TOPIC: Measuring Extensive Travel Fatigue and Recovery
Measuring Extensive Travel Fatigue and Recovery 3 years, 2 months ago #658
Measuring Extensive Travel Fatigue and Recovery During the Soccer Season
Neil Sedgwick, Head Soccer Coach, University of Montana - Sedgwick holds a Level 5A license, which is the highest level of certification from the Canadian Soccer Association. He earned his “A”' license from the United States Soccer Federation in 2001.
The purpose of the testing was to measure the amount of cumulative fatigue soccer players endure over a season of play. This was an area of interest for Montana’s human performance department and a coaching concern that I had due to the extensive travel we did. We had 13 of our 20 games on the road during the season and I was concerned about the level of fatigue this travel would have on our team. Montana geographical location dictated extensive travel time for our soccer team.
We used a series of physical tests as indicators to measure increased fatigue levels as the season progressed week to week. We did a series of three simple tests—the vertical jump using a force matte to measure time in the air, a 40-yard dash measured electronically and a step test for one minute based on audio beep indicators. This third test looked at heart rate changes both before and after the test. It has been used to indicate the potential onset of illness.
The vertical jump was selected to measure fatigue levels within the neuromuscular complex. The 40-yard dash was used to measure alactic power and recovery. The step test was designed by one of the human performance department professors who was a coach for both the national cross country and biathlon ski teams. We looked at the test as an indicator of potential fatigue as a result of the most recent road game and the residual fatigue over time due to continuous travel.
We arrived home from our games late on Sunday (usually after midnight) and had Monday as a day off. The tests were administered on Tuesday morning at 6:40—a few minutes before the start of the normal training session. We started their training sessions with the three tests. The players’ reception to these tests was positive because they realized the importance of what we tried to measure. We did the step test first after a short warm-up because it was only done for a minute and created minimal fatigue. The test was done with earphones which provided the step rhythm. The vertical jump was next and, after another brief warm-up, the forty-yard dash came last. We did the 40 outdoors and in the same location to ensure test reliability.
We administered the tests over nine weeks and the results indicated no major show of fatigue over the season. For the step test, we looked at the difference in starting and ending heart rates. An increase in heart rate would be a possible indicator of residual fatigue. We know that an increase of 10 beats per minute is a potential problem. For the vertical, we looked at the time in the air and the forty-yard dash times to see if there was a reduction in performance.
The results gave me (the coach) and the athletes confidence knowing that our players were recovering from their extensive travel. It allows us to plan our weekly practice sessions without concern of physically overdoing it. I encourage other coaches to use these or comparable simple tests to measure fatigue doing the season.
How-to Testing Protocol-
Standing Vertical Jump Test
• Measure the standing reach of the athlete who stands directly beneath a vertical measuring device and reaches one-handed to touch the highest vane possible. Record results.
• If a device is not available, have the player use chalk on their fingertip and record their reach against a wall.
• Make sure that the athlete stretches so that all subsequent measurements are accurate.
• The athlete stands under the device or three feet from the wall with fingers chalked.
• Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
• Squat down to parallel and jump as high as possible repetitively, using a double-arm swing for assistance. Reach as high has possible with maximum effort jumps.
• The athlete touches as high as possible with one hand.
• Record the best of three jumps.
• Measure the starting heart rate and record.
• Stand 12-18” from a box that is high enough to create a 90° angle at the knee when the foot is placed on top of the box.
• Keep body erect.
• Inhale, step with lead leg onto top of box and place it in the center, toes straight ahead.
• Keep body straight, shift weight to lead leg (on the box).
• Pull body with lead leg into a standing, balanced position on the box.
• Body should be fully erect at the top position.
• Shift body weight to same lead leg.
• Exhale, step off box using unweighted leg.
• Body stays erect while placing foot onto the floor followed by foot of lead leg.
• Balance feet and repeat, using other leg as lead leg.
• Do one repetition per second for one minute using an audio tape cue.
• Measure the ending heart rate and record.
• Be sure lead leg does all the work stepping up onto box.
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