S&C

What is Athlete Monitoring & Why is it Important? Part 2: Readiness Assessments and Insights

RYPT Team

[5-min read]

In Part 1 of this two-part blog, we discussed internal and external load monitoring methods and how to interpret the data so you can design more effective sessions to make sure your athletes are better prepared for the demands of competition while reducing their risk of injury and ensuring they’re in a position to perform at their peak.

In Part 2, we’re going to take a look at Readiness Assessments and how they can be used to provide further context around how your athletes are coping with the load but also other stressors in their lives. Followed by how you can combine your internal and external load data with data from your readiness assessments to give you more powerful insights to guide your decision-making.

Readiness assessments aim to measure the athlete’s perceptual and physical readiness to train or compete. These measures can be subjective in nature, like a perceptual well-being questionnaire, or objective in nature in the form of Physical readiness assessments such as a Countermovement Jump Test. Monitoring readiness can help coaches determine whether an athlete requires more recovery, more physical preparation, or whether they may need help with other aspects of their lifestyle that are affecting their performance.

Well-being Questionnaires

Well-being questionnaires are a simple, reliable, and validated method of monitoring athlete readiness by measuring the impact of lifestyle stressors on their training response, Saw et al. (2015), and readiness to train/compete, Gallo et al. (2015). They measure an athlete’s perceived well-being, typically covering factors like sleep, mood, energy levels, and stress, and can identify non-training stressors that are impacting an athlete’s recovery and performance. This can help coaches identify areas for improvement and opportunities to make adjustments to an athlete’s training load to reduce the risk of illness or injury.

Free tools like Excel and Sheets can be used to do this but they are time-consuming to set up and maintain and inconvenient for athletes, impacting compliance. Platforms like RYPT can simplify the delivery of well-being questionnaires, make it easier for athletes to improve compliance, and automate data interpretation so coaches get instant, actionable insights.

RYPT-readiness-assessments-well-being-lifestyle

Perceptual Well-being Monitoring with RYPT

Physical Readiness Assessments

Objective measures of physical readiness can also be monitored using assessments like the Countermovement Jump Test, or Hamstring Strength Test. When compared against an athlete’s previous data this can identify potential drops in performance and heightened injury risk using the smallest worthwhile change.

Free tools like Excel and Sheets can be used to do this but they are time-consuming to set up and maintain. Platforms like RYPT can simplify data collection and automate data interpretation so coaches get instant, actionable insights, while also ensuring that data is securely stored and can be easily communicated with the rest of the coaching team.

How is the athlete coping with the load?

Physical readiness markers can identify how an athlete is coping with the load they’re under by using statistical analysis to identify worthwhile changes in their performance. This can give coaches warnings for potential drop-offs in performance or an increased risk of injury. This data can be used to manage an athlete’s recovery and physical preparation more effectively. 

Are there any other factors that may be impacting performance?

Perceptual well-being data can identify other lifestyle factors that may be impacting an athlete’s performance. While excessively high workloads will impact an athlete’s perceptual well-being, McGahan et al. (2018), their well-being responses can also identify other lifestyle factors that can be targeted to improve their performance.

While all the data can provide useful insights when viewed in isolation, combining the data sets can provide you with more context and more powerful insights when it comes to making an intervention to an athlete’s training plan to improve their performance, achieve a specific training adaptation, or reduce their risk of injury. The matrices presented by Gabbett et al. (2017) offer a nice framework to guide decision-making.


Combining your Athlete Monitoring Data with RYPT

By combining an athlete’s external and internal load data it’s possible to assess whether the desired adaptation has taken place and it can also identify times when you may need to increase or decrease their training load.

  • High External Workland + High Internal Workload / If the load was higher than intended you may want to consider reducing the load.
  • Low External Workland + Low Internal Workload / You may want to consider increasing the load presuming you’re not in a de-load phase. 
  • High External Workland + Low Internal Workload / This suggests that a positive adaptation has taken place meaning the athlete can handle higher loads.
  • Low External Workland + High Internal Workload / This suggests that a maladaptation may have taken place.
RYPT-blog-readiness-assessments-combining-internal-external

Combining Internal and External Load Data

By combining an athlete’s load data, external or internal, with their perceptual well-being data it’s possible to get insights into how an athlete is tolerating the stressors they are being put under. It can help identify when to increase or decrease load, and also if there are external factors that may need addressing.

  • High Load + High Well-being / The athlete is in a good place physically and mentally.
  • Low Load + Low Well-being / External lifestyle factors may need to be discussed and targeted for improvement.
  • High Load + Low Well-being / This may be an indicator that load should be reduced as it could be impacting the athlete’s readiness to train/compete.
  • Low Load + High Well-being / You may want to consider increasing the load presuming you’re not in a de-load phase as the athlete should be able to handle it.
RYPT-blog-readiness-assessments-combining-LOAD-WELL-BEING

By combining an athlete’s perceptual well-being data with their physical readiness markers it’s possible to get insights into whether an athlete is ready to train/compete, whether they might need additional recovery, and also whether or not they’re physically and mentally prepared.

  • High Well-being + High Physical Readiness / The athlete is ready to Train/Compete.
  • Low Well-being + Low Physical Readiness / The athlete may need additional recovery time.
  • High Well-being + Low Physical Readiness / This suggests they’re not physically prepared to perform at their peak.
  • Low Well-being + High Physical Readiness / This suggests they’re not mentally prepared to perform at their peak.
RYPT-blog-readiness-assessments-combining-WELL-BEING-READINESS

When interpreting the data, however, it should always be taken in the context of the overall goal for the phase of training and any adjustments you make should be made on that basis so that you achieve the intended adaptations.

Conclusion

Athlete monitoring can be an indispensable tool for coaches at all levels of sport. When used correctly it can help coaching teams improve their athlete’s performance, achieve specific training adaptations, and reduce injury risk.

In this two-part blog series, we’ve introduced the concepts and common athlete monitoring methods of internal and external load monitoring and readiness assessments and discussed how to interpret the data and make it actionable to guide your decision-making. This was intended to illustrate that no matter what level you’re coaching at and what budget constraints exist, there are tools out there to help you implement athlete monitoring for the benefit of your athletes, and your organisation.

References

  • Gabbett, Tim & Nassis, George & Oetter, Eric & Pretorius, Johan & Johnston, Nick & Medina, Daniel & Rodas, Gil & Myslinski, Tom & Howells, Dan & Beard, Adam & Ryan, Allan. (2017). The athlete monitoring cycle: A practical guide to interpreting and applying training monitoring data. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 51. bjsports-2016. 10.1136/bjsports-2016-097298.
  • Gallo et al.: Pre-training perceived wellness impacts training output in Australian football players, J Sports Sci., 4:1-7, 2015.
  • McGahan, J., Lacey, S., Burns, C., Gabbett, T., & O’ Neill, C. (2018b). Variation in training load and markers of wellness across a season in an elite Gaelic football team. Journal of Australian Strength and Conditioning.
  • Saw AE, et al.: Monitoring the player training response: subjective self-reported measures trump commonly used objective measures: a systematic review, Br J Sports Med, 0:1–13, 2015.

Did you enjoy this article?

If so, then please share it

👍

RYPT is a performance coaching platform designed to help multi-disciplinary coaching teams deliver athletic development programs efficiently at scale. RYPT helps coaching teams manage every aspect of their coaching relationship from the delivery of individualized training plans, to athlete monitoring and communication. RYPT centralizes athlete data to give coaches better insights and help them manage their athletes more efficiently and effectively – reducing injury risk and optimizing performance.

Over 2,000 coaches worldwide, working from grassroots to Olympic level, trust RYPT to deliver their athletic development programs and monitor their athletes. RYPT supports individual coaches, private gyms and academies, schools and universities, and large sporting organisations.

Athlete Monitoring Performance Readiness

About the author

RYPT Team

Want to leave a comment about this article?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What are you waiting for?

Talk to our team and see how RYPT can help you