Seasonal player wellness and its longitudinal association with internal training load: study in elite volleyball.


Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo, School of Desporto e Lazer, Melgaço, Portugal - [Email]


BACKGROUND : Monitoring training load is critical to minimize the risk of overreaching, injury or illness. The purpose of this study was to assess the relationships and variance between perceived internal load and wellness status of elite male volleyball.
METHODS : Thirteen elite volleyball players were studied during a full competitive season (nine months, 237 training sessions and 37 official matches). Perceived exertion, muscle soreness, stress, fatigue and sleep quality levels were daily measured using session RPE and the Hopper Questionnaire.
RESULTS : Moderate-to-large correlations were found between weekly training load and perceived status of muscle soreness, fatigue and stress. Stronger correlations were found between weekly training loads than daily training load. Significant greater stress levels in match days than in training were found. No correlations between load and wellness were not found in the last month when players perceived higher levels of stress due to the competition.
CONCLUSIONS : The analysis of the weekly training load had a higher relationship with players' wellness status in preseason and middle of the season. In the last part of the season (final matches for the title), despite of a decrease in perceived load of last month of the season, there was an increase stress and fatigue levels. These results suggest the importance of including the impact on the competition when elite athletes are monitored. The results show the monitoring tools used may help in to characterize the training process of teams and the player's acute and chronic responses.