Unveiling Cognitive Training’s Impact on Soccer Performance

Soccer player undergoing cognitive training, symbolizing MVV journey and memory drill benefits.

Our dedicated team of four embarked on an insightful project, spearheaded by Professor Rudolf Ponds, aiming to understand the role of Cogmed cognitive training in enhancing soccer performance.

Read more: Unveiling Cognitive Training’s Impact on Soccer Performance

Team Dynamics and Research Framework – Part 2

Guided by Professor Ponds, who liaised closely with head coach Tiny Ruijs, our project included PhD student Kay Deckers and Dr. Dymphie in de Braek, both certified Cogmed coaches—a requirement to facilitate Cogmed sessions. While Kay pursued research licenses, my role focused on assessing decision-making enhancement via the LSPT test, assisting where necessary.

Research Design & Execution

We adopted a ‘waitlist control design.’ Players were initially split into two groups: one began the Cogmed Working Memory Training (experimental group), while the other awaited their turn (control group). The research comprised three distinct testing phases. Both groups underwent evaluations using neuropsychological tests (NPOs) and LSPT. After the experimental group’s five-week Cogmed training, post-training measurements were conducted. Subsequently, groups switched roles. This design aimed to ascertain any long-term effects on players.

Setting Expectations and Outcomes

Communicating our vision, we briefed players and the technical team about Cogmed and the intensive journey ahead. Their enthusiasm was palpable, with high hopes of emulating Barcelona’s tiki-taka style and envisioning a triumphant league season.

Being accepted at Maastricht University was personally exhilarating. Collaborating with professional soccer players to assess executive function training’s tangible impact was a privilege. Our project’s primary goal was to gauge if Cogmed training boosts performance in specific and general working memory tasks, daily cognitive functions, and on-field decision-making.

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