Understanding the Presence of Mental Fatigue in Elite Female Football

Chris J. Thompson, Andy Smith, Aaron J. Coutts, Sabrina Skorski, Naomi Datson, Mitchell R. Smith, Tim Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: Previous research investigating the impact of induced mental fatigue in football (soccer) has demonstrated associated performance decrements in physical, technical, tactical and decision-making performance. A common limitation amongst this research is the protocols used to induce mental fatigue which provides low ecological validity, and the inclusion of recreational or sub-elite players. Therefore, understanding the presence of mental fatigue in elite football can provide insight into protocols with greater ecological validity. Methods: The current study used focus groups with 10 elite female football players, focusing on five topics (travel, fixture congestion, receiving tactical information, pre-match routine and pressure to win) related to the perceived causes of mental fatigue in elite football (directed by anecdotal quotes in elite football and research-based theories). Results: Several themes emerged from the data; travel fatigue, inability to switch off from football, fatigue experienced following team meetings, use of pre-match music and internal pressure to succeed. Conclusion: These findings present practical recommendations to reduce mental fatigue in elite football settings, such as considering the timing, content and duration of team meetings, providing players with free time/rest where possible, and considering the modality of coaching instructions during matches.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalResearch Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
Early online date15 Oct 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Nephrology
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • General Medicine

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