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Psych testing of executive functions may predict soccer success

Psych test­ing may pre­dict soc­cer suc­cess (UPI):
– “Psy­cho­log­i­cal test­ing could pre­dict the suc­cess of soc­cer play­ers by mea­sur­ing a cog­ni­tive phe­nom­e­non called “exec­u­tive func­tions,” Euro­pean researchers say.”

- “Sci­en­tists at Sweden’s Karolin­ska Insti­tute say they may have found the psy­cho­log­i­cal key to what has pre­vi­ously been described as “game intel­li­gence” in suc­cess­ful soc­cer players.”

Study: Exec­u­tive Func­tions Pre­dict the Suc­cess of Top-Soccer Play­ers. (PLoS ONE)

Abstract: While the impor­tance of phys­i­cal abil­i­ties and motor coor­di­na­tion is non-contested in sport, more focus has recently been turned toward cog­ni­tive processes impor­tant for dif­fer­ent sports. How­ever, this line of stud­ies has often inves­ti­gated sport-specific cog­ni­tive traits, while few stud­ies have focused on gen­eral cog­ni­tive traits. We explored if mea­sures of gen­eral exec­u­tive func­tions can pre­dict the suc­cess of a soc­cer player. The present study used stan­dard­ized neu­ropsy­cho­log­i­cal assess­ment tools assess­ing play­ers’ gen­eral exec­u­tive func­tions includ­ing on-line multi-processing such as cre­ativ­ity, response inhi­bi­tion, and cog­ni­tive flex­i­bil­ity. In a first cross-sectional part of the study we com­pared the results between High Divi­sion play­ers (HD), Lower Divi­sion play­ers (LD) and a stan­dard­ized norm group. The result shows that both HD and LD play­ers had sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter mea­sures of exec­u­tive func­tions in com­par­i­son to the norm group for both men and women. More­over, the HD play­ers out­per­formed the LD play­ers in these tests. In the sec­ond prospec­tive part of the study, a par­tial cor­re­la­tion test showed a sig­nif­i­cant cor­re­la­tion between the result from the exec­u­tive test and the num­bers of goals and assists the play­ers had scored two sea­sons later. The results from this study strongly sug­gest that results in cog­ni­tive func­tion tests pre­dict the suc­cess of ball sport players.

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