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Rating of perceived challenge as a measure of internal load for technical skill performance
  1. Sharief Hendricks1,2,3,
  2. Kevin Till2,4,5,
  3. Jon L Oliver6,7,
  4. Rich D Johnston8,9,
  5. Matthew J Attwood6,10,
  6. James Craig Brown11,12,
  7. David Drake13,
  8. Simon MacLeod13,
  9. Stephen D Mellalieu6,
  10. Ben Jones2,4,5,14
  1. 1Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
  2. 2Institute for Sport, Physical Activity and Leisure, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK
  3. 3Physical Activity, Lifestyle and Sport Research Centre, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
  4. 4Yorkshire Carnegie Rugby Union Football Club, Leeds, UK
  5. 5Leeds Rhinos Rugby League Club, Leeds, UK
  6. 6School of Sport and Heath Sciences, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, UK
  7. 7Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand
  8. 8School of Exercise Science, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  9. 9Norths Devils Rugby Football League, Queensland, Australia
  10. 10Cardiff Metropolitan University Rugby Union Football Club, Cardiff, UK
  11. 11Institute for Sport and Exercise Medicine, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
  12. 12The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Research Centre, Cape Town, South Africa
  13. 13Ulster Rugby, Kingspan Stadium, Belfast, Northern Ireland
  14. 14The Rugby Football League, Leeds, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sharief Hendricks, Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town and the Sports Science Institute of SouthAfrica, Cape Town 7725, South Africa; sharief.hendricks01{at}gmail.com

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Whether we are developing young athletes, designing injury prevention programmes, preparing high-level athletes for competition or rehabilitating an athlete back to sport, the technical skill performance of the athlete(s) needs to be considered. Usually, technical skill performance is captured by training time (minutes), training frequency (number of sessions) or movement repetitions.1 However, this approach is limited by only assessing the external workload of the technical skill. Beyond the external workload, the athlete’s physiological and psychological response to the load can also be assessed (termed internal load).1 One commonly used internal load measurement is the rating of perceived exertion (RPE)—a 0–10 or 0–100 category ratio rating scale where the lower end represents rest and the upper end maximal effort. Typically, the RPE scale is used to capture the athlete’s global perceived experience of the physical work load. From a skill perspective however, this method provides little insight into the perceived technical demands of the movement(s). Weston and colleagues recognised this limitation and asked athletes to provide an RPE for the technical demand of matches and training (RPE-T).2 3 RPE scales, however, are proposed as general intensity scales.4 This characteristic, arguably, can be considered as both an advantage (can be used for various applications) or a disadvantage if …

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