Athlete Monitoring in American Collegiate Football

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


American football is one of the most popular sports in the United States. However, in comparison to other mainstream sports such as soccer and rugby, there is limited literature using scientific principles and theory to examine the most appropriate ways to monitor the sport. This serves as a barrier to American football practitioners in their development and implementation of evidence-based sport preparation programs. Therefore, the primary aim of this line of research (i.e., dissertation) is to illustrate the efficacy of commonly used athlete monitoring tools within the sport of American collegiate football, while proposing a systematic framework to guide the development of an athlete monitoring program. This aim was achieved through a series of studies with the following objectives: 1) to quantify the physical demands of American collegiate football practice by creating physiological movement profiles through the use of integrated microtechnology metrics and heart rate indices, 2) to determine the positional differences in the physical practice demands of American collegiate football athletes, 3) to examine which integrated microtechnology metrics might be used to most efficiently monitor the training load of American collegiate football athletes, 4) to demonstrate the suitability of using the countermovement jump (CMJ) to assess training adaptations in American collegiate football athletes through examining weekly changes in CMJ performance over the course of two 4-week periodized training blocks (8 weeks total), and 5) to examine the effect of acute fatigue on CMJ performance in American football athletes. The first study from this line of research quantified the physical demands of American collegiate football by position groups and found significant differences in both running based and non-running based training load metrics. In addition, the first study utilized a principal component analysis to determine 5 'principal' components that explain approximately 81% of the variance within the data. The second study utilized a univariate analysis and found significant changes in CMJ performance due the effect of time with significant improvements in CMJ 'strategy' variables over the training period. Finally, the third study used effects sizes to illustrate a larger magnitude of change in CMJ 'strategy' variables than CMJ 'output' variables due to effect of acute fatigue. Results from studies 2 and 3 suggest the importance of monitoring CMJ strategy variables when monitoring training adaptations and fatigue in American collegiate football athletes. This line of research provides practitioners with a systematic framework through which they can develop and implement evidence-based sport preparation programs within their own organizational context. In addition, this line of research provides practitioners with recommendations for which metrics to monitor when tracking training load in American collegiate football using integrated microtechnology. Finally, this line of research demonstrates how to assess training adaptations and fatigue using the CMJ within the sport of American collegiate football, while providing an empirical base through which the selection of CMJ variables can take place. Collectively, this line of research uses scientific principles and theory to extend the current literature in American collegiate football, while providing practitioners with a guide to athlete monitoring within the sport.



athlete monitoring, integrated microtechnology, heart rate, strength training, American football