Using the Session Rating of Perceived Exertion to Quantify Training Load in a Men's College Soccer Team

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Using the session rating of perceived exertion to quantify training load in a men's college soccer team. J Strength Cond Res 34(10): 2793-2799, 2020-The purpose of this study was to examine the training load (TL) programming of 3 training groups of a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I men's college soccer team across a season. Thirty athletes were classified as starters (S), substitutes (NS), or redshirts (RS) based on the percentage of possible minutes played during the season. Training load was quantified at the season, phasic, and weekly levels by the session rating of perceived exertion. Between-group differences were observed at the season level (p < 0.001), and group-by-time interactions for average weekly TL were found at both the phasic (p = 0.04) and weekly levels (p < 0.001). In general, S accumulated greater TL than NS (effect size range for all analyses: -0.59 < d < 1.91) and RS (0.17 < d < 3.67), and NS accumulated greater TL than RS (-0.54 < d < 2.34). Within-group variation at the phasic level was less apparent (-0.35 < d < 1.44); however, all 3 groups displayed training variation at the weekly level (-1.80 < d < 3.24). The session rating of perceived exertion can serve as a low-cost, valid means of quantifying TL in men's college soccer athletes. Practitioners should be especially aware of the possibility of insufficient loading in NS.