Background Players are the targeted end-users and beneficiaries of exercise-training programmes implemented during coach-led training sessions, and the success of programmes depends upon their active participation. Two variants of an exercise-training programme were incorporated into the regular training schedules of 40 community Australian Football teams, over two seasons. One variant replicated common training practices, while the second was an evidence-based programme to alter biomechanical and neuromuscular factors related to risk of knee injuries. This paper describes the structure of the implemented programmes and compares players’ end-of-season views about the programme variants.
Methods This study was nested within a larger group-clustered randomised controlled trial of the effectiveness of two exercise-training programmes (control and neuromuscular control (NMC)) for preventing knee injuries. A post-season self-report survey, derived from Health Belief Model constructs, included questions to obtain players’ views about the benefits and physical challenges of the programme in which they participated.
Results Compared with control players, those who participated in the NMC programme found it to be less physically challenging but more enjoyable and potentially of more benefit. Suggestions from players about potential improvements to the training programme and its future implementation included reducing duration, increasing range of drills/exercises and promoting its injury prevention and other benefits to players.
Conclusions Players provide valuable feedback about the content and focus of implemented exercise-training programmes, that will directly inform the delivery of similar, or more successful, programmes in the future.
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