Understanding the relationship between coach and athlete perceptions of training intensity in youth sport

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To alleviate issues arising from the over/under prescription of training load, coaches must ensure that desired athlete responses to training are being achieved. The present study aimed to assess the level of agreement between the coach intended (pre-session) and observed (post-session) rating of perceived exertion (RPE), with athlete RPE during different training intensities (easy, moderate, hard). Coach intended RPE was taken prior to all field based training sessions over an 8 week in-season period. Following training, all coaches and athletes, whom were participants in hockey, netball, rugby and soccer were asked to provide an RPE measure for the completed session. Sessions were then classified based on the coaches intended RPE, with a total of 28, 125 and 66 easy, moderate and hard training sessions collected respectively. A univariate analysis of variance was used to calculate within-participant correlations between coach intended/observed RPE and athlete RPE. Moderate correlations were found between coach intended and athlete RPE for sessions intended to be moderate and hard whilst a small correlation was found for sessions intended to be easy. The level of agreement between coach and athlete RPE improved following training with coaches altering their RPE to align with those of the athlete. Despite this, moderate and small differences between coach observed and athlete RPE persisted for sessions intended to be easy and moderate respectively. Coaches should therefore incorporate strategies to monitor training load to increase the accuracy of training periodisation and reduce potential over/under prescription of training.

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