Author(s): Yannick A. Balk, Jan de Jonge , Wido G.M. Oerlemans, and Sabine A.E. Geurts
Publication Year: July 2017
Article Title: Testing the triple-match principle among Dutch elite athletes: A day-level study on sport demands, detachment and recovery
Journal Title: Psychology of Sport and Exercise
Volume Number: 33
Page Numbers: Pages 7-17
APA formatted Reference:
Balk, Y. A., de Jonge, J., Oerlemans, W. G. M., Geurts, S. A. E. (2017) Testing the triple-match principle among Dutch elite athletes: A day-level study on sport demands, detachment and recovery. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 33, 7-17. Doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2017.07.006
II. Executive Summary
The purpose of the article was to determine if a physical, emotional and cognitive detachment would lead to a more fulfilling recovery state. Athletes have a tendency to not allow enough recovery time leading to injuries and poor mental states so this study will look at how to also minimize these issues.
Their test methods included collecting data on 68 Dutch athletes in different sports twice a day, once when they wake up and one before they go to bed. The collection was completed for an eight-day period during a typical training week using 7-point Likert scale and 10-point slider scale.
This study found that there is a high percentage of variance in physical recovery state is explained by differences found within a person versus between people. This indicates that emotional and cognitive recovery is achieved through detachment and daily recovery is considerably on day-to-day activates within a person and is important to
The study concludes that detachment of athletes is imperative in the recovery process of athlete. There are many different combinations of detachment and demands that can be used to determine what path of recovery to take and the biggest fluctuation of recovery occurs within the person.
This study used many variance tests to combat limitations of the data collection. Also comparing the different commands to different detachments in different ways allowed research to see if some were more correlated than others.
The study was completed over a very short period of testing when many other factors could add to demands and detachment over time. Another weakness is there is no way to confirm the athletes did not lie about their physical and mental states.
Applicability / Relevance:
Sports are continuing to grow and seasons tend to stretch longer starting at young ages. This is a great study to understand the effects of overworking an athlete and the knowledge gained can be used to maintain health and well-being.
III. Detailed Summary
As athletes are placed under high demands each day, it becomes far more important to fully recover in order to conserve their health and mental well-being. The authors of this article are focused on finding the relationship between emotional, cognitive and physical demands and how those demands require a match of recovery and sense of break from their sport. Their approach to this test is that of the triple-match principle to help determine if finding ways to negate stress and increase recovery depend the main source to increase their physical and mental health. The results can then be used by sports psychologists, coaches, or even the athletes themselves to successfully recover during a season whether it’s the typical training week or in high competition scenarios since they experience high demands. The study conducts a series of questions and then compares their answers on multiple models to see which fit best and lead to a better outcome for their health. This study was conducted to build off of other studies and their determined theories then compared this studies results as well to provide more evidence backing up their own hypotheses and reasoning’s.
The authors of this Journal Article used a daily diary design. Athletes would answer a series of questions about their emotional, physical, and cognitive states when they woke up and went to bed for an eight day period to test within day recovery. The sample started at seventy-three Dutch athletes, but through the course of the study five failed to meet all the requirements needed to include their data, which led to a total of 68. This occurred during a typical training week for the athletes with some days of practice and other days off for recovery. Athletes would answer a series of questions of one item based or two item based, 7-point Likert scales, and also included their minutes of practice. When it comes to the analytical strategy, in order for the best results they would be analyzed in the triple-match model and the double match model. This also aided in the researchers ability to look at as many interaction effects as possible.
The way this study was conducted led to a numerous amount of results whether they were triple-matched or double matched. A main find was the fact that majority of variance in physical recovery state was due to difference within a person rather than the fact it varied between people. This led to the idea that multiple factors go hand in hand playing a role in the demand and recovery process. The results were then run in multilevel regression models for the answers to each of the hypotheses. Within the physical state recovery there was no evidence that a significant in interaction occurred on the first level regression, however the second regression showed three major interactions. For the cognitive recovery state, neither of the regression levels experienced a significant interaction effect. The emotional recovery state experienced significant interactions within the first multilevel regression, but not in the second regression. And lastly the triple-match hypothesis was supported in the fact that by monitoring the levels of stepping back from sports and a better recovery are common in the triple-match.
The authors at the end of the study were able to conclude many different combinations that led to a healthier lifestyle. It is important to find time to detach from the physical and emotional strains that have been placed on the athletes in order to recover physically, cognitively, and emotionally. The success of the recovery was discovered to rely heavily on targeting the main stressor and detaching from that head on. If the main stressor it mitigated, then all three matches are to recover at a better level, especially the one that may have been the most strained in practice. There turned out to be a positive correlation between physical detachment and recovery, emotional demands were negatively correlated to that of cognitive recovery, whereas the emotional break positively correlated to cognitive recovery. Furthermore, we see there is no correlation of cognitive demands and detachment to the better cognitive recovery. One last major find is that emotional recovery was more successful when there was emotional detachment from the sport compared to emotional demands. Overall the study found that there is a specific way to recover which is imperative for maintained health and well-being in the long run, especially when the demands are high and require more attention.
IV. Critique of Paper
This article out of the Psychology of Sports and Exercise Journal has much strength that enhances the success of their work as well as discovers more relevant information to potentially increase an athlete’s performance. Because of its relevance to sports today and how athletes are under a lot of pressure, this studies purpose is strong in itself. We constantly hear about athlete burnout, overuse injuries and an increase of emotional instability expressed by these athletes derived from the high demands their associations. By looking and listening to the minds of athletes and their feelings after a day of practice or rest, researchers were able to discover what helps an athlete repel those unhealthy stressors and lead to healthier lifestyles. Another major strength this article shows is how researchers considered the effects of different demands and detachments on the recovery levels athletes achieve. Through this, they find the best combinations of what bother athletes most and which matching the coaches or psychology professionals will consider for each athlete. These combinations may seem confusing and may interrupt the data findings. However, the researches strength to combat this issue of reliability and validity was by using different statistical coefficients. In this study they used a Spearman-Brown coefficient to which is used for two-item scales which were used in data collection of physical, emotional, and cognitive demands. To ensure the validity of the detachment factors, researchers solved for the confirmatory factory analysis. These tests strengthened the reliability of their work by not allowing random data to take over and not correlate to the study. With the results of the study, they also discovered the importance of how recovery can be more variable due to the person they and depending on their day-to-day activities through the use of an intra-class coefficient. This allowed researches to focus heavily on the multilevel analysis, meaning they found that cognitive, emotional, and physical all play a role in full recovery.
Although it may seem the authors employed certain approaches to their study to deter limitations, there is still some weaknesses that are apparent in the design and interpretation of results. Since the data from athletes relies heavily on their own answers and time commitment to completing the series of questions, there is the issue of untruthful and justifiable answers. When it comes to studies where the data is from a person directly, there is always a concern that participants alter their answers to either refrain from revealing embarrassing information or think their new answers will benefit the outcome of the study. They believe their truths are not what the researcher wants to hear. Another weakness of the study is the purpose does not include the amount of personal or environmental factors that may cause an inconvenience in the athlete’s life during the week of the study. There could be a personal interruption that is severe in the eyes of the athlete. These factors could add demands on an athlete’s physical, cognitive and/or emotional state on top of their training schedule. Following this, a clear weakness of this study is that the length was quite short for data collection. Some studies can be financially excessive and time consuming, however, simply collecting data in a notebook twice a day does not seem like this would be an issue. The athlete could either be experiencing those outside factors that week or simply be having the best week of their career. These incidents cause variance in the data due to their emotions and cognitive state being slightly altered with other things on their mind. This may also be beneficial if they had taken data not only during a simple practice week but also during a very competitive time in their season to see how competition affects their physical, emotional, and cognitive demands and recovery states.
Are the author’s interpretations justified? Why or why not:
Based on the discussion and conclusion, I believe the author’s interpretations are justified due to the amount of comparisons and statistic tests to ensure validity and reliability of the study. The discussion also spends a lot of time discussing the outcomes based on their hypotheses and how outside factors may be to blame. For their hypothesis one, they may not have found it to be true, but they did determine that demands and recovery can heavily rely on how demanding that specific sport is. Their second hypothesis was also discovered to be false, and they could then see a difference in how cognitive, emotional, and physical detachments and recoveries can also vary based on the type of league they are in, such as a recreational league versus athletes that play for a career. The authors continue with their other two hypotheses to determine that the triple-match principle is best when testing elite athletes because all three demands and recoveries are imperative to the athlete’s well-being. The data heavily justifies each model they tested and interpreted. Also, the interpretations are justified as they provide more reasoning to why a model was tested true or false with very valid answers.
Another reason I find the author’s interpretations justified is because growing up and playing many sports with multiple practices and games, I know there has to be a strain on an athlete when the correct amount of recovery is not achieved. For years I could feel the mental exhaustion from being demanded to practice for hours, train on my own time, spend hours traveling and playing in high intense games and feeling like there was no time to recover with my extracurricular as well. This author’s justification is valid based on the fact that this study could help provide healthier lifestyles for all ages of athletes with their discovery that it is necessary for athletes to take ample time to recover for the better of their emotional, cognitive and physical states.
V. Relevance & Applicability
My organization is the South Eastern Conference (SEC), which is a college association in America primarily containing southern states. This conference has fourteen participating schools with 21 sports, 9 men’s and 12 women’s. The SEC is a very successful organization with many championships in bigger leagues so their athlete’s dedication is very important.
Relevance of Results to your organization:
This study could change the way the SEC treats their athletes. When high school athletes are considering continuing their sports career at the collegiate level, they factor in that it is almost a full time job. A college athlete is expected to pass all their courses and practice multiple times a day, leading to many injuries and mental strain. With the results found in this study, the SEC may see their athletes are placed under far more demands than they are being allowed to detach and recover. Every practice and game puts a physical, mental, and emotional strain on an athlete and with a lack of time to recover; the athlete may experience cognitive and emotional distress, and physical injuries.
How can results be utilized:
Results can be used for a number of reasons with the main being learning how to balance sport demands and detachment to create a healthy lifestyle and well being mentally and physically. If the organization is forced to monitor each athletes practice and play, this studies findings can help explain what recovery process should be followed to rejuvenate the athlete’s well-being. By following these different demand and detachment plans, athletes will experience less emotional, cognitive, and physical stress and possibly lead to increased success on and off the field. The study proves that a variance in recovery is more linked within a person rather than between. With this the school knows each athlete must be separately monitored and kept in shape, also to avoid the athletes mindset of overachieving and even overworking their bodies.
How your idea could be implemented:
Athletes should all have to track and monitor their daily activities to see what amount they should spend detaching from their sport. This could lead to healthier athletes with a more stable lifestyle where sports contain their sanity with all the dedication they put in. The conference should collect their athlete’s data on a regular basis and determine if a coach is fairly training their athletes and allowing recovery, as well as monitor their health. Athletic Trainers should also ensure athletes are filling out their journal entries everyday in order to see the changes in their behaviors.