Monitoring athletes through self-report: factors influencing implementation

J Sports Sci Med. 2015 Mar 1;14(1):137-46. eCollection 2015 Mar.


Monitoring athletic preparation facilitates the evaluation and adjustment of practices to optimize performance outcomes. Self-report measures such as questionnaires and diaries are suggested to be a simple and cost-effective approach to monitoring an athlete's response to training, however their efficacy is dependent on how they are implemented and used. This study sought to identify the perceived factors influencing the implementation of athlete self-report measures (ASRM) in elite sport settings. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with athletes, coaches and sports science and medicine staff at a national sporting institute (n = 30). Interviewees represented 20 different sports programs and had varying experience with ASRM. Purported factors influencing the implementation of ASRM related to the measure itself (e.g., accessibility, timing of completion), and the social environment (e.g., buy-in, reinforcement). Social environmental factors included individual, inter-personal and organizational levels which is consistent with a social ecological framework. An adaptation of this framework was combined with the factors associated with the measure to illustrate the inter-relations and influence upon compliance, data accuracy and athletic outcomes. To improve implementation of ASRM and ultimately athletic outcomes, a multi-factorial and multi-level approach is needed. Key pointsEffective implementation of a self-report measure for monitoring athletes requires a multi-factorial and multi-level approach which addresses the particular measure used and the surrounding social environment.A well-designed self-report measure should obtain quality data with minimal burden on athletes and staff.A supportive social environment involves buy-in and coordination of all parties, at both an individual and organization level.

Keywords: Training diary; athletic injury; overtraining; questionnaire; wellbeing.