Troy Coppus, Katie Delinsky, J. Grant Mouser. Troy University, Troy, AL.

BACKGROUND: Data analytics to inform coaches and team personnel on training and performance decisions has become commonplace in elite levels of soccer. Many sub-elite soccer organizations lack the finances and/or personnel to adequately monitor training load and assess the findings in the same fashion. For those who wish to make data-driven decisions despite limited resources, collecting specific subjective data from the participants could be a minimalistic alternative to gauge training load. The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between a subjective soreness measure and various objective training load measures taken during activity the previous day. METHODS: An NCAA Division I men’s soccer team (n = 28; mean ± SD: age = 20.5 ± 1.5 years, mass = 76.40 ± 9.44 kg, height = 183.88 ± 8.24 cm, college soccer eligibility = 2.57 ± 1.2 years) used Polar Team Pro devices and Polar Flow software to record caloric expenditure, distance traveled, number of sprints (defined as running over 3.0 m/s for > 3 seconds), and TrainingLoad score during training sessions and matches throughout the 2019 fall NCAA championship season, totaling 1760 observations. Daily morning questionnaires asking for soreness on a 0-10 scale were completed electronically by each player. Relationships between the subjective soreness measure and each objective measure were assessed using Spearman’s rho. Statistical significance was set a priori at α = .05. RESULTS: There were significant positive correlations between caloric expenditure (r = .233, P < 0.0005), distance traveled (r = .311, P < 0.0005), number of sprints (r = .232, P < 0.0005), and TrainingLoad score (r = .326, P < 0.0005) and self-report soreness. CONCLUSIONS: The subjective soreness measure was shown to have a close positive relationship with four objective measures of workload. While the results of this study cannot be applied to other soccer athlete populations, they initiate conversation on how training load may be measured in various soccer populations, outside a male intercollegiate team, who lack resources. These findings suggest that male intercollegiate teams could record soreness subjectively to give coaches and associated personnel a simple, yet accurate assessment of their workload the previous day.

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