Special Issue "Fatigue and Recovery in Football"

A special issue of Sports (ISSN 2075-4663).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Neil Clarke

School of Life Sciences, Coventry University, Coventry CV1 5FB, UK
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +44 (0) 24 7765 0026
Interests: nutrition; hydration; physiology; sports performance; intermittent exercise; cooling
Guest Editor
Dr. Mark Noon

School of Life Sciences, Coventry University, Coventry CV1 5FB, UK
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +44 (0) 24 7765 5228
Interests: physiology; sports performance; intermittent exercise; monitoring training load; long-term athletic development

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The football codes (soccer, American football, Australian rules football, rugby league, and union and Gaelic football) are intermittent team sports with bouts of high-intensity activity interspersed with low-intensity activities or rest. High-intensity actions are normally categorised as high-speed runs, sprints, and accelerations/decelerations, as well as collision-based activities, such as tackling, static holds, scrums, rucks, and mauls. In  addition, many contextual factors influence player demand, such as physical capacity, technical qualities, playing position, tactical role, importance of the game, seasonal period, playing surface, and environmental factors.

The number of competitive matches per season is very high; consequently, athletes only have a limited timeframe to recover following training sessions and competition. There is evidence that too many matches can lead to a lack of motivation and mental burn out, as well as a decrease in physical  and match performance and injury. Therefore, recovery strategies are required to alleviate fatigue, and regain performance and reduce the risk of injury.

The aim of this Special Issue is to provide new insights  into fatigue and recovery in all football codes. Through acquiring this knowledge it becomes possible to facilitate superior methods of player management and to help practitioners establish efficient recovery protocols.

Dr. Neil Clarke
Dr. Mark Noon
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • soccer
  • American football
  • Australian rules football
  • rugby league
  • rugby union
  • Gaelic football
  • fatigue
  • recovery
  • performance
  • well-being

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Player Tracking Data Analytics as a Tool for Physical Performance Management in Football: A Case Study from Chelsea Football Club Academy
Received: 6 August 2018 / Revised: 17 October 2018 / Accepted: 17 October 2018 / Published: 26 October 2018
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Abstract
Background: Global positioning system (GPS) based player movement tracking data are widely used by professional football (soccer) clubs and academies to provide insight into activity demands during training and competitive matches. However, the use of movement tracking data to inform the design of [...] Read more.
Background: Global positioning system (GPS) based player movement tracking data are widely used by professional football (soccer) clubs and academies to provide insight into activity demands during training and competitive matches. However, the use of movement tracking data to inform the design of training programmes is still an open research question. Objectives: The objective of this study is to analyse player tracking data to understand activity level differences between training and match sessions, with respect to different playing positions. Methods: This study analyses the per-session summary of historical movement data collected through GPS tracking to profile high-speed running activity as well as distance covered during training sessions as a whole and competitive matches. We utilise 20,913 data points collected from 53 football players aged between 18 and 23 at an elite football academy across four full seasons (2014–2018). Through ANOVA analysis and probability distribution analysis, we compare the activity demands, measured by the number of high-speed runs, the amount of high-speed distance, and distance covered by players in key playing positions, such as Central Midfielders, Full Backs, and Centre Forwards. Results and Implications: While there are significant positional differences in physical activity demands during competitive matches, the physical activity levels during training sessions do not show positional variations. In matches, the Centre Forwards face the highest demand for High Speed Runs (HSRs), compared to Central Midfielders and Full Backs. However, on average the Central Midfielders tend to cover more distance than Centre Forwards and Full Backs. An increase in high-speed work demand in matches and training over the past four seasons, also shown by a gradual change in the extreme values of high-speed running activity, was also found. This large-scale, longitudinal study makes an important contribution to the literature, providing novel insights from an elite performance environment about the relationship between player activity levels during training and match play, and how these vary by playing position. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fatigue and Recovery in Football)
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Open AccessArticle
Next Day Subjective and Objective Recovery Indices Following Acute Low and High Training Loads in Academy Rugby Union Players
Received: 23 May 2018 / Revised: 6 June 2018 / Accepted: 10 June 2018 / Published: 15 June 2018
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Abstract
The aim of this study was to determine the sensitivity of selected subjective and objective monitoring assessments in detecting changes in group and individual responses to low and high load bouts of high intensity intermittent exercise. In a counterbalanced crossover design, Thirteen Academy [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to determine the sensitivity of selected subjective and objective monitoring assessments in detecting changes in group and individual responses to low and high load bouts of high intensity intermittent exercise. In a counterbalanced crossover design, Thirteen Academy Rugby Union players (mean ± SD: age: 18 ± 1 years) performed a low load (15 min) and a high load (90 min) bout of high intensity intermittent exercise (Loughborough Intermittent Shuttle Test) one week apart. Monitoring assessments were performed immediately prior to and 20 h following each trial. Subjective self-report Well-being Questionnaire (WQ) items showed small to large deteriorations following the high load compared to low load (d = 0.4–1.5, p = 0.03–0.57). A very large increase in resting HR (HRrest) (d = 2.1, p = 0.02), moderate decrease in heart rate variability (HRV) indices (d = 0.7, p = 0.04 and d = 0.7, p = 0.01 for the natural logarithm of the standard deviation of R-R intervals (ln SDNN) and the root square of the mean squared differences of successive R-R intervals (rMSSD), respectively) and no change in countermovement jump (d = 0.0, p = 0.97) were evident following the high load compared to low load. Individual WQ responses revealed 7/9, 7/9, 6/9, 6/9, 5/9, 3/9 and 1/9 participants reported deteriorations in recovery, sleep quality, motivation, muscle soreness, fatigue, stress and appetite, respectively, following the high load compared to low load. Individual analysis indicated a negative response following the high load compared to low load in HRrest, ln SDNN and ln rMSSD for 4/6, 2/6 and 1/6 participants, respectively. Selected WQ items detected group and individual responses to high load and low load highlighting their potential utility. However, objective assessments lacked the sensitivity to detect small individual changes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fatigue and Recovery in Football)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Validity of External:Internal Training Load Ratios in Rested and Fatigued Soccer Players
Received: 31 March 2018 / Revised: 11 May 2018 / Accepted: 14 May 2018 / Published: 19 May 2018
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Abstract
Purpose: To examine the relationship of external:internal training load ratios with fitness and assess the impact of fatigue. Method: Ten soccer players performed a lactate threshold test followed by two soccer simulations (BEAST90mod) 48 h apart. Recovery (TQR) and muscle soreness [...] Read more.
Purpose: To examine the relationship of external:internal training load ratios with fitness and assess the impact of fatigue. Method: Ten soccer players performed a lactate threshold test followed by two soccer simulations (BEAST90mod) 48 h apart. Recovery (TQR) and muscle soreness (DOMS) was measured before each trial. Internal Training load (TL) (iTRIMP) and external load total distance (TD), high intensity distance (HID), PlayerLoad™ (PL) mean metabolic power (MMP) high metabolic power distance (HP) were collected for each trial and external:internal ratios produced. The relationships between ratios and velocity at lactate threshold (vLT) and velocity at Onset of Blood Lactate Accumulation (vOBLA) were examined in both trials along with changes in ratios. Results: Total Quality of Recovery and DOMS showed large changes. There were trivial to large decreases in TL from trial 1 to 2. Moderate increases in ratios for TD:iTRIMP, PL:iTRIMP and MMP:iTRIMP were seen but only small/trivial for HP:iTRIMP and HID:iTRIMP. In rested conditions all ratios show large relationships with vLT and vOBLA. However vLT vs. HID:iTRIMP; PL:iTRIMP; HP:iTRIMP and vOBLA vs. TD:iTRIMP; PL:iTRIMP; MMP:iTRIMP became weaker under fatigue. Conclusions: Acute changes in the ratios have implications forthe use of ratios as fitness measures but also as indicators of fatigue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fatigue and Recovery in Football)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effects of Sleep Extension on Sleep, Performance, Immunity and Physical Stress in Rugby Players
Received: 25 March 2018 / Revised: 1 May 2018 / Accepted: 1 May 2018 / Published: 10 May 2018
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Abstract
(1) Background: The purpose of the present study was to examine the efficacy of sleep extension in professional rugby players. The aims were to: (i) characterise sleep quantity in elite rugby players and determine changes in immune function and stress hormone secretion during [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The purpose of the present study was to examine the efficacy of sleep extension in professional rugby players. The aims were to: (i) characterise sleep quantity in elite rugby players and determine changes in immune function and stress hormone secretion during a pre-season training programme; (ii) evaluate the efficacy of a sleep extension intervention in improving sleep, markers of physical stress, immune function and performance. (2) Methods: Twenty five highly trained athletes from a professional rugby team (age (mean ± SD) 25 ± 2.7 years; height 1.87 ± 0.07 m; weight 105 ± 12.1 kg) participated in a six week pre-post control-trial intervention study. Variables of sleep, immune function, sympathetic nervous activity, physiological stress and reaction times were measured. (3) Results: Sleep extension resulted in a moderate improvement in sleep quality scores ([mean; ± 90% confidence limits] −24.8%; ± 54.1%) and small to moderate increases in total sleep time (6.3%; ± 6.3%) and time in bed (7.3%; ± 3.6%). In addition, a small decrease in cortisol (−18.7%; ± 26.4%) and mean reaction times (−4.3%; ± 3.1%) was observed following the intervention, compared to the control. (4) Conclusions: Professional rugby players are at risk of poor sleep during pre-season training, with concomitant rises in physical stress. Implementing a sleep extension programme among professional athletes is recommended to improve sleep, with beneficial changes in stress hormone expression and reaction time performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fatigue and Recovery in Football)
Open AccessArticle
Directional Change Mediates the Physiological Response to High-Intensity Shuttle Running in Professional Soccer Players
Received: 31 March 2018 / Revised: 17 April 2018 / Accepted: 20 April 2018 / Published: 24 April 2018
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Abstract
The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence that different frequencies of deceleration and acceleration actions had on the physiological demands in professional soccer players. Thirteen players were monitored via microelectromechanical devices during shuttle running protocols which involved one, three, or [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence that different frequencies of deceleration and acceleration actions had on the physiological demands in professional soccer players. Thirteen players were monitored via microelectromechanical devices during shuttle running protocols which involved one, three, or seven 180 degree directional changes. Heart rate exertion (HRE) (1.1 ± 0.7) and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) (5 ± 1) were significantly higher for the protocol which included seven directional changes when compared to the protocols which included one (HRE 0.5 ± 0.3, ES = 1.1, RPE 3 ± 0, ES = 2.7) or three (HRE 0.5 ± 0.2, ES = 1.1, RPE 3 ± 1, ES = 1.9) directional changes (p < 0.05). The gravitational force (g-force) as measured through accelerometry (ACC) also showed a similar trend when comparing the seven (8628.2 ± 1630.4 g) to the one (5888.6 ± 1159.1 g, ES = 1.9) or three (6526.9 ± 1257.6 g, ES = 1.4) directional change protocols (p < 0.05). The results of this study suggest that increasing the frequency of decelerations and accelerations at a high intensity running (HIR) speed alters the movement demands and elevates the physiological responses in professional players. This data has implications for the monitoring of physical performance and implementation of training drills. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fatigue and Recovery in Football)
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Open AccessArticle
The Influence of Fatigued Core Muscles on Head Acceleration during Headers in Soccer
Received: 26 March 2018 / Revised: 4 April 2018 / Accepted: 9 April 2018 / Published: 11 April 2018
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Abstract
The core muscles play a central role in stabilizing the head during headers in soccer. The objective of this study was to examine the influence of a fatigued core musculature on the acceleration of the head during jump headers and run headers. Acceleration [...] Read more.
The core muscles play a central role in stabilizing the head during headers in soccer. The objective of this study was to examine the influence of a fatigued core musculature on the acceleration of the head during jump headers and run headers. Acceleration of the head was measured in a pre-post-design in 68 soccer players (age: 21.5 ± 3.8 years, height: 180.0 ± 13.9 cm, weight: 76.9 ± 8.1 kg). Data were recorded by means of a telemetric 3D acceleration sensor and with a pendulum header. The treatment encompassed two exercises each for the ventral, lateral, and dorsal muscle chains. The acceleration of the head between pre- and post-test was reduced by 0.3 G (p = 0.011) in jump headers and by 0.2 G (p = 0.067) in run headers. An additional analysis of all pretests showed an increased acceleration in run headers when compared to stand headers (p < 0.001) and jump headers (p < 0.001). No differences were found in the sub-group comparisons: semi-professional vs. recreational players, offensive vs. defensive players. Based on the results, we conclude that the acceleration of the head after fatiguing the core muscles does not increase, which stands in contrast to postulated expectations. More tests with accelerated soccer balls are required for a conclusive statement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fatigue and Recovery in Football)
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Open AccessArticle
Seasonal Variations in Physical Fitness and Performance Indices of Elite Soccer Players
Received: 18 January 2018 / Revised: 8 February 2018 / Accepted: 9 February 2018 / Published: 13 February 2018
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Abstract
The aim of the study was to investigate seasonal variations in fitness and performance indices of professional male soccer players. Eighteen professional male soccer players (age range 22–32 years) completed three similar sets of tests at three stages of the season: before preseason; [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to investigate seasonal variations in fitness and performance indices of professional male soccer players. Eighteen professional male soccer players (age range 22–32 years) completed three similar sets of tests at three stages of the season: before preseason; after preseason and the middle of the competitive in-season. A significant decrease in body mass and percent fat was found during the preseason. A significant improvement (p < 0.05) was found in the vertical jump (preseason: 37.0 ± 5.3, post-preseason: 39.0 ± 4.8, mid-season: 40.3 ± 5.5 cm), the 4 × 10-m agility test (preseason: 8.1 ± 0.2, post-preseason: 7.9 ± 0.2, mid-season: 8.1 ± 0.3 s), flexibility (preseason: 45.2 ± 8.8, post-preseason: 48.2 ± 7.0, mid-season: 49.9 ± 6.9 cm) and aerobic capacity (preseason: 52.7 ± 6.6, post-preseason: 56.4 ± 6.0, mid-season: 57.4 ± 5.4 mL/kg/min) during preseason, with no further change during mid-season. Repeated sprint test (RST) (6 × 30-m) performance indices showed significant deterioration (p < 0.05) in ideal sprint time (IS; preseason: 21.8 ± 1.0, post-preseason: 23.0 ± 0.8, mid-season: 23.2 ± 0.8 s) and total sprint time (TS; preseason: 22.5 ± 0.7, post-preseason: 23.5 ± 0.6, mid-season: 23.8 ± 0.6 s) during preseason, with no further changes during mid-season. However, performance decrement (PD) significantly decreased during the preseason with no change during mid-season. The findings suggest that while power training was probably responsible for the anaerobic fitness improvement, the high-volume training led to improvement in aerobic fitness during the preseason. However, the low-intensity aerobic-type training, coupled with the high total training load, may have led to fatigue and decreases in IS and TS during the preseason. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fatigue and Recovery in Football)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Influence of Playing Position and Contextual Factors on Soccer Players’ Match Differential Ratings of Perceived Exertion: A Preliminary Investigation
Received: 25 January 2018 / Revised: 8 February 2018 / Accepted: 10 February 2018 / Published: 12 February 2018
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Abstract
(1) Background: Differential RPE (dRPE) separates scores for breathlessness (RPE-B), leg muscle exertion (RPE-L) and technical/cognitive exertion (RPE-T). Limited information for dRPE is available in soccer match play, yet these measurements may help inform practitioners training and recovery strategies. This preliminary study investigated [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Differential RPE (dRPE) separates scores for breathlessness (RPE-B), leg muscle exertion (RPE-L) and technical/cognitive exertion (RPE-T). Limited information for dRPE is available in soccer match play, yet these measurements may help inform practitioners training and recovery strategies. This preliminary study investigated the effects of playing position and contextual factors on elite soccer players’ dRPE. (2) Methods: Thirty-two male English Premier League players recorded dRPE scores 15–30 min post-match for RPE-B, RPE-L, and RPE-T. Data were analysed using linear mixed models, with magnitude-based inferences subsequently applied. (3) Results: Overall, the mean ± SD for the dRPE were 63 ± 23 arbitrary units (au) (RPE-B), 67 ± 22 au (RPE-L), and 60 ± 24 au (RPE-T). Full Backs reported substantially higher RPE-B, RPE-L and RPE-T when compared to all other positions. Substantially higher RPE-T scores were reported for matches played against Top teams compared to Bottom (10 au; 90% Confidence Interval 5 to 15 au) and Middle (10 au; 4 to 15 au) ranked teams. The effects of match result and location on dRPE were not substantial. (4) Conclusions: Positional differences were observed following soccer match play for RPE-B, RPE-L and RPE-T. Full backs had substantially higher dRPE then any other position, with all players reporting increased RPE-T when playing teams at the Top of the league. These findings can help practitioners monitor internal load responses and support the prescription of training and recovery sessions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fatigue and Recovery in Football)

Other

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Open AccessCase Report
The Impact of 120 Minutes of Match-Play on Recovery and Subsequent Match Performance: A Case Report in Professional Soccer Players
Received: 24 January 2018 / Revised: 8 March 2018 / Accepted: 9 March 2018 / Published: 13 March 2018
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Abstract
The influence of a match including extra-time (ET) on subsequent 90 min match performance and recovery has not been investigated. Four professional soccer players played in three competitive matches in a 7-day period: matches one (MD1) and three (MD3) lasted 90 min and [...] Read more.
The influence of a match including extra-time (ET) on subsequent 90 min match performance and recovery has not been investigated. Four professional soccer players played in three competitive matches in a 7-day period: matches one (MD1) and three (MD3) lasted 90 min and match 2 (MD2) lasted 120 min (i.e., included ET). Physical (total and high-intensity (HI) distance covered, accelerations and decelerations, and mechanical load) and technical performances (pass and dribble accuracy) were analyzed throughout match-play. Subjective measures of recovery and countermovement jump (CMJ) height were made 36–42 h post-match. Post-MD2, there were very or most likely harmful effects of ET on CMJ height (−6 ± 9%), muscle soreness (+18 ± 12%), and fatigue (+27 ± 4%) scores, and overall wellness score (−13 ± 5%) compared to post-MD1. Furthermore, there were very likely harmful effects on muscle soreness (+13 ± 14%), wellness scores (−8 ± 10%), and CMJ height (−6 ± 9%) post-MD3 vs. post-MD1. There was a possibly harmful effect of ET on HI distance covered during MD3, along with reductions in pass (−9.3%) and dribble (−12.4%) accuracy. An ET match negatively impacted recovery 36 h post-match. Furthermore, in some players, indices of performance in a 90 min match played 64 h following ET were compromised, with subsequent recovery also adversely affected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fatigue and Recovery in Football)
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