Physical testing and monitoring practices in elite male football
There is limited published research on strength and conditioning (S&C) practices in elite football. Information regarding athlete testing and monitoring practices would be valuable for both applied practitioners and researchers investigating practices in professional football. The aim of this study was therefore to detail the current testing and monitoring procedures of practitioners working in senior male football. A questionnaire was developed that comprised the following five sections: 1) why do you use testing and monitoring practices?; 2) what variables are tested during the separate pre-season and in-season phases?; 3) how often are variables tested or monitored?; 4) what is the impact and level of effectiveness of monitoring strategies?; and 5) what are considered the markers of a successful programme? Fifty-one (51 men; age 32.45 ± 7.27 years) out of 74 (68.9%) coaches responded to the questionnaire, all of them working in senior male football for 9.61 ± 5.65 years. All respondents reported using some testing and monitoring practices with the aim of improving performance (n= 43, 84%) and prevention of injury (n=42, 82%). Each team assesses a mean of 9.7 variables during the in-season phase. The majority of practitioners will regularly monitor body composition (86%), training load via GPS data (82%) and heart rate response (74%), player wellness (72%) and lower limb power via CMJ (59%). Athlete feedback and injury rate were seen as the biggest determinants of successful S&C programming. This survey represents new data regarding testing and monitoring practices in elite male football and as such serves as a review of applied information.
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