Relationship Between Pre-Training Subjective Wellness Measures, Player Load, and Rating of Perceived Exertion Training Load in American College Football

Govus, A.D., Coutts, A., Duffield, R., Murray, A., Fullagar, H.

The relationship between pre-training subjective wellness, external and internal training load in American College football is unclear. This study examined the relationship between pre-training subjective wellness (sleep quality, muscle soreness, energy, wellness Z score) and 1) player load and 2) session rating of perceived exertion (s-RPE-TL) in American College footballers.

Subjective wellness (measured using 5-point Likert scale questionnaires); external load (derived from global position systems [GPS] and accelerometry) and s-RPE-TL were collected during three typical training sessions per week for the second half of an American collegiate football season (eight weeks). The relationship between pre-training subjective wellness and 1) player load and 2) s-RPE training load were analyzed using linear mixed models with a random intercept for athlete and a random slope for training session. Standardized mean differences (SMD) denote the effect magnitude.

A one unit increase in wellness Z score and energy were associated with a trivial 2.3% (90% confidence interval [CI]: 0.5, 4.2; SMD: 0.12) and 2.6% (90% CI: 0.1, 5.2; SMD: 0.13) increase in player load. A one unit increase in muscle soreness (players felt less sore) corresponded to a trivial 4.4% (90% CI: -8.4, -0.3; SMD: -0.05) decrease in s-RPE training load.

Measuring pre-training subjective wellness may provide information about players’ capacity to perform within a training session and could be a key determinant of their response to the imposed training demands in American College football. Hence, monitoring subjective wellness may assist in the individualization of training prescription in American College footballers.

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