Cognitive Training in Football with Colors & Innovative Apps

Football players training using colored cones and the SwitchedOn app.

Have you ever contemplated how colors and technology can influence cognitive training in football? In this enlightening read, we delve deep into the relationship between color-based training methods and cognitive enhancements. Moreover, we spotlight a groundbreaking app that promises to redefine football training sessions.

Read more: Cognitive Training in Football with Colors & Innovative Apps

Colors in Football Training: More Than Just Aesthetic:

The incorporation of varying colors, whether in the form of cones, bibs, headbands, or through tools like SMARTGOALS, is becoming a staple in football practices. Renowned coaches, including the likes of Julian Nagelsmann, are leveraging these techniques to augment the training process. But why? Nagelsmann, a pioneer in innovative drills, emphasizes increasing ‘cognitive speed’. Simply put, he’s not just training players’ legs and feet; he’s focusing on their brains.

The Philosophy Behind the Color-Based Training:

When coaches like Nagelsmann and his former assistant, Alfred Schreuder, implement these methods, they’re aiming to get players to react rapidly to shifting on-field scenarios. A practice drill might involve defenders aiming for different colored goals post turnover. Such dynamic conditions compel players to think continuously, which can be mentally exhausting but incredibly beneficial.

Implicit Learning and External Focus:

There exist multiple learning methodologies. Implicit learning stands out as it leans on unconscious learning via tricks or specific rules. Contrarily, explicit learning revolves around coaches translating the knowledge of a task to its execution. Intriguingly, Dutch researcher Lot Verburgh’s study hints that talented athletes can learn faster through implicit learning methods. An essential element of this learning style is an External Focus, wherein players concentrate on external elements during task execution rather than on their movements.

Harnessing Technology: The SMARTGOALS Perspective:

SMARTGOALS, a revolutionary training tool, has gained immense popularity for facilitating behavior modification in players. By enforcing External Focus, it indirectly encourages players to make choices or execute movements. Although every coach might not have access to advanced tools like SMARTGOALS, employing different colored cones or bibs can effectively guide players during training.

Colors and Creativity: A Deep Dive:

Research suggests colors can have a profound impact on creativity. An experiment showed participants becoming significantly more creative when exposed to conflicting color information. This finding offers an explanation for Schreuder’s training technique where players have to score on goals of varying colors. Such methods force players to step out of their regular thought processes, promoting creativity.

Cognitive Training: The Core of Modern Football:

Terminologies like ‘brain training’, ‘Implicit Learning’, and ‘External Focus’ often emerge under cognitive training’s umbrella. While many coaches unconsciously incorporate aspects of these in regular training – be it by setting additional rules or adjusting the field’s dimensions – being aware of their cognitive implications can significantly uplift training outcomes.

Spotlight on SwitchedOn App:

Before wrapping up, let’s highlight the SwitchedOn app, an innovative tool designed to promote External Focus. By randomly presenting signals on a device, like colors, numbers, or arrows, it pushes users to associate these signals with specific actions or movements. Watch the app’s intriguing trailer here.


Verburgh, L. (2015). Neurocognitive functioning in talented soccer players: A challenge for more sedentary children? 

Zachry, Tiffany & Mercer, John & Bezodis, Neil. (2005). Increased movement accuracy and reduced EMG activity as a result of adopting an external focus of attention. Brain research bulletin. 67. 304-9. 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2005.06.035. 

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