Purpose: Trainers and physical fitness coaches' need a useful tool to assess training loads to avoid overtraining. However, perceived scales or questionnaires were required. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess whether a short 8-item questionnaire of fatigue could be a useful tool for monitoring changes in perceived training load and strain among elite rugby Sevens (7s) players during preparation for a major competition.
Methods: Sixteen elite rugby 7s players completed an 8-week training program composed of 6-week intense training (IT) and 2-week reduced training (RT). They were tested before (T0), after the IT (T1) and after the RT (T2). The quantification of the perceived training load and strain were performed by the session-RPE (rating of perceived exertion) method and concomitantly the 8-item questionnaire of fatigue was administered.
Results: Training load (TL) and strain (TS) and total score of fatigue (TSF from the 8-item questionnaire) increased during IT and decreased during RT. Simultaneously, physical performances decreased during IT and were improved after LT. The changes in TL, TS and TSF correlated significantly over the training period (r=0.63-0.83).
Conclusions: These findings suggest that the short questionnaire of fatigue could be a practical and a sensitive tool for monitoring changes in training load and strain in team-sport athletes. Accordingly, the simultaneous use of the short questionnaire of fatigue along with the session-RPE method for perceived changes in training load and strain during training could provide additional information on the athletes' status, allowing coaches to prevent eventual states of overreaching or overtraining.
Keywords: Performance; Rugby Sevens; Score of Fatigue; Training Load.