To apply data reduction methods to athlete-monitoring measures to address the issue of data overload for practitioners of professional Australian football teams.
Data were collected from 45 professional Australian footballers from 1 club during the 2018 Australian Football League season. External load was measured in training and matches by 10-Hz OptimEye S5 and ClearSky T6 GPS units. Internal load was measured via the session rate of perceived exertion method. Perceptual wellness was measured via questionnaires completed before training sessions with players providing a rating (1-5 Likert scale) of muscle soreness, sleep quality, fatigue, stress, and motivation. Percentage of maximum speed was calculated relative to individual maximum velocity recorded during preseason testing. Derivative external training load measures (total daily, weekly, and monthly) were calculated. Principal-component analyses (PCAs) were conducted for Daily and Chronic measures, and components were identified via scree plot inspection (eigenvalue > 1). Components underwent orthogonal rotation with a factor loading redundancy threshold of 0.70.
The Daily PCA identified components representing external load, perceived wellness, and internal load. The Chronic PCA identified components representing 28-d speed exposure, 28-d external load, 7-d external load, and 28-d internal load. Perceived soreness did not meet the redundancy threshold.
Monitoring player exposure to maximum speed is more appropriate over chronic than short time frames to capture variations in between-matches training-cycle duration. Perceived soreness represents a distinct element of a player’s perception of wellness. Summed-variable and single-variable approaches are novel methods of data reduction following PCA of athlete monitoring data.