The age old question of “how are you feeling?” is a highly underrated monitoring tool that tends to get overlooked in the current era of advanced sports science technology. Factors such as mood and sleep quality tend to deteriorate when fatigue accumulates and performance starts to suffer. Therefore, tracking this information can be a useful way of keeping tabs on an athletes’ training status. While daily conversations can take place with individual athletes of small teams, asking a large team of athletes “How are you feeling?” can be difficult on a daily basis. Thus, the wellness questionnaire was developed to systematically evaluate perceived well-being in athletes. This information can be collected conveniently and affordably in the field with smartphone applications and analyzed in Excel. Until recently, it’s been difficult to measure the impact of how perceptions of well-being impact performance.
A new study published ahead of print in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport evaluated the impact of perceived well-being ratings on training output in elite male soccer players. A total of 48 players from two professional soccer teams were monitored over one full season. Daily wellness questionnaires were completed each morning after waking throughout the season. GPS devices were worn during all training sessions to capture training outputs. Movement parameters assessed included total distance, total high-speed running distance, high speed running, player load, player load slow, maximal velocity, maximal velocity exposures, player load and player load slow. Additionally, session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE) was acquired following all training sessions. The author’s wanted to determine if well-being (Z-scores) impacted internal or external training parameters.
The results showed that perceptual measures did in fact affect training outputs. It was found that a reduced wellness Z-score of -1 related with a corresponded reductions in total high speed running distance (-3.5%), high speed running distance (-4.9%), maximal velocity sprinting (-3.1%), maximal velocity exposures (-4.6%), player load (-4.9%) and player load slow (-8.9%). Thus, it appears that when wellness markers are sufficiently disturbed, coaches can expect decrements in training outputs on the field. Therefore, wellness parameters may be useful not only in evaluating recovery status in athletes, but potentially for indicators of performance as well. This may enable coaches to modify training sessions on a daily basis according to team training responses.
Malone, S., Owen, A., Newton, M., Mendes, B., Tiernan, L., Hughes, B., & Collins, K. (2017). Wellbeing perception and the impact on external training output among elite soccer players. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.