WHAT SCIENCE SAYS ABOUT FATIGUE

What is fatigue?

Fatigue is defined as any decline in muscle performance associated with muscle activity. When the relationship between training and recovery becomes imbalanced, symptoms of fatigue develop, followed by decreased performance.

Fatigue in Football

The quantification of workloads is still very difficult due to the complex multidirectional and intermittent nature of team sports. Several studies on élite players reported that 72 hours are needed to restore regular physiological homeostasis. However, the coaching process is more and more difficult due to the busy matches fixture schedule (up to 3 matches per week).

Thus, the high frequency of competitions can affect the recovery process resulting in a state of acute and chronic fatigue, and consequently, it leads players to a performance drop down, in the worst case scenario to the injury. The fatigue game related is characterized by the combination of central and peripheral factors.

FATIGUE MODEL

Cognitive Fatigue

Mental fatigue is another impactful factor in physical performance. During a match, the game conditions are dynamic and players have to make crucial decisions as fast as they can combining information about the ball, teammates and opponents, tactical goals, own technical ability and physical capacity. Game-related cognitive stress can be summarized in perceptual skills, decision-making, and vigilance tasks.

In addition, stress travel-related seems to be very harmful to performance due to the alteration of circadian rhythms (i.e. jet lag and night arrivals) and sleep disorders. Thus, a busy fixture period can lead to a lack of motivation and mental burnout.

Central & Peripheral

(Recovery time)

  • MVC (>72h)
  • Muscle Damage (>72h)
  • Muscle Glycogen (>48h)
  • Sprint/Jump (>72h)
  • RSA (>48h)
  • ROM (>48h)

Biological Markers

(Recovery time)

  • CK (>48h)
  • IL-6 (>24h)
  • CRP (>48h)
  • Testosterone (>72h)

WHAT SCIENCE SAYS ABOUT RECOVERY

Why do we need it?

Failing to respect an athlete’s recovery needs may lead to an inappropriate accumulation of fatigue, resulting not only in reduced workload tolerance and hence decreased performances, but also in an increased risk for injuries and cognitive and mood disturbances (which may lead to an overstrained state).

Athletes fail to perform to the best of their ability if they become infected, stale, sore or malnourished. Excessive training with insufficient recovery can lead to a debilitating syndrome in which performance and well-being can be affected for months. Eliminating or minimizing these problems by providing advice and guidelines on training loads, recovery times, nutrition or pharmacological intervention and regular monitoring of athletes using an appropriate battery of markers can help prevent the development of an overtraining syndrome in athletes.

To avoid burnout or overtraining these signs must be recognized early and training and recovery periods must be adjusted accordingly.

GAS OR GENERAL ADAPTATIONS SYNDROME DESCRIBES THE BODY’S SHORT-TERM AND LONG-TERM REACTIONS TO STRESS IN THREE STAGES

TRAIN AND REST LIKE A BEAST

The recovery strategy begins with a wise periodization of the training cycle, where the work/rest ratio is consistent with the physiological principles.

To maximize their performance, we have to make sure that our athletes recover enough. To ensure optimal training adaptations and benefits, the next training stimulus must be imposed during the super-compensation phase.

Insufficient recovery can lead to a condition characterized by decreased performance and eventually overtraining.

The delicate balance between overload and underload is extremely important for practitioners to manage.

An effective athlete monitoring system can inform the practitioner about the training fatigue and adaptations occurring in athletes.

✍️ Credit by Marco Savino