The Effect of Mental Fatigue on Soccer-specific Skill Related Fitness, Endurance and Technical Performance.
Tolson, Joseph Mark
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the effect of mental fatigue on soccer-specific physical and technical performance and also the effect on soccer-specific skill related fitness. The method incorporated a repeated measures, cross over design measuring data collection over two separate time-points. 10 soccer players all of a semi-professional standard and above were assessed for soccer-specific physical performance, using the Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test level 1 (Yo-Yo IR1) and technical performance using the Loughborough soccer passing test (LSPT). Soccer-specific agility performance was assessed using the agility T-test. Each participant completed each test on two separate occasions and preceded in a randomised, counterbalanced order, by 30 min of either the N-back task or 30 min of leisurely browsing the internet/social media. Subjective ratings of mental fatigue were recorded before and after treatment using a 100mm visual analogue scale (100mm-VAS). Distance run and total energy expenditure were recorded during the Yo-Yo IR1, energy expenditure being recorded using Sensewear armbands. LSPT was calculated by adding completion time to penalty second time to give an overall time. Results found that subjective ratings of mental fatigue increased after the mentally fatiguing treatment (N-Back task) in all participants (P<0.001). This effect of mental fatigue significantly reduced running distance during the Yo-Yo IR1 (P<0.001) and energy expenditure (P<0.05). The effect on energy expenditure was less significant than running distance which suggests this may not be correlated with Yo-Yo IR1 performance. LSPT performance time was not significantly different between conditions, however penalty second time did significantly increase in the mental fatigue condition (P=0.03). Conclusions are that mental fatigue impairs soccer-specific technical and physical performance, but not soccer-specific skill related fitness.
BSc (Hons) Psychology
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