Rushall Thoughts, (1992).

The Daily Analyses of Life Demands for Athletes (DALDA) measures can be used to understand training responses. Since its measures are those of the general response to life stresses of which training is one, it reflects the overall reactions to what is occurring in an athlete's life. If an individual's life style is constant then only changes in training loads will be reflected in the measures because it is the only life style factor that has increased in its stress value.

Perfect overload increments should occur in a step-like fashion. To facilitate the maximum adaptation to stepped overloads, the absolute stress of a training session should be constant. However, as adaptation occurs within a microcycle the perceived stress of training lessens. One would expect that the DALDA symptom measures would gradually decrease during a microcycle because of that phenomenon. Thus, for each microcycle within a window the set of DALDA symptom recordings should decline. With each successive increase in overload when microcycles change, the size of the increases should be the same except for the unloading microcycle. Perfect overload planning would always produce DALDA measures that fall within the window but show phasic declines.

If the DALDA symptom measures do not decline but stay steady or are erratic then that indicates a training program has employed different training stresses. Under such conditions an athlete's adaptation will be far from optimal because of the varying stresses which are presented. In such cases, an athlete's responses will constantly change rather than being refined through familiar adaptation. Constant overload changes violate the principle of specificity and are therefore, of little to no value for an athlete. The DALDA measures reflect a coach's competency for programming training loads for individual athletes. If the DALDA measures are phasic and fall within a window then adaptation is optimal. If they are erratic and display little desirable patterning then the training program can be deemed to be very inefficient.

It is popular to talk of training sessions of varying intensities (e.g., hard, moderate, and light). If varying degrees of training stress are currently in vogue then how can stepped overloads be correct? There is a simple answer to such a question. The reason that varying loadings are required is that incorrect loadings are being used. An excessively hard training session needs to be followed by a light session to allow recovery and prevent excessive fatigue. If that excessive load had not been programmed then it would not have been necessary to use the lighter session. Thus, the use of varied training loads is a result of poor programming and should be avoided.

Implication. The DALDA measures give the coach feedback as to the effectiveness and desirability of overload programming when all other life stresses are normal.


Rushall, B. S. (1990). A tool for measuring stress tolerance in elite athletes. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 2, 51-66.
Rushall, B. S., & Pyke, F. S. (1990). Training for sports and fitness. Melbourne, Australia: Macmillan Educational.
Rushall, B. S.(1988). Daily analyses of life demands for athletes. Sport Science Associates, 4225 Orchard Drive, Spring Valley, CA 91977.

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