Enhancing Basketball Performance Through Cognitive-Motor Dual-Task Training

Basketball Player Training with Cognitive Tasks

In the competitive arena of semi-elite basketball, the quest for optimal training methods that enhance both athletic and cognitive performance is ongoing.

Read more: Enhancing Basketball Performance Through Cognitive-Motor Dual-Task Training

A significant study titled “Specific effect of a cognitive-motor dual-task training on sport performance and brain processing associated with decision-making in semi-elite basketball players,” by Stefania Lucia, Valentina Bianco, and Francesco Di Russo, published in Psychology of Sport and Exercise, Volume 64, 2023, offers groundbreaking insights into this area.

The Concept of Cognitive-Motor Dual-Task Training (CMDT)

The study explores the effects of CMDT on semi-elite basketball players’ athletic performance and cognitive functions. CMDT, a novel approach, involves simultaneous execution of physical and cognitive tasks, presenting a comprehensive training model. This methodology aims to improve not just physical prowess but also the cognitive skills crucial in sports.

Methodology: A Rigorous Approach

A randomized controlled trial was conducted with 52 young semi-elite basketball players, divided into an experimental group (performing CMDT) and a control group (engaged in standard motor training). The assessment included dribbling tests to evaluate sport-specific performance and a discrimination response task to measure cognitive performance. Additionally, brain activity associated with sensory processing, selective attention, and decision-making was measured using event-related potential (ERP) components.

Key Findings: Beyond Physical Training

The results were revealing. The experimental group showed a 13% greater improvement in basketball-specific performance compared to the control group. Furthermore, they exhibited a 25.8% increase in cognitive task accuracy and a 5.4% improvement in response speed. Notably, while training did not significantly affect sensory processing and attentional processing, decision-making processes were distinctly enhanced by the experimental training.

Implications for Basketball Training

These findings are crucial for the development of training regimens in basketball. They highlight the importance of integrating cognitive tasks into physical training, suggesting that CMDT can lead to superior performance on the court. This holistic approach to training could redefine how athletes prepare, focusing not only on physical skills but also on cognitive abilities.

The Role of Brain Procesasing in Athletic Performance

Significantly, the study sheds light on the neural basis of these benefits. The improvements in decision-making processes, as evidenced by ERP analysis, indicate that CMDT facilitates a faster connection between sensory encoding and response execution. This understanding can help in designing targeted training that enhances the neural mechanisms underlying athletic performance.

Why This Study Matters

In sports like basketball, where split-second decisions can determine the outcome of a game, cognitive abilities are as crucial as physical skills. This research underscores the need for training programs that cater to both aspects, offering a more comprehensive approach to athlete development.


The study by Lucia, Bianco, and Di Russo confirms the effectiveness of CMDT in enhancing both the sport-specific and cognitive performance of basketball players. It opens a new chapter in sports training, emphasizing the role of cognitive functions in athletic excellence. For coaches, trainers, and athletes, this research provides a valuable blueprint for developing training programs that foster both physical and cognitive prowess, ultimately leading to superior performance on the court.


Lucia, S., Bianco, V., & Di Russo, F. (2023). Specific effect of a cognitive-motor dual-task training on sport performance and brain processing associated with decision-making in semi-elite basketball players. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 64, 102302. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2022.102302.

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