Cognitive training in elite soccer players: evidence of narrow, but not broad transfer to visual and executive function

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Abstract

Visual and executive functions have been suggested to be crucial in high-demanding team sports. Consequently, the interest in evaluating training possibilities of these functions is relatively high. However, easily applicable training tools, as well as evidence of their efficacy, especially in the present group of age (i.e. 17–21 years) and performance level, are scarce. Therefore, the present study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness and transfer of an essential cognitive training tool (i.e. NeuroTracker [NT] three dimensional [3D] multiple-object tracking [MOT]) in youth elite soccer players. Visual and executive functions were analyzed in a pre–post test design with an intervention and a control group after 10 weeks of training twice a week. Physical activity was included as a possible covariate. Results show meaningful benefits in the trained ability (i.e. MOT) besides small but negligible improvements in visual clarity and inhibition for the intervention group. Consequently, strict single-task NT 3D-MOT seems to have little transfer to other visual or executive functions. However, future studies should investigate the effects of sport-specific dual-task NT 3D-MOT to analyze possible multitasking adaptations further.
Translated title of the contributionKognitivesTraining bei Elite-Fußballspielern: Nachweis eines engen, aber nicht breiten Transfers auf visuelle und exekutive Funktionen
Original languageEnglish
JournalGerman Journal of Exercise and Sport Research
Volume51
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)135-145
Number of pages11
ISSN2509-3150
Publication statusElectronically/ online published ahead of print - 05.01.2021

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