More than a Metric: How Training Load is Used in Elite Sport for Athlete Management

Stephen W. West, Jo Clubb, Lorena Torres-Ronda, Daniel Howells, Edward Leng, Jason D. Vescovi, Sean Carmody, Michael Posthumus, Torstein Dalen-Lorentsen, Johann Windt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Citations (SciVal)
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Training load monitoring is a core aspect of modern-day sport science practice. Collecting, cleaning, analysing, interpreting, and disseminating load data is usually undertaken with a view to improve player performance and/or manage injury risk. To target these outcomes, practitioners attempt to optimise load at different stages throughout the training process, like adjusting individual sessions, planning day-to-day, periodising the season, and managing athletes with a long-term view. With greater investment in training load monitoring comes greater expectations, as stakeholders count on practitioners to transform data into informed, meaningful decisions. In this editorial we highlight how training load monitoring has many potential applications and cannot be simply reduced to one metric and/or calculation. With experience across a variety of sporting backgrounds, this editorial details the challenges and contextual factors that must be considered when interpreting such data. It further demonstrates the need for those working with athletes to develop strong communication channels with all stakeholders in the decision-making process. Importantly, this editorial highlights the complexity associated with using training load for managing injury risk and explores the potential for framing training load with a performance and training progression mindset.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-306
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number4
Early online date19 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2021


  • injury
  • performance
  • training
  • workload

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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