Badin, OO, Smith, MR, Conte, D & Coutts, AJ 2016, 'Mental Fatigue Impairs Technical Performance in Small-Sided Soccer Games.', International journal of sports physiology and performance, vol. 11, no. 8, pp. 1100-1105.View/Download from: Publisher's site
To assess the effects of mental fatigue on physical and technical performance in small-sided soccer games.Twenty soccer players (age 17.8 ± 1.0 y, height 179 ± 5 cm, body mass 72.4 ± 6.8 kg, playing experience 8.3 ± 1.4 y) from an Australian National Premier League soccer club volunteered to participate in this randomised crossover investigation. Participants played 15-min 5 vs 5 small-sided games (SSG) without goalkeepers on two occasions, separated by 1 wk. Prior to the SSG, one team watched a 30-min emotionally neutral documentary (control), while the other performed 30 min of a computer-based Stroop task (mental fatigue). Subjective ratings of mental and physical fatigue were recorded before and after treatment and following the SSG. Motivation was assessed prior to treatment and SSG; mental effort was assessed after treatment and SSG. Player activity profiles and heart rate (HR) were measured throughout the SSG, while ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were recorded prior to the SSG, and immediately following each half. Video recordings of the SSG allowed for notational analysis of technical variables.Subjective ratings of mental fatigue and effort were higher following the Stroop task, while motivation for the upcoming SSG was similar between conditions. HR during the SSG was possibly higher in the control condition, while RPE was likely higher in the mental fatigue condition. Mental fatigue had an unclear effect on most physical performance variables, but impaired most technical performance variables.Mental fatigue impairs technical, but not physical performance in small-sided soccer games.