s rugby sevens tournament and assess the influence of match-load indicators. Methods: Twelve elite women rugby sevens players (age = 25.3 [4.1]y, height = 169.0 [4.0] cm, weight = 63.9 [4.9] kg, and body fat = 18.6% [2.7%]) performed 5 matches during a 2-d tournament of the Women’s Rugby Sevens World Series. Perceived well-being (fatigue, sleep quality, general muscle soreness, stress levels, and mood), total quality of recovery, and countermovement-jump flight time were measured on match days 1 and 2, 1 d posttournament, and 2 d posttournament. Total distance; low-, moderate-, and high-intensity running; and physical contacts during matches were derived from global positioning system–based time–motion analysis and video-based notational analysis, respectively. Internal match load was calculated by session rating of perceived exertion and playing time (rating of perceived exertion × duration). Results: Well-being (P < .001), fatigue (P < .001), general muscle soreness (P < .001), stress levels (P < .001), mood (P = .005), and total quality of recovery (P < .001) were significantly impaired after match day 1 and did not return to baseline values until 2 d posttournament. More high-intensity running was related to more fatigue (r = −.60, P = .049) and a larger number of physical contacts with more general muscle soreness (r = −.69, P = .013). Conclusion: Perceived well-being and total quality of recovery were already impaired after match day 1, although performance was maintained. High-intensity running and physical contacts were predominantly related to fatigue and general muscle soreness, respectively.