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Understanding the presence of mental fatigue in English academy soccer players

Thompson, Chris J.; Noon, Mark; Towlson, Chris; Perry, John; Coutts, Aaron J.; Harper, Liam D.; Skorski, Sabrina; Smith, Mitchell R.; Barrett, Steve; Meyer, Tim


Chris J. Thompson

Mark Noon

John Perry

Aaron J. Coutts

Liam D. Harper

Sabrina Skorski

Mitchell R. Smith

Steve Barrett

Tim Meyer


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, 38(13), 1524-1530.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 13, 2020
Online Publication Date Mar 25, 2020
Publication Date Jul 2, 2020
Deposit Date Oct 24, 2020
Publicly Available Date Mar 26, 2021
Journal Journal of Sports Sciences
Print ISSN 0264-0414
Electronic ISSN 1466-447X
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 38
Issue 13
Pages 1524-1530
Keywords Mental fatigue; Soccer; Academy
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Additional Information Peer Review Statement: The publishing and review policy for this title is described in its Aims & Scope.; Aim & Scope:; Accepted: 2020-02-13; Published: 2020-03-25


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Copyright Statement
©2020 The authors. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder

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