The current study examined differences in heart rate (HR) variability (HRV) across student-athlete eligibility classifications within a men’s soccer team. The study also aimed to identify any differences in HRV while competing at home or away. Data collection covered an entire collegiate season, commencing in the preseason and concluding upon elimination from the NCAA Soccer tournament. Comparisons of HR and HRV, paired with self-reported subjective measures, were documented between student-athlete eligibility classifications, home versus away games, and based on soccer position (forward, midfielder, defender, goalkeeper). HR and HRV were similar based on student-athlete eligibility. Heart rate exhibited a small, but statistically significant decrease (β = −1.7 bpm (95% CI: −2.9, 0.57), p = 0.003) for the away games relative to home. HRV showed a statistically significant increase in the away game setting (β = 2.1 (95% CI: 0.78, 3.38), p = 0.002). No difference in HRV was observed across eligibility classification. This lack of difference may be attributed to a different perception of stress amongst male athletes. Athletes also exhibited a reduced HRV at home, likely as an indication of their readiness to compete paired with an increased self-confidence, given there was no difference in any subjective measures of mood or stress or between games played away or at home.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation