The Association between External Training Load, Perceived Exertion and Total Quality Recovery in Sub-Elite Youth Football

José E. Teixeira1, 2, 3, *, Pedro Forte1, 3, 4, Ricardo Ferraz1, 5, Miguel Leal4, Joana Ribeiro4, António J. Silva1, 2, Tiago M. Barbosa1, 3, António M. Monteiro1, 3
1 Research Centre in Sports Sciences, Health and Human Development, 5001-801 Vila Real, Portugal
2 Department of Sports, Exercise and Health Sciences, University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, 5001-801 Vila Real, Portugal
3 Department of Sport Science, Instituto Politécnico de Bragança, 5300-253Bragança, Portugal
4 Department of Sports, Higher Institute of Educational Sciences of the Douro, 4560-708 Penafiel, Portugal
5 Department of Sports Sciences, University of Beira Interior, 6201-001Covilhã, Portugal

Article Metrics

CrossRef Citations:
Total Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 1167
Abstract HTML Views: 602
PDF Downloads: 444
ePub Downloads: 231
Total Views/Downloads: 2444
Unique Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 797
Abstract HTML Views: 443
PDF Downloads: 326
ePub Downloads: 187
Total Views/Downloads: 1753

Creative Commons License
© 2022 Teixeira et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Sport Science, Instituto Politécnico de Bragança, 5300-253 Bragança, Portugal; E-mail:



Moderate to very large correlation between internal training load, external training load, and recovery status have been reported in elite youth football. However, little is known about subelite youth football training environments.


The purpose of this study was to assess the association between training load and recovery status in young subelite football players.


Twenty under-15, twenty under-17, and twenty under-19 players were monitored over a 6-week period during the first month of the 2019-2020 competitive season. The global positioning system technology (GPS) was used to collect external training load variables. The internal training load variables were monitored using the rating of perceived exertion (RPE) scale and session RPE (sRPE). The recovery status was assessed by the total quality recovery (TQR). A total of 18 training sessions and 324 observation cases were collected.


Small to moderate correlation between internal and external load was observed (r = -0.316 to 0.136, p < 0.05). Correlations between recovery status and external load were moderate for U15 (r = -0.326 to -0.240, p < 0.05), U17 (r = -0.316 to 0.136, p < 0.05) and U19 (r = -0.301 to 0.282, p < 0.05). The association between perceived exertion and external training load is only significant for U19 subelite football players.


Current research suggested that subelite youth football players were more likely to have lower capacity to judge training exertion. Additionally, recovery status was positively correlated with acceleration and deceleration movements. This study provides a new overview about training load and recovery in subelite youth training environment. Future researche should examine the between- and within-individual nonlinearity across training load and recovery variations.

Keywords: Monitoring, Workload, Fatigue, Recovery, Youth, Football.