RPE and its relationship with the risk of injury in footballers
Overtime, the competitive distance among elite football teams has shortened, so the focus is currently on those aspects that can tip the scale to one side or the other.
In team sports, the coach and players cannot control the final score. Luck or the rival team’s good work can lead to a bad result despite having played at an outstanding level. Perhaps that is why superstitions and mistaken beliefs of sportsmen and women play an important role in preparing players to compete.1,2 These can be small actions such as avoiding the yellow colour in the equipment or the need to step twice in a row with the right foot when entering the pitch. But this can also affect exercises included in injury prevention protocols or the proposed pre-game warm-up.
Players’ beliefs may clash with scientific evidence that often supports coaching staff intervention routines. Figure 1 shows the relationship between the strength of scientific evidence and the strength of athletes’ beliefs when attempting to modify or introduce a novel behaviour or intervention that could improve performance. When the scientific evidence matches an athlete’s beliefs, it is relatively easy to avoid or introduce a new approach (quadrant 1). If an athlete develops behaviours that are not supported by science, it may be better to tolerate the activity and wait for a time when the performance is not good, which could open an opportunity window to learn to adopt more scientifically supported approaches (quadrant 2). When the scientific evidence is strong, but the athlete doesn’t believe in what they are going to do, the key is to be patient. When appropriate, it is advisable to talk about the archetypes of athletes who adopt science-based interventions. It may be easier to gain the acceptance of the player and try a new intervention based on scientific evidence at a time of the season that is not high risk for achieving sporting objectives (quadrant 3). If athletes’ beliefs and the scientific evidence agree that a performance is not desirable, it is best not to use it (quadrant 4).
The correct management of the coach on what to do at each moment, if the most advisable or what the players think is best, is key to not generating unnecessary conflict and getting the best possible version of the athletes. It should be kept in mind that the superstitions that players may have are an important source of self-confidence. It may not be a good idea to alter their habits before a major game. Similarly, mistaken beliefs or lack of conviction from players towards a proposed new measure by coaches, can condition the team’s success.
In short, it is important to bear in mind that a team is made up of different individuals, with different sporting cultures and with beliefs that are sometimes contrary to what the scientific evidence proposes. It is a question of finding the best moment to convince and alter a behaviour that is not the best for the player, even if they believe the opposite. Science, sportsmen and women’s beliefs, customs and traditions can point in different directions. It seems as important to know and propose the best preparation routines supported by science, as it is to know how to deal with players and their beliefs.
Carlos Lago Peñas
1 Buchheit, M. (2017). Houston, We Still Have a Problem. Int. J. Sports Physiol. Perform. 12, 1111–1114.
2 Calleja-González J, Terrados N, Martín-Acero R, Lago-Peñas C, Jukic I, Mielgo-Ayuso J, Marqués-Jiménez D, Delextrat A and Ostojic S (2018) Happiness vs. Wellness During the Recovery Process in High Performance Sport. Front. Physiol. 9:1598.
Mental abilities, although not yet fully appreciated, are already considered a relevant part of performance. But their importance could go beyond that: Do they also influence the injury risk, including recurrence, once the player returns to play?
Although several studies have tried to evaluate the characteristics of the risk of injury in handball players, they have been unable to reach sufficiently reliable conclusions. A new study of all the FC Barcelona handball categories has attempted to shed more light on the subject.
Although there are several studies on this topic, many of them have analyzed these demands by looking at just a few variables or using very broad timeframes. A new study completed by physical trainers from F.C. Barcelona has analyzed several of these details more closely.
An article published in The Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine —in which members of the club’s medical services participated— now suggests to consider the detailed structure of the area affected, and treating the extracellular matrix as an essential player in the prognosis of the injury.
In this article, Tim Gabbett and his team provide a user-friendly guide for practitioners when describing the general purpose of load management to coaches.
For the first time, it has been demonstrated that it does not take months of training to significantly improve both muscle volume and strength; instead, two weeks of an appropriate exercise are enough.
Training using eccentric exercises is important to prevent possible damage. However, intensive training can also cause muscle damage, so it is critical to be vigilant in order to keep injury risk to an absolute minimum.
Cardiovascular endurance manifests as a moderator of the load result to which the athlete is exposed.
Through the use of computer vision we can identify some shortcomings in the body orientation of players in different game situations.