Subjective And Objective Responses To Two Rugby 7’s World Series Competitions

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The purpose was to examine the utility of subjective and objective measures of player preparedness, interpreted at both a group and individual level, during two consecutive competitions of the World Rugby Sevens Series (WRSS). Subjective (sleep, energy and muscle soreness ratings) and objective [heart rate (HR) at rest (HRREST) and in response to submaximal exercise (HREX)] measures were obtained from 16 male Rugby-7s players from one team for three consecutive days (D1-3) at home (HOME) and upon arrival at four tournament (T1-4) locations (T1-New Zealand and T2-USA; T3-Hong Kong and T4-Tokyo) across two WRSS competitions (two tournaments per competition) separated by 1 month. At a group level, energy ratings were significantly lower in T2 and T4 compared to HOME, and on D1 T2 compared to D1 T1 (p=<0.05). Greatest variability in subjective ratings was observed during T1 and T3 at an individual level, particularly for sleep quality. Though at a group level HRREST and HREX significantly decreased in T1-4 compared to HOME (p=<0.05), there was only a ∼50% agreement between the direction of change in HR indices at an individual level. Results from the present study suggest that relocation between tournaments within WRSS competitions disrupts player preparedness measures to the largest degree. Hence, this time period could be targeted by practitioners with appropriate recovery and/or sleep promoting interventions and/or modulation of match-/training-load. Moreover, subjective rather than objective measures appear of greater use to inform player preparedness decision making, particularly at an individual compared to a group level.

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