Research has demonstrated that induced mental fatigue impairs soccer-specific technical, tactical and physical performance in soccer players. The findings are limited by the lack of elite players and low ecological validity of the tasks used to induce mental fatigue, which do not resemble the cognitive demands of soccer. The current study collected survey data from English academy soccer players (n = 256; age groups - U14 – U23), with questions comprising of five themes (descriptors of physical and mental fatigue, travel, education, match-play and fixture congestion). The survey consisted of multiple choice responses, checkboxes and blinded/unblinded (for duration based questions) 0-100 arbitrary unit (AU) slider scales. Listening to music (81.6% of players), using social media (58.3%) and watching videos (34.3%) were the most common pre-match activities. Pre-match subjective mental fatigue was low (18.7±18.8 AU), and most frequently reported at the end of a match (47±26 AU) and remained elevated 24-hours post-match (36±27 AU). Travel (29±24 AU), fixture congestion (44±25 AU) and education (30±26 AU) demonstrated a low to moderate presence of subjective mental fatigue. These findings provide an overview of activities performed by English academy soccer players pre-match, and demonstrate that mental fatigue is experienced as a result of match-play.
Thompson, C. J., Noon, M., Towlson, C., Perry, J., Coutts, A. J., Harper, L. D., ... Meyer, T. (2020). Understanding the presence of mental fatigue in English academy soccer players. Journal of Sports Sciences. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2020.1746597