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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1994 Aug;26(8):1036-40.

Psychological monitoring and modulation of training load of world-class canoeists.

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Department of Medicine, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


The purpose of the present investigation was to monitor psychological changes using the Profile of Mood States (POMS) test on 14 (9 men and 5 women) world-class canoeists. A Swedish version of the POMS questionnaire and a rating questionnaire on the training load (RTL) were administered weekly from May until the beginning of August 1992.


The total mood score of the POMS was initially 130 +/- 15.7 (mean +/- SD) and improved (P < 0.05) to 122 +/- 23.1 (mean +/- SD) a month later. During the following heavy training, the total mood score of the POMS increased significantly (P < 0.01) to 160 +/- 27.2 (mean +/- SD). In the tapering period, there was a significant improvement in mood state (P < 0.01) down to a total mood score of the POMS of 120 +/- 22.1 (mean +/- SD) 1 wk before the Olympics. The RTL (mean +/- SD) on the same occasions was 9.4 +/- 1.9, 9.3 +/- 2.9, 11.6 +/- 1.5, and 7.3 +/- 2.1, respectively. Elevated POMS total mood disturbance scores (elevation > 50%) were used as a criterion for determining whether the athletes were training excessively (or developing staleness). This criterion was fulfilled in 12% of all POMS assessments in nine of the subjects. It is concluded that the monitoring of psychological mood disturbances is useful in reducing the risk of staleness in canoeists undergoing hard training. Titration of the training stimulus on the basis of POMS scores resulted in none of the canoeists developing signs of staleness in connection with the Olympics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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