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Noninvasive Assessment of Internal and External Player Load

Implications for Optimizing Athletic Performance

Heishman, Aaron D.1,2; Curtis, Michael A.2; Saliba, Ethan1,3; Hornett, Robert J.2; Malin, Steven K.1,4; Weltman, Arthur L.1,4

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: May 2018 - Volume 32 - Issue 5 - p 1280–1287
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002413
Original Research
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Heishman, AD, Curtis, MA, Saliba, E, Hornett, RJ, Malin, SK, and Weltman, AL. Noninvasive assessment of internal and external player load: implications for optimizing athletic performance. J Strength Cond Res 32(5): 1280–1287, 2018—Few data exist that assess athlete tracking and monitoring for the development of strategies to optimize performance and reduce fatigue in elite athletes. The purpose of the present study was to assess the efficacy of external load and internal stress monitoring as assessment tools for examining a performance index of fatigue. A retrospective analysis was performed on data collected over the course of the preseason in 10 elite male NCAA Division 1 basketball players. Internal stress was assessed using Omegawave Technology readiness scores and compared with the performance index of countermovement jump (CMJ). The external load that accumulated during the previous practice, quantified by PlayerLoad (PL; Catapult), was compared with CMJ values and Omegawave scores. The results indicated that high, compared to low CNS Omegawave Readiness Scores (6.7 ± 05.1, 4.5 ± 1.2 AU; p < 0.001), were associated with increased CMJ (62.1 ± 6.5 vs. 59.4 ± 6.6 cm; p = 0.05), Power (6,590 ± 526.7 vs. 6,383.5 ± 606.8 W; p = 0.05), Omegawave Overall Readiness (5.8 ± 1.1 vs. 5.0 ± 0.7 AU; p = 0.05), and Omega Potential (Omega) (21.3 ± 6.3 vs. 9.9 ± 20.8 mV; p = 0.07). An increased PL during the previous exposure was associated with decreased CMJ (58.7 ± 4.7 cm vs. 60.4 ± 5.1 cm; p < 0.001) and increased TRIMP (135.1 ± 35.9 vs. 65.6 ± 20.0 AU; p < 0.001), and duration (115.4 ± 27.1 vs. 65.56 ± 20.0 minutes; p = < 0.001) despite no differences in Omegawave CNS Readiness scores. We conclude that Omegawave and Catapult technologies provide independent information related to performance and may be effective tools for monitoring athlete performance.

Departments of 1Kinesiology;

2Athletics, Basketball Strength and Conditioning; and

3Athletics, Sports Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia; and

4Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

Address correspondence to Dr. Arthur L. Weltman, alw2v@virginia.edu.

Copyright © 2018 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.