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The impact of tournament load on neuromuscular function, perceived wellness and coach ratings of performance during intensified netball competition

Lee, Marcus, Wee, Jericho, Dobbin, Nicholas ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7508-1683, Roman, Quintin and Choong, Gabriel (2022) The impact of tournament load on neuromuscular function, perceived wellness and coach ratings of performance during intensified netball competition. Journal of Science in Sport and Exercise. ISSN 2096-6709

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Abstract

Purpose: This study examined the effects of tournament load on neuromuscular function, perceived wellness and coach ratings of performance across two 6-day netball tournaments. Methods: Thirty-nine female youth netballers (age = 14.6 ± 0.5 years, stature = 165.9 ± 4.7 cm, body mass = 56.5 ± 7.2 kg) were categorised as HIGH (10-11 matches, n = 20) or LOW (6 matches, n = 19) tournament load. Match load, jump height, perceived wellness and coach ratings of performance were monitored daily. Results: HIGH tournament load resulted in greater reductions in jump height on match-day 4 (–8.3, ±5.6%) when compared to LOW. HIGH tournament load resulted in greater reductions in perceived soreness (–0.9, ±1.1 AU) and overall wellness (–2.6, ±2.3 AU) on match-day 3, and a greater reduction in perceived sleep (–0.9, ±1.1 AU) on match-day 4. HIGH tournament load was negatively associated with sleep quality and coach ratings of performance (effect size correlation = -0.34 to -0.47) when compared to LOW. Conclusion: Our results indicate that a higher tournament load resulted in greater increases in neuromuscular fatigue, reduced perceived wellness, and lower ratings of performance. Practitioners should consider pre-tournament preparation and monitoring strategies to minimise the physiological disturbances during an intensified tournament.

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