Maximum physical performance tests appear to best reflect athletes’ training status and readiness to perform; however, it is unfeasible for practitioners to implement physical performance tests while trying to minimise the effects of fatigue during training. Subjective self-reported well-being measures have therefore been purported as a tool for monitoring athletes’ readiness to perform without exertion. The purpose of the current study was to establish the nature and strength of the relationship between changes in physical performance test scores and changes in well-being scores in student soccer players.
For the purpose of this investigation, the physical performance test scores (jump height (JH), 10 m and 40 m sprint tests, 5-0-5 and YO-YO) and well-being scores (fatigue, energy, stress, motivation, soreness, sleep and total well-being score (TWS)) were collected for 48 male student soccer players at three time points (testing observation one: T1; testing observation two: T2; testing observation three: T3) over a period of two weeks in order to assess percentage change scores for physical performance test scores and well-being scores between T1 and T2, T2 and T3, and T1 and T3. Once percentage change scores (physical performance test scores and well-being scores) for each comparative pair of testing observations were calculated, Spearman’s rank order correlation coefficients (r) were calculated to evaluate the nature and strength of the relationships between changes in well-being scores and physical performance test scores.
The principal findings of this study were that over two weeks of training, improved JH was associated with better motivation and worse fatigue, soreness and TWS. Faster 10 m and 40 m sprint times were associated with worse energy, stress, sleep and TWS. Faster 5-0-5 time was associated with worse fatigue, stress, sleep and TWS. Longer YO-YO distance was associated with worse motivation, stress, sleep and TWS. However, in many instances, correlations between physical performance test scores and well-being scores were small to trivial. Numerous contradicting correlations were also found across all comparative pairs of testing observations.
The take-home message of this study is that subjective measures of well-being may not be purported as good measures for assessing athletes’ readiness to perform. Thus, physical performance tests are the ultimate indicator of athletes’ readiness to perform in this regard. Our findings suggest that during pre-season, worse well-being may be reported; however, athletes’ readiness to perform may not be negatively affected. Coaches and sport scientists should consider measuring both subjective self-reported measures of well-being and physical performance tests as these measures appear to be assessing two separate concepts.
Dissertation (MSc (Sport Science))--University of Pretoria, 2019.