Session/Drill RPE and REST-Q Recovery Stress Questionnaire Plan

IDEA:

In today’s high-performance athletic model, more and more is being expected of the athletes, coaches, and support staff. The athletes however, are the only ones forced to rise to the occasion in terms of meeting demands placed upon them. As coaches, we sometimes forget or neglect the true “value” of what we are asking the athletes to do. Of utmost importance is the understanding that every single drill, rep, or minute of effort we demand of the athlete carries a sociopsychophysiological price tag. That is to say, if we are spending units of athlete’s effort, we need to not only make sure that those units are wisely spent, but possibly more important, is that we are balancing the books in terms of recovery.

Within this model, there are two constituent factors which determine an athlete’s preparedness to compete, or readiness to train. They are:

  1. The breakdown process (training)
  2. The recovery process (rest)

The first factor, the breakdown process is unfortunately limited in scope by many to only include sport training, conditioning, and weight training. In reality, there are several other factors which contribute significantly to the tear down of athlete performance. Fatigue, Sleep Quality, Disturbed Breaks, and Injury are subjective qualities demonstrated to have significant predictive value for injury risk in professional German soccer players[1]. These will be highlighted later.

The second factor is the recovery process. Often we use terms like “overtrained” or “overreached” to describe an imbalance in the athlete’s stress-recovery state. When we consider that most of our coaching efforts are devoted to applying different stressors to the athlete, it might reason to look at the athletes not always as “overtrained,” but rather “under recovered.” Although high training loads have been associated with higher injury rates, results are equivocal with recent evidence also demonstrating a protective effect of high chronic training loads (Hulin & Gabbett, 20143 20164.)

Moving forward with these more recent discoveries and availability of opportunities for application in our own context, we have a chance to begin implementing these strategies now to ensure we are training our athletes intelligently. It is (also) possible that the perceived recovery rather than the objective length is the crucial variable as suggested by Williams & Andersen (2007) who emphasize that the perception of a stressor rather than the physical aspects of the stressor may have more impact on the athlete5. Therefore it stands to reason that the perceived (subjective) quality of both stress and recovery on the athlete are of the greatest importance when considering the overall stress-recovery balance in the training.

This brings up the important topic of subjective, session Ratings of Perceived Exertion on the part of the athlete. Many coaches will shy away from the apparently abstract and subjective nature of RPE usage, due to the fact that they feel they may not be able to trust their athletes perceptions or that the athletes may try to “fix” the results of training plans by under or over-reporting levels of exertion. However, it has been demonstrated in research6,7,8 that subjective RPE ratings are actually a better indicator of Internal Training Load (ITL) than either HR or Blood Lactate alone7. Of course this is all contingent on the honest reporting of athletes ratings. I believe I have come up with a way to ensure we have a valid score of the intensities for practice drills.

Basically,

RPE SCALE

Assume we have 30 athletes reporting sRPE’s for a drill at all out intensity for a set period (probably 1-3 or 5 minutes.) We will allow them a few minutes to catch their breath and get water before reporting their scores. Once the data is collected, our results may look something like this:

sRPE

Of course the graph is only necessary to provide visual representation. It is not necessary for assigning true values to the drills. The horizontal axis represents the players, vertical axis represents subjective intensity rating from 1-10. Statistically, we can use the mode or rounded average to represent the intensity of the drill, but I think as a starting point, we would like the standard deviation to be below 1 or 1.2 in order to consider the rating “fairly reliable.” This should give us a chance to eliminate those players who may be falsely over or under-reporting (players 18 and 19) on the questionnaires.

THE PLAN:

There will be an evaluation of both the breakdown and recovery processes. Firstly, the breakdown process will be evaluated subjectively by the players. On a Borg CR-10 scale (Modified by Foster et. al) The players will rate one instance of all-out execution for each drill in a practice session following a short break. The scale is as follows:

  1. Rest
  2. Very, Very Easy
  3. Easy
  4. Moderate
  5. Somewhat Hard
  6. Hard
  7. Very Hard
  8. Maximal

The “intensities” for each score will be taken as the average reported score of the group. Sensitivity can be adjusted as seen fit by the coaching staff.

For example: 3-on attacking (1 min continuous) is scored by the strikers as an average score of 4.

The next time that drill is included in a practice plan, a score of 4 (average of position group) is multiplied by the number of minutes that drill is scheduled for. If 3-on attacking is scheduled for 10 minutes, the score for that drill is 4 (avg. RPE) x 10 (minutes in practice) = 40 points.

A sample practice schedule may appear as follows:

  1. Warmup
  2. Pass & Receive (15 points, average of 3 x 5 minutes)
  3. Possessions (20 points, Average of 2 x 10 minutes)
  4. 3 v. 2 (40 points, average of 4 x 10 minutes)
  5. Set pieces (40 points, average of 2 x 20 minutes)
  6. Conditioning – Shuttles (75 Points, Average of 5 x 15 minutes)
  7. Stretch

This practice (however unrealistic) would have a total score of 190 points, based on the reported average intensity for each drill, multiplied by the time spent on each one. In this manner, you will be able to visualize more effectively the ebb and flow of your training week, with special considerations given to important events such as competition.

Daily RPE

The above image may be representative of the changes in TOTAL RPE SCORE per session based on the sum of average intensities multiplied by time spent on each drill as detailed previously. The “Total sRPE SCORE” is the value assigned to the entire practice. This chart may (for example) be reflective of initial buildup of high intensities from day 1-5 and then sessions 6-8 reflecting a tapering period before a preseason game possibly taking place on day 9. The same visualization can be used with multiple sessions per day or off days as well, it’s all up to you.

Now that we have an understanding and a way to look at the accumulating intensities of practices and training, we need to take appraisal of the actual ability of the athlete to recover from those sessions. In this way, we can build some context surrounding questions like “is a practice value of 200 too high?” or “How many days can we practice at 200 before it is too many?” The REST-Q Sport is one such questionnaire which can be administered every 3 days, or weekly, depending on available time and resources or desire of the staff.

A few times per week, the REST-Q Sport may be administered to appraise the value or impact of the previous practice (as well as external recovery) on the players.

The REST-Q SPORT (Recovery-Stress Questionnaire for Athletes, Kellmann & Kallus 2001[1].) Is a questionnaire designed to cultivate athlete’s perception of recovery-stress balance in their training. Each section of the REST-Q SPORT is designed to target either general stress, general recovery, sport-specific stress, or sport-specific recovery. There are sections which fall beneath each category, each containing four questions, measured on a Likert-type scale from o (never) to 6 (always.) The four which have been validated as contributing to injury, as well as the next two closest are as follows:

  1. Fatigue – General Stress
  2. I did not get enough sleep (1)
  3. I was tired from work (7)
  4. I was dead tired after work (13)
  5. I was overtired (19)
  1. Sleep Quality – General Recovery
  2. I fell asleep satisfied and relaxed (3)
  3. I had a satisfying sleep (9)
  4. I slept restlessly (15)
  5. My sleep was interrupted easily (21)
  1. Disturbed Breaks (within training/schedule) – Sport-Specific Stress
  2. I could not get rest during the breaks (5)
  3. I had the impression there were too few breaks (11)
  4. Too much was demanded of me during the breaks (17)
  5. The breaks were not at the right times (22)
  1. Injury – Sport Specific Stress
  2. Parts of my body were aching (4)
  3. My muscles felt stiff or tense during performance (10)
  4. I had muscle pain after performance (16)
  5. I felt vulnerable to injuries (23)
  1. Being in Shape – Sport Specific Recovery
  2. I recovered well physically (2)
  3. I was in a good condition physically (8)
  4. I felt very energetic (14)
  5. My body felt strong (20)
  1. Self-Efficacy – Sport Specific Recovery
  2. I was convinced I could achieve my set goals during performance (6)
  3. I was convinced that I could achieve my performance at any time (12)
  4. I was convinced that I performed well (18)
  5. I was convinced that I trained well (24)

The bracketed numbers indicate the position of each question in the actual questionnaire. The questions will appear out of order in an effort to scatter the thoughts of the athletes and answer each question honestly from 0 to 6.

Each “classification” of question will be scored against its opposite classification. For example: A score of 18 on General Stress, would be negated (for a net of 0) by a score of 18 in the category of General Recovery. The same will apply for the scores of Sport Specific Stress and Sport Specific Recovery.

Each Category called STRESS, will need to be scored inversely, so that a rating of 6 (always) will receive a score value of -6. Each category called RECOVERY will be scored normally so that a rating of 6 (always) will receive a score of +6.

Therefore, there will be a total score of +/- for General Stress-Recovery, and a total score of +/- for Sport Specific Stress-Recovery. The overall +/- will be considered the stress-recovery state of the group as a whole.

rpevsrecovery

Adding the REST-Q scores to the charted sRPE scores from practice intensities can help visualize the influence of manipulating training intensities and the resultant impact that has on recovery scores reported by the players.

On the Following page is an immediately useable REST-Q Questionnaire

REST-Q SPORT (MODIFIED) OVER THE PAST 3 DAYS RATE THE FOLLOWING:

 

  1. I did not get enough sleep

0.Never      1.Seldom     2.Sometimes      3.Often     4.More Often     5.Very Often     6.Always

  1. I recovered well physically

0.Never      1.Seldom     2.Sometimes      3.Often     4.More Often     5.Very Often     6.Always

  1. I fell asleep satisfied and relaxed

0.Never      1.Seldom     2.Sometimes      3.Often     4.More Often     5.Very Often     6.Always

  1. Parts of my body were aching

0.Never      1.Seldom     2.Sometimes      3.Often     4.More Often     5.Very Often     6.Always

  1. I could not get rest during the breaks

0.Never      1.Seldom     2.Sometimes      3.Often     4.More Often     5.Very Often     6.Always

  1. I was convinced I could achieve my set goals during performance

0.Never      1.Seldom     2.Sometimes      3.Often     4.More Often     5.Very Often     6.Always

  1. I was tired from work

0.Never      1.Seldom     2.Sometimes      3.Often     4.More Often     5.Very Often     6.Always

  1. I was in a good condition physically

0.Never      1.Seldom     2.Sometimes      3.Often     4.More Often     5.Very Often     6.Always

  1. I had a satisfying sleep

0.Never      1.Seldom     2.Sometimes      3.Often     4.More Often     5.Very Often     6.Always

  1. My muscles felt stiff or tense during performance

0.Never      1.Seldom     2.Sometimes      3.Often     4.More Often     5.Very Often     6.Always

  1. I had the impression there were too few breaks

0.Never      1.Seldom     2.Sometimes      3.Often     4.More Often     5.Very Often     6.Always

  1. I was convinced that I could achieve my performance at any time

0.Never      1.Seldom     2.Sometimes      3.Often     4.More Often     5.Very Often     6.Always

  1. I was dead tired after work

0.Never      1.Seldom     2.Sometimes      3.Often     4.More Often     5.Very Often     6.Always

  1. I felt very energetic

0.Never      1.Seldom     2.Sometimes      3.Often     4.More Often     5.Very Often     6.Always

  1. I slept restlessly

0.Never      1.Seldom     2.Sometimes      3.Often     4.More Often     5.Very Often     6.Always

  1. I had muscle pain after performance

0.Never      1.Seldom     2.Sometimes      3.Often     4.More Often     5.Very Often     6.Always

  1. Too much was demanded of me during the breaks

0.Never      1.Seldom     2.Sometimes      3.Often     4.More Often     5.Very Often     6.Always

  1. I was convinced that I performed well

0.Never      1.Seldom     2.Sometimes      3.Often     4.More Often     5.Very Often     6.Always

  1. I was overtired

0.Never      1.Seldom     2.Sometimes      3.Often     4.More Often     5.Very Often     6.Always

  1. My body felt strong

0.Never      1.Seldom     2.Sometimes      3.Often     4.More Often     5.Very Often     6.Always

  1. My sleep was interrupted easily

0.Never      1.Seldom     2.Sometimes      3.Often     4.More Often     5.Very Often     6.Always

  1. The breaks were not at the right times

0.Never      1.Seldom     2.Sometimes      3.Often     4.More Often     5.Very Often     6.Always

  1. I felt vulnerable to injuries

0.Never      1.Seldom     2.Sometimes      3.Often     4.More Often     5.Very Often     6.Always

  1. I was convinced that I trained well

0.Never      1.Seldom     2.Sometimes      3.Often     4.More Often     5.Very Often     6.Always

Rest-Qscoring

References

 

1 Recovery-Stress Balance and injury risk in professional football players: a prospective study. Laux, Philipp ; Krumm, Bertram ; Diers, Martin ; Flor, Herta. Journal of Sports Sciences, 14 December 2015, Vol.33(20), p.2140-2148.

2 Recovery-Stress questionnaire for athletes: User Manual. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2001.

3 Hulin BT, Gabbett TJ, Blanch P, et al. Spikes in acute workload are associated with increased injury risk in elite cricket fast bowlers. Br J Sports Med 2014;48:708–12.

4 Hulin BT, Gabbett TJ, Lawson DW, et al. The acute:chronic workload ratio predicts injury: high chronic workload may decrease injury risk in elite rugby league players. Br J Sports Med 2016;50:231–6.

5 Psychosocial antecedents of sport injury: Review and critique of the stress and injury mode. Williams, Jeanm. ; Andersen, Markb. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 1998, Vol.10(1), p.5-25 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

6 BANGSBO, J. The physiology of soccer: with special reference to intense intermittent exercise. Acta Physiol. Scand. Suppl. 619:1– 155, 1994.

7 BORG, G., G. LJUNGGREN, and R. CECI. The increase of perceived exertion, aches and pain in the legs, heart rate and blood lactate during exercise on a bicycle ergometer. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. Occup. Physiol. 54:343–349, 1985

8 Use of RPE-based training load in soccer. Impellizzeri, Franco M ; Rampinini, Ermanno ; Coutts, Aaron J ; Sassi, Aldo ; Marcora, Samuele. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, June 2004, Vol.36(6), pp.1042-7 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Session/Drill RPE and REST-Q Recovery Stress Questionnaire Plan

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