Open Communication


“A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.”

The definition of stress doesn’t specify where the strain or tension has to come from to be considered stress on the body. It can come from anywhere. So why do we sometimes only include training stress into the equation? Elite athletes are training 3+ hours a day. That still leaves a lot of the day when you can’t be fully sure if they’re properly preparing for tomorrow.

With technology like HRV and computerized data collection forms, it’s making it a little easier to collect and quantify stress in and outside of training. But sometimes a good ol’ face to face can add a lot of value to those numbers.

In Vancouver, we’ve been using a multi-pronged wellness questionnaire. Every morning, before training, we ask every player about their sleep habits, soreness, energy, etc. Although these answers, alone, do help to quantify their overall readiness, you can tell a lot from the way the athlete answers the questions.

How are they carrying themselves?

Is their voice lively or listless?

Are they attentive or is their mind wandering?

A lot of these things you just can’t find out from a computerized form. Even if you don’t have a survey or a method to collect this information, a simple open-ended question like “How do you feel today?” can open up the conversation for the athlete to share information that they would otherwise keep to themselves.

John Grace

John Grace

Sport Performance Coach at Athletic Lab
John is a Sport Performance Coach at Athletic Lab. He earned his Master's degree from Ohio University in Coaching & Sport Science. John holds his CSCS, USAW-L1, and USATF-L1. He is the former Assistant Fitness Coach of the MLS Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
John Grace


Performance Coach | @ChicagoFire | I tweet about all things sport science, coaching, training, and athlete development.
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