Join us as we delve into the world of the St. Mary’s University Women’s Softball team, a renowned force in NCAA Division II. With an impressive track record of victories, St. Mary’s University stands as a pillar of success. If you’re seeking more information about this esteemed institution, refer to our previous blog post on Women’s Softball.
Our aim is to provide valuable insights into the team’s experience with stress and fatigue during training and competition. To accomplish this, we gathered samples from the athletes, capturing their pre and post-spring training states, as well as after a four-game, three-day competition. To ensure consistency, we conducted the sample collection each morning between 7:00 and 7:30 AM, before any strenuous activities commenced. The process of collecting these samples was swift and efficient. It is important to note that these test results are intended solely for educational purposes and are not meant for medical treatment.
Let’s begin by examining the data on fatigue levels. The concept is rather straightforward: a higher value of the fatigue biomarker index indicates a greater degree of fatigue in an individual. Each line presented represents an athlete, and we can observe some interesting patterns.
Typically, the average range of these fatigue values is 2.0, a range commonly seen in professional athletes during periods of rest in the competitive season. However, there are a few athletes who deviate from this average range.
Those athletes with a fatigue value above 2.5 can be considered fatigued, and we note that a few players have experienced this at least once.
Upon careful analysis of the data, we can identify one athlete who consistently displays a pattern of fatigue. Additionally, there are three other athletes who experienced elevated fatigue levels once, specifically at the end of their training. It is plausible that the fatigue experienced by these individuals at the end of training may be attributed to an incidental circumstances rather than a recurring theme of not getting enough rest.
To be honest, I initially anticipated a higher number of athletes with elevated fatigue simply because university students are busy people with competing demands. The fact that high levels were not observed in more athletes is something that we can attribute to achieving a good balance between academics and athletics.
Let’s dive into the next set of collected data, which focuses on muscle stress. At the beginning of training, it is expected that muscle stress would be around 100 in athletic individuals who are not actively engaging in high-intensity workouts. As the training progresses, there is considerable variation in muscle stress levels among the athletes. Following the completion of the 4-game tournament, we observed that a few athletes displayed notably elevated levels of muscle stress, although most of them exhibited lower levels than compared to the end of training.
Upon closer examination, the data clearly indicates that players experienced higher levels of muscle stress during training in comparison to the 4-game competition. One athlete showed a significant increase in muscle stress, while another athlete experienced a slight increase. Interestingly, the two athletes who displayed elevated levels during training demonstrated a remarkable decline in muscle stress by the end of the tournament. Can you guess the positions played by these four athletes? Unsurprisingly, they are all pitchers. The pitcher with the highest increase pitched in three out of the four games during the tournament, while the other athlete who showed an increase only pitched in one game. The remaining two athletes did not pitch at all.
As we conclude this study, I must express my surprise at the relatively low levels of fatigue observed in these athletes. Such levels of fatigue and muscle stress are typically on par with those seen in professional team players. These findings are truly remarkable, and we eagerly anticipate the next stage of our research.