Special edition - Research in football

The following articles were (originally) conference presentations at the "2nd Aspire Sport Science Conference on Monitoring Athlete Training Loads".

It was a fantastic conference and the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance released an open-access special-edition. HERE is the link to the publisher website and therefore ALL papers.

However, below are the one with regards to a team sports/football environment.

#1 The Influence of Changes in Acute Training Load on Daily Sensitivity of Morning-Measured Fatigue Variables in Elite Soccer Players
Reference: Int J of Sports Phys and Perf, 12, Suppl 2, 2-107
Authors: Thorpe RT, Strudwick AJ, Buchheit M, Atkinson G, Drust B, Gregson W
Download link: http://journals.humankinetics.com/doi/pdf/10.1123/ijspp.2016-0433
Summary: The purpose of the study was to determine the sensitivity of a range of potential fatigue measures to daily training load accumulated over the previous 2, 3, and 4 d during a short in-season competitive period in elite senior soccer players (N = 10). Total highspeed-running distance, perceived ratings of wellness (fatigue, muscle soreness, sleep quality), countermovement-jump height (CMJ), submaximal heart rate (HRex), postexercise heart-rate recovery (HRR), and heart-rate variability (HRV: Ln rMSSD) were analyzed during an in-season competitive period (17 d). General linear models were used to evaluate the influence of 2-, 3-, and 4-d total high-speed-running-distance accumulation on fatigue measures. Fluctuations in perceived ratings of fatigue were correlated with fluctuations in total high-speed-running-distance accumulation covered on the previous 2 d (r = –.31; small), 3 d (r = –.42; moderate), and 4 d (r = –.28; small) (P < .05). Changes in HRex (r = .28; small; P = .02) were correlated with changes in 4-d total high-speed-running-distance accumulation only. Correlations between variability in muscle soreness, sleep quality, CMJ, HRR%, and HRV and total high-speed-running distance were negligible and not statistically significant for all accumulation training loads. Perceived ratings of fatigue and HRex were sensitive to fluctuations in acute total high-speed-running-distance accumulation, although sensitivity was not systematically influenced by the number of previous days over which the training load was accumulated. The present findings indicate that the sensitivity of morning-measured fatigue variables to changes in training load is generally not improved when compared with training loads beyond the previous day’s training.

#2 The Research Doesn’t Always Apply: Practical Solutions to Evidence-Based Training-Load Monitoring in Elite Team Sports
Reference: Int J of Sports Phys and Perf, 2017, Vol 12, Issue Suppl 2, S2-136
Author: Burgess DJ
Download link: http://journals.humankinetics.com/doi/pdf/10.1123/ijspp.2016-0608
Summary: Research describing load-monitoring techniques for team sport is plentiful. Much of this research is conducted retrospectively and typically involves recreational or semielite teams. Load-monitoring research conducted on professional team sports is largely observational. Challenges exist for the practitioner in implementing peer-reviewed research into the applied setting. These challenges include match scheduling, player adherence, manager/coach buy-in, sport traditions, and staff availability. External-load monitoring often attracts questions surrounding technology reliability and validity, while internal-load monitoring makes some assumptions about player adherence, as well as having some uncertainty around the impact these measures have on player performance This commentary outlines examples of load-monitoring research, discusses the issues associated with the application of this research in an elite team-sport setting, and suggests practical adjustments to the existing research where necessary.

#3 Monitoring Fatigue Status in Elite Team-Sport Athletes: Implications for Practice
Reference: Int J of Sports Phys and Perf, 2017, Vol 12, Issue Suppl 2, S2-27
Authors: Thorpe RT, Atkinson G, Drust B, Gregson W
Download link: http://journals.humankinetics.com/doi/pdf/10.1123/ijspp.2016-0434
Summary: The increase in competition demands in elite team sports over recent years has prompted much attention from researchers and practitioners to the monitoring of adaptation and fatigue in athletes. Monitoring fatigue and gaining an understanding of athlete status may also provide insights and beneficial information pertaining to player availability, injury, and illness risk. Traditional methods used to quantify recovery and fatigue in team sports, such as maximal physical-performance assessments, may not be feasible to detect variations in fatigue status throughout competitive periods. Faster, simpler, and nonexhaustive tests such as athlete self-report measures, autonomic nervous system response via heart-rate-derived indices, and to a lesser extent, jump protocols may serve as promising tools to quantify and establish fatigue status in elite team-sport athletes. The robust rationalization and precise detection of a meaningful fluctuation in these measures are of paramount importance for practitioners working alongside athletes and coaches on a daily basis. There are various methods for arriving at a minimal clinically important difference, but these have been rarely adopted by sport scientists and practitioners. The implementation of appropriate, reliable, and sensitive measures of fatigue can provide important information to key stakeholders in team-sport environments. Future research is required to investigate the sensitivity of these tools to fundamental indicators such as performance, injury, and illness.

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