Monitoring the training process in women's soccer (football)
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The basis of the present thesis was to assess the validity and reliability of practical monitoring and testing tools that could be used by coaches, sport scientists and players to assist with the development and delivery of individualised training and periodisation programs, with the aim of achieving optimal performance. The aim of this research was to determine the utility of the session-RPE as a tool for monitoring training load (TL) in women's soccer and establish the efficacy of a submaximal Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test to assess aerobic training adaptations. A major problem for coaches is being able to implement training programs that simultaneously meet the physical and technical/ tactical objectives of both the team and individuals within the team. Therefore, to overcome the limitations associated with team-based training, it has been suggested that a simple system which monitors an individual's training load (TL), and their response to their individual stimulus is required. Furthermore it is possible that if a valid and reliable test that was sensitive to changes in aerobic fitness adaptations was developed and then combined with measures of internal TL, an individual player's response to training could be monitored and the training process improved. The purpose of the first study was to examine whether the session-RPE method for quantifying internal TL is a valid tool that can be used in women soccer players. The session-RPE, heart rate and session duration were recorded for individual training sessions and matches over a period of 16 weeks. Session-RPE was then validated by correlation analysis with three commonly used HR-based methods for assessing TL. The second study examined whether measurements of blood lactate, RPE and HR responses to the 6 min submaximal Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test Level 1 (Yo-Yo submax) are repeatable and valid methods of monitoring aerobic adaptations in women soccer players. Ten elite players completed the following laboratory and field tests: maximal oxygen uptake (V0₂max), lactate threshold velocity (L TV), Multistage Fitness Test (MSFT) and Yo-Yo submax· The test-retest reliability of a 6 min Yo-Yo submax was completed by fourteen elite women players. The third study assessed the sensitivity of physiological and perceptual responses following the 6 min Yo-Yo submax test to markers of aerobic fitness. Nine elite women soccer players completed the MSFT before and after a 14 week early season soccer program. In addition, the players ·completed a Yo-Yo submax test every four to five weeks during this period. The amount of change (𝜟) in the blood lactate concentration [BLa⁻] , heart rate (HR) and rate of perceived exertion (RPE) responses from the Yo-Yo submax test from the pre to post test occasions were correlated with the amount of change(𝜟) in blood lactate, HR and RPE response from maximal field and laboratory-based treadmill tests. Furthermore, the same variables were correlated with training loads (TL) recorded over the 14 weeks. The main finding in the first study was that the session-RPE method for monitoring TL was valid in women soccer players. Significant correlations were observed across all training types and in particularly aerobic-based training sessions of a less-intermittent nature. In study two and three the validity, sensitivity and repeatability of a submaximal Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test was assessed for use with women soccer players. We found that the test had a moderate level of repeatability and that the physiological variables taken following the Yo-Yo submax related to Multi-Stage Fitness Test (MSFT) performance but not to Lactate Threshold Velocity (L TV). The Yo-Yo submax proved not to be a sensitive tool in assessing changes in aerobic capacity in elite women soccer players. Furthermore we found no correlation between Yo-Yo submax variables and TL. In conclusion, the results of the present studies suggest session-RPE may be a valid method for assessing internal TL for soccer players. Furthermore, Yo-Yo submax may be a viable method for assessing aerobic capacities in soccer players. However, it is recommended that when this test is used to monitor soccer players, results are interpreted according to the test-retest coefficient of variation result provided in this study.
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