Utilizing Microsensor Technology to Quantify Match Demands in Collegiate Women’s Volleyball

Vlantes T.G., Readdy T.

The purpose of this study was to quantify internal and external load demands of women’s
NCAA Division I collegiate volleyball competitions using microsensor technology and session
rating of perceived exertion (S-RPE). Eleven collegiate volleyball players wore microsensor
technology (Optimeye S5; Catapult Sports USA, Chicago, IL) during fifteen matches played
throughout the 2016 season. Parameters examined include: Player load (PL), High impact load
(HI PL), percentage of high impact load (% HI PL), Explosive efforts (EE), and jumps. S-RPE was
collected twenty minutes post-match using a modified Borg scale. The relationship between
internal and external load was explored, comparing S-RPE data with the microsensor metrics
(PL, HI PL, % HI PL, EE, Jumps). The setter had the greatest mean PL and highest number of
jumps of all positions in a 5-1 system, playing all six rotations. Playing four sets yielded a mean
PL increase of 25.1% over three sets, while playing five sets showed a 31.0% increase in PL. A
multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) revealed significant differences (p < .01) across all position groups when examining % HI PL and jumps. Cohen’s d analysis revealed large (≥ 0.8) effect sizes for these differences. Defensive specialists recorded the greatest mean S-RPE values over all fifteen matches (886 ± 384.6). Establishing positional load demands allows coaches, trainers, and strength and conditioning professionals to implement training programs for position-specific demands, creating consistent peak performance and reducing injury risk.

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