Encouraging your athletes to push to their physical limits is part of coaching, but so is monitoring your athlete’s health.
How do you approach monitoring fatigue levels in your athletes?
Share your tips and best practices!
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Coach Amanda Miles – Basketball – Markham – 10 Years
“I have found over the years each individual athlete shows fatigue in a variety of different ways. The main one I notice is the players fundamental skills start to dwindle and they start using poor form when shooting and passing. Another one that I notice is that the athletes stop talking to each other and communicating, they are trying to focus their energy on performing as opposed to communication. As I start to see any of these signs, along with some others (decrease in speed and intensity, increase in breathing rates, decrease in attentional focus) I stop the players and give them a water break, or sub them off the court with some fresh minds/legs.”
Coach Joanne Milton – Horseback Riding – Hillsburgh – 35
“Monitoring fatigue is extremely important in horseback riding as muscle fatigue can not only hinder the rider’s ability to cue the horse correctly, it can also reduce the rider’s ability to react to unexpected movement by the horse and result in a fall. The first indication that fatigue is becoming an issue is usually in the performance of the horse……my horses all take their job as assistant coaches very seriously! Their performance will start to become dull, which tells me that the rider isn’t using their seat and leg aids effectively.
At this point, I will usually have the rider take a break (sometimes they are more willing to quit what they are doing if I say the horse needs a break as riders have a great tendency to keep pushing themselves beyond their capability, but would never exert that kind of pressure on their horse)! It can also help if we go on to working on a different maneuver. Sometimes we break for a few mounted stretching exercises before continuing in order to release tension in the muscles. Then returning to the same work we were doing usually shows some improvement which will give me a good opportunity to say that’s enough for today.“
Coach Dallas Price – Rugby – Toronto – 3 Years
“As an experienced personal trainer, I am very aware of what muscle failure looks like. I can watch form on an exercise and know if the athlete’s core and primary muscle groups are too fatigued to do the exercise properly. Also, I have a discussion with my athletes at the beginning of season. I try to explain to them the need for technique as well as intensity. Focusing all on one, you won’t have the other. You need to listen to your body and know where you are on the scale. Using the RPE scale (rate of perceived exertion) is really good with new and young athletes.“
Coach Mike Miller – Soccer – Milton/Halton – 25+ Years
“Monitoring fatigue can be done on many different levels. The simplest is just asking the players “How do you feel today?” You can have them keep journals and record their physical and emotional states. You can use a Profile of Mood States and review them, looking for changes in trends. You can have them measure, log and chart their resting heart rates when they wake up and before they get out of bed. If you want to be sophisticated, you can monitor the athlete’s heart rate variability during exercise and to use that to calculate post-exercise oxygen consumption. It all depends on what level of competition your athletes are competing at.”
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