Monitoring rugby players for fitness and fatigue: What do coaches want?

© Copyright 2018 YLMSportScience. All rights reserved.

Purpose: The advantages of monitoring players in a team are well documented. However, barriers associated with lack of resources and time prevents teams from implementing systematic monitoring programs. This study aims to identify 1) the methods rugby teams use to monitor the training load and associated response to the training load, and 2) prerequisites of a monitoring protocol that are scientifically suitable and practically applicable for monitoring fitness and fatigue of rugby players. Methods: Coaches and support staff working with varying levels of rugby union were invited to complete an online questionnaire. Results: Of the 55 respondents, 96% indicated that although they regarded monitoring the training load and training load response as important, there is no monitoring protocol which is cost-effective, time-efficient and non-aversive to the players. Respondents measured several variables when monitoring and incorporated more subjective than objective measures. Respondents (41%) indicated they would like a protocol that is time-efficient (5-10 min) and provides immediate feedback on players who identify as fatigued (50%). For coaches to have confidence in the information provided by the protocol, it needs to meet basic clinimetric principles of reliability and validity. The technical and biological error in the measurement needs to be known so that meaningful changes in fatigue and fitness can be distinguished from natural variations in the measurements. Conclusions: Prerequisites of an ideal monitoring protocol for rugby players were identified. It follows that a monitoring protocol that fulfills these prerequisites should satisfy both scientific principles and the coach’s demands.
© Copyright 2018 International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. All rights reserved.

Subjects: sports game rugby diagnostics fatigue performance diagnostics prevention injury disease feedback investigation method coach coaching
Notations: sport games training science
DOI: 10.1123/ijspp.2017-0416
Published in: International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Published: 2018
Volume: 13
Issue: 6
Pages: 777-782
Document types: article
info graphics
Language: English
Level: advanced