Cognition in soccer and futsal: evidence of validity of a 4-instrument protocol to assess executive functioning among women athletes

Filgueiras, Alberto ORCID: 0000-0002-6668-0606, Stults-Kolehmainen, Matthew, Melo, Gislane and Keegan, Richard (2023) Cognition in soccer and futsal: evidence of validity of a 4-instrument protocol to assess executive functioning among women athletes. BMC Psychology, 11 (1). Art 436. doi:10.1186/s40359-023-01464-0

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Evidence suggests that success in sports, especially soccer and futsal are linked to higher levels of executive functioning. Still, the literature does not present a homogeneous set of instruments to measure executive functions, which leads to large variability in results. In this paper, we assembled four already recognised measures to propose a valid 4-instrument protocol to assess executive functions among soccer and futsal athletes. We conducted two studies to validate the proposed protocol. We addressed known-groups validity and latent structure in Study 1 for data collected on 105 female soccer and futsal athletes from elite and lower-division clubs. Findings pointed to partial validity of the protocol - with working memory and inhibition showing the best results. For Study 2, we used performance data from 51 elite female soccer players collected throughout a season of the first division league to assess predictive validity. Our protocol was able to partially replicate previous findings and added new insights on how working memory, processing speed and higher-level executive functions might play different roles for goalscoring and assist-making skills. Specifically, study 1 did not find a significant difference between elite and lower-division athletes in higher-order executive functions as in previous studies, but it did find on visual working memory and inhibitory control which weights towards higher demands of core executive functions. On the other hand, study 2 yielded significant results for processing speed and visual working memory to predict assists among elite soccer players, but not inhibitory control as previous findings suggested. Regardless, the proposed 4-instrument protocol showed adequate criterion and structural validity in both studies.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sport psychology; Executive functions; Cognition; Sport expertise; Psychometrics
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV557 Sports
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Health, Life Sciences, Sport and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2023 12:55
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2024 08:45

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