Caroline S. Vincenty, Gabriella Hickman, Alexa J. Chandler, Harry P. Cintineo, Bridget A. McFadden, Shawn M. Arent, FACSM. The University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.

BACKGROUND: Pressure is high among athletes throughout a season to earn starting positions and thus playing time. Starters (S) typically accrue greater internal workloads (IW) than nonstarters (NS) due to more playing time in matches. Heightened IW puts an athlete at increased injury risk or overtraining. While higher IW may negatively affect physical and psychological training distress in S, NS may also exhibit high training distress due to psychological pressure from earning match time. Our purpose was to assess relationships between IW and subjective training distress and to evaluate differences in these metrics between S and NS over a competitive volleyball (VB) season. METHODS: Female collegiate VB athletes (N=15; [S: n=6; NS: n=8]) completed an 11-week modified spring season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Athletes wore heart rate monitors (Polar Team Pro System) during all team activities to quantify IW via Edwards training impulse (TRIMP). Subjective training distress was monitored weekly via the Multicomponent Training Distress Scale (MTDS). Differences in TRIMP and MTDS scores (total score, depressed moods [DM], vigor [V], physical signs/symptoms [PSS], sleep disturbances [SD], perceived stress [PS], and general fatigue [GF]) between S and NS were assessed via linear mixed effects models. Pearson’s correlations (r) were used to assess relationships between TRIMP and MTDS scores. All significance for analyses were set at P<0.05. RESULTS: There were no main effects of S/NS or group by time interactions for TRIMP, total MTDS, DM, V, PSS, or PS (P>0.05). There were significant group by time effects for SD (P=0.04) and GF (P=0.05). TRIMP was weakly, inversely correlated with total MTDS (r=-0.25, P=0.01), DM (r=-0.22, P=0.02), PSS (r=-0.20, P=0.03), and SD (r=-0.29, P=0.02). However, there were no significant relationships between TRIMP and V, PS, or GF (P>0.05). CONCLUSIONS: While there were no differences in TRIMP or total MTDS, SD and GF changed differently over the season based on starter status. Lack of differences in TRIMP may be attributed to in-game substitutions strategies contributing to workloads. Additionally, the inverse relationship between TRIMP and MTDS was unexpected but may relate to relative fitness of the athlete. Further investigations are warranted to better understand the interactions between starter status, workload, and SD and GF in athletes.

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