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The athlete monitoring cycle: a practical guide to interpreting and applying training monitoring data
  1. Tim J Gabbett1,2,
  2. George P Nassis3,
  3. Eric Oetter4,
  4. Johan Pretorius5,
  5. Nick Johnston6,
  6. Daniel Medina7,
  7. Gil Rodas7,
  8. Tom Myslinski8,
  9. Dan Howells9,
  10. Adam Beard10,
  11. Allan Ryan11
  1. 1 Gabbett Performance Solutions, Queensland, Australia
  2. 2 Institute for Resilient Regions, University of Southern Queensland, Australia
  3. 3 National Sports Medicine Programme, Excellence in Football Project, Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  4. 4 Memphis Grizzlies, Tennessee, USA
  5. 5 Sharks Super Rugby, Durban, South Africa
  6. 6 Nick Johnston Lifestyle and Sport Consultancy, Birmingham, UK
  7. 7 Sport Science and Medical Department, FC Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  8. 8 Jacksonville Jaguars, Florida, USA
  9. 9 Rugby Football Union, London, UK
  10. 10 Cleveland Browns, Ohio, USA
  11. 11 Bath Rugby, Bath, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Tim J Gabbett, Gabbett Performance Solutions, Brisbane, 4011, Qld, Australia; tim{at}

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I want to monitor my athlete but where do I start?

Given the relationships among athlete workloads, injury1 and performance,2 athlete monitoring has become critical in the high-performance sporting environment. Sports medicine and science staff have a suite of monitoring tools available to track how much ‘work’ an athlete has performed, the response to that ‘work’ and whether the athlete is in a relative state of fitness or fatigue. The volume of literature, coupled with clever marketing around the ‘best approaches’ to optimising athlete performance, has resulted in practitioners having more choices than ever before. Furthermore, the range of different practices used in sport and the lack of agreement between parties emphasise the importance of having a clear rationale for athlete monitoring. The aim of this paper is to provide a practical guide to strategic planning, analysing, interpreting and applying athlete monitoring data in the sporting environment irrespective of data management software.

What should I do with all of these data and how do I choose what to measure?

When deciding on the athlete monitoring tools to use with your athletes, the first question one should ask is “What do I want to achieve through athlete monitoring?” Quite commonly, the answer is to maximise the positive effects (eg, fitness, readiness and performance) and minimise the negative effects (eg, excessive fatigue, injury and illness) of training. Once practitioners know the reasons for athlete monitoring, appropriate tools can be chosen in order to answer the athlete monitoring question.

For example, if practitioners wish to maximise ‘fitness’ and minimise ‘fatigue’, then appropriate monitoring tools to measure these outcomes are necessary. Measurement of fitness improvements for a Premier League football player (eg, a Yo-Yo test) …

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