Changes in perceptions of mental fatigue during a season in professional under-23 English Premier League soccer players

Will Abbott, Thomas E. Brownlee, Robert Naughton, Thomas Clifford, Richard Page, Liam Harper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The present study assessed changes in academy soccer players’ perception of mental fatigue (MF) across a competitive season, investigating the relationship between MF and other subjective measures of wellness. Ten players completed a modified Brief Assessment of Mood (BAM+) questionnaire that included the question: ‘How mentally fatigued do you feel’? on match-day (MD) and one (MD+1), two (MD+2) and three (MD+3) days post-match (35 matches). Players reported their MF, along with other subjective measures (sleep, muscle soreness, fatigue and motivation). Results found MF was elevated on MD+1 (43±1 mm) compared to all other days (all P≤0.001). Players reported lower MF on MD+1 in the late-season phase (34±2 mm) compared to both early- (50±2 mm, P≤0.001) and mid-season (46±2 mm, P≤0.001). This coincided with an 80%-win rate in the late-season phase versus the early- (33%) and mid-season (50%). There were very strong repeated-measures correlations between changes in MF and sleep (r=-0.77), muscle soreness (r=0.94), fatigue (r=0.92) and motivation (r =-0.89; all P≤0.0005). In conclusion, MF was closely aligned to match success and other wellness variables. This data suggests a potential lack of sensitivity for identifying MF using a subjective questionnaire. Therefore, researchers and practitioners could work together to identify other ways of practically assessing MF.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch in Sports Medicine
Early online date30 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Jun 2020

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