Berglund, B., & Safstrom, H. (1994). Psychological monitoring and modulation of training load of world-class canoeists. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 26(8), 1036-1040.

Elite athletes normally are characterized by a lower total mood score of the POMS, higher vigor, and lower fatigue than in non-athletes. This is often called the "iceberg profile" and has been found in some elite and non-elite athletes. In athletes it is often proposed that a dose-response relationship between training stress and mood state exists. Overstressed athletes have displayed a disturbed POMS test response, the "inverted iceberg profile."

Swedish well-trained and world-class canoeists (M = 9, F = 5) were measured three times in the off-season and weekly during serious training (May until early August, 1992). Total POMS scores were calculated as: Sum the 5 negative measures, subtract vigor, and add 100.

The following were found.

  1. In more than half the athletes, the mood disturbance was lower than expected (basal score + 10%) and so the training load was increased.
  2. The greatest number of Ss exhibiting stress level responses occurred at the end of heavy training with the largest number at any one time being 7 (50%).
  3. The relationship between rating of training load and global POMS was r = .48.
  4. The use of the POMS changed athletes' attitudes toward psychological monitoring, with the total group electing to use it for the next year's training.

Implication. POMS as a measure of training load response may not be as sensitive as commonly espoused when subjects are elite athletes. A low relationship between load (dose) and global POMS scores was revealed in some athletes.

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