Bob Poehling’s MSc Thesis Proposal

Title: “Sprint Mechanical Variables to Measure Neuromuscular Fatigue in High-level Adolescent Female Soccer Players”

Supervisor: Dr. Michael Koehle (Kinesiology)
Committee Members: Dr. Jean-Sebastien Blouin (Kinesiology), Cesar Meylan (Canadian National Soccer Women’s Team Program/Canadian Sport Institute), Ben Sporer (Adjunct Faculty of Medicine, UBC)

Abstract: Optimal management of fatigue is a highly sought after practice in sport. By definition, neuromuscular fatigue causes a decrease in performance through central and peripheral factors. The management of training load to minimize this decrease in performance is critical in high performance sport. Countermovement jump (CMJ) height, along with specific CMJ mechanical variables, have previously been used to monitor neuromuscular status. However, recently a vector-based approach to force and power production has been employed. Thus, a sprint test may more closely mimic many sports’ main action compared to a CMJ. Additionally, there is some indication that regularly performing maximal sprint training has a protective affect against injury. In the proposed study, we aim to investigate the influence of training load on wellness, CMJ, and sprint mechanical variables. Twenty-three adolescent female soccer players from a national training centre will be recruited. A wellness questionnaire and session rating of perceived exertion will be recorded daily, while a CMJ and 30 m sprint will be measured weekly as an indication of neuromuscular fatigue. The CMJ will be measured using a contact mat and the sprint will be measured using a radar gun. Using instantaneous horizontal velocity and anthropometric data, sprint mechanical variables can be calculated. A linear mixed-model approach will be used to analyze the data. By establishing a more sport-specific protocol and determining the most relevant interval of training load to consider, this research will support greater accuracy in neuromuscular fatigue measures to inform player readiness to train while using an activity the players are already completing during training.