The current study examined differences in heart rate variability (HRV) across student-athletes of different eligibility classifications and analyzed differences in HRV when competing at home or away. Fourteen female collegiate volleyball players volunteered for the study. Data collection encompassed an entire collegiate season, with comparisons in HRV made between home and away games, as well as pre-gameday, gameday, and post-gameday recordings for the whole squad. Comparisons were also made between student-athlete eligibility classification, with self-reported measures of sleep quality, fatigue, muscle soreness, stress, and mood recorded at the time of HRV measurement. Freshman athletes reported a significantly (p< 0.05, η2 = 0.17) lower HRV (80.3 ± 9.7) compared to sophomore (85.7 ± 7.2), junior (91.2 ± 8.3), and senior (86.5 ± 7.2) athletes, while junior athletes had a significantly higher HRV when compared to sophomore and senior athletes. All athlete classifications reported similar HRV for home and away games, and there was no difference in HRV for any athlete classification group when comparing pre-gameday, gameday, and post-gameday measures. Freshman athletes reported significantly (p< 0.05, η2 = 0.23) worse mood states compared to the other eligibility classifications, while self-reported stress was significantly (p< 0.05) worse in junior and senior athletes. Results suggest that monitoring the workload of student-athletes based on their eligibility classification holds merit. Collegiate coaching and support staff should be aware of the academic and competitive demands placed on their student-athletes. In particular, freshman athletes adjusting to the increased demands placed on them as collegiate student-athlete may warrant additional support.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation