Category: Conference

#TrainingLoad16 Videos Now Online

All the videos of the #TrainingLoad16 conference organised in Doha by Aspire Academy’s department of Sports Science are now online and free to access for everyone here.
The conference was a great success and showed how much work has been done in this field as well as how much we need to do in order to provide more and better tools to improve our decision making when planning training activities in different sports.

Below is the video of my talk. Dr. Marco Cardinale (QAT) – Monitoring Athlete Training Loads – The Hows and Whys from Aspire Academy on Vimeo.


Training Load Conference In Aspire

Last week we held a fantastic conference at Aspire: “Monitoring Athlete Training Loads, the Hows and Whys”. We had attendees from all over the World and a pretty amazing line up of speakers, so I considered it a privilege to be able to give an overview of my experiences to the audience in the company of pretty amazing sports scientists.

The opening keynote was provided by Professor Carl Foster who gave an excellent overview of this area starting from his initial papers describing the session RPE method ending to recent papers using mathematical models as well as some aspects about how he sees the future of this field.
3 days full of activities followed with invited speakers, young investigators and free papers. The invited speakers were:
  • Prof. Carl Foster (USA) 
  • Dr. Dave Martin (AUS) 
  • Dr. Stephen Seiler (NOR) 
  • Dr. Bill Sands (USA) 
  • Dr. Darren Burgess (AUS)
  • Prof. Martin Buchheit (FRA)
  • Dr. Marco Cardinale (QAT) 
  • Prof. Aaron Coutts (AUS)
  • Dr. Tim Gabbett (AUS)
  • Assoc. Prof. Inigo Mujika (ESP)
  • Prof. Warren Gregson (QAT) 
  • Dr. Alberto Mendes-Villanueva (QAT)
  • Dr. Michael Kellmann (GER)
  • Mr. Andrew Murray (QAT)
  • Mr. Rod Whiteley (QAT)
  • Dr. Jos J. de Koning (NED)
  • Dr. Matthew Varley (QAT
Training monitoring was discussed within various sporting contexts: individual sports, team sports, combat and acrobatic sports as well as technologies and psychometric tools, mathematical models and injury prevention.
We will provide online access to all the talks of the conference soon on the Aspire Academy website ( and we have agreed to publish a special issue of the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance with all the papers from the conference and mini/extended reviews of this area to make sure that we can capture and disseminate all the knowledge exchanged and acquired over the 3 days.


In summary there was a lot of talk about the simple use of session RPE and how it could be used not only to track training load in many sports but also how it can be used to assess the likelihood of injuries in some sporting groups. Many (myself included) raised some issues with using just this measure as it is strongly biased by training duration and does not provide enough information to be able to change the content of the training. All speakers tended to agree that training monitoring needs an holistic approach with various measures used also according to the sport analysed, and the concept of dose-response it is something we need to revisit as many individual training sessions are prescribed without understanding the responses such sessions trigger. New technologies were discussed in terms of their validity and reliability and it was clear that too many manufacturers are too keen to sell and not keen to make sure their products are valid and reliable as well as having mostly black box approaches in which it is impossible or very difficult to extract raw data for advanced analytical capabilities. Finally, there was a call for standardisation of data collections as even in simple tools like RPE various scales are used also in various languages and not validated which permeate the literature and man felt this makes it difficult to compare studies conducted in various countries. The translation aspect of other psychometric tools was highlighted by Prof. Kellman which clearly stated that literal translation may not be appropriate in some countries as specific terms (and therefore anchors used in psychometric tools) might have a completely different meaning in the sociocultural context in which they are translated from English. Definitively more work is needed to a true international standardisation of many psychometric tools and visual analog scales.
My prezi is available here (no voice):

The conference attracted a lot of interest in social media and was trending on Twitter every single day. I have collected the most significant tweets and reactions in a storify file to facilitate access and it is accessible below.

New season new activities

So, here we are again, after the summer break the new sporting season is about to start in Doha. The development of activities at Aspire academy is now moving faster than ever. We are starting an exciting project with the Qatar Athletics Federation to work closely together to develop talents as well as establish a sustainable structure to integrate coaching, science and medicine. Since September all QAF athletes and coaches will be training at Aspire and we will be working together to realize this vision and be ready for Doha 2019 and beyond. This project really excites me as I can see this being a true legacy project for the state of Qatar and I am proud to be part of it. We are also contributing to the international community with a conference, which has now become an annual event. In fact, after the success of last year’s conference we have organized another event on coaching young athletes with some excellent speakers and are looking forward to welcome all our coaches, and many coaches from around the World to attend as well. The details of the conference are available here. It is a very exciting time for the academy as two of our former students are participating in the World Championships in Beijing and one of them can hopefully bring home a medal (fingers crossed Mutaz and coach Stan!).

Our service delivery to Aspire athletes and coaches keeps improving and we are introducing more detailed monitoring and reporting activities to be able to influence practice and document the coaching approaches being used in our sports. The centralized database has now been implemented and more minimally invasive and wearable technologies  are being developed and deployed to understand more about coaching young athletes. Our applied research activities are continuing and we plan to submit more papers to describe our work as well as challenge current practice on young athletes. I promise to use to blog to keep everyone up to date as well as working with Aspire to communicate through our social media/website channels a bit more about the activities we conduct.

On the science front, we have also decided to make sure we have an annual scientific conference after the success of the Talent ID one we organized last year. This year our focus is on training monitoring and we have some amazing speakers confirmed as well as a great-exciting programme. The conference is completely free and all details are available here.

This is a great opportunity to learn and network as well as a excellent chance to come to visit us, see our wonderful facilities and possibly talk about collaborations and/or bringing your athletes in Doha for training camps.

So, as you can probably gather from my writing, I am looking forward to this sporting season and I hope to meet/see many of you in Doha at one of our events and/or at one of the many international competitions hosted by the state of Qatar.