Man and machine : assessing the efficacy of athlete monitoring tools in highly trained swimmers

Publication Type:
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
High performance sporting programs make substantial investments to develop and implement athlete monitoring systems to assist coaches understand how their athletes are responding to training. Despite the extensive reviews supporting the usefulness of athlete monitoring systems, it is still unknown if these systems contribute to a coaches’ subjective assessment of how an athlete will perform. Therefore, the overall aim of this thesis was to assess the efficacy of an athlete monitoring system and a coach subjective assessment to identify performance changes and athlete training responses in nationally competitive swimmers. To achieve this, a series of four studies were conducted. Study 1 determined the signal-to-noise ratio and diagnostic accuracy of athlete monitoring tools to identify both improvements and decrements in performance. These findings showed clear week-to-week fluctuations of numerous monitoring tools that represented an athlete’s acute changes in fitness and fatigue. However, this study also highlighted the poor diagnostic accuracy of athlete monitoring tools to identify performance change. Therefore, Study 2 examined the efficacy of a multi-factorial monitoring system to assess both short-term or longitudinal changes in performance. These findings identified an improved accuracy of a multi-factorial monitoring approach to assess longitudinal performance changes. However, the weaker diagnostic accuracy assessing short-term performance changes limits the practicality of this approach to assess an athlete’s readiness to perform in training or competition. Study 3 aimed to compare a coach’s expected perceived fatigue, recovery, training intensity and performance outcomes to actual athlete measures in well-trained swimmers. These findings showed a very strong association of coach predicted to actual athlete race results. However, there was a consistent discrepancy of coach expected to athlete reported training intensity and responses to subjective questionnaires. Finally, Study 4 assessed if the use of athlete monitoring tools could improve on a coach’s prediction to identify performance changes. The findings from this study demonstrated the high diagnostic accuracy of a coach’s subjective assessment of their athlete’s performance. Although, no monitoring tools improved on a coach’s subjective assessment of performance. Collectively, this thesis provides initial support of the high accuracy of a swim coach’s subjective assessment of their athlete’s performances. However, the use of athlete monitoring tools may assist a coach to have a more comprehensive understanding of their athlete’s responses to training.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: