Implementing a pressure training program to improve decision-making and execution of skill among premier league academy soccer players

Kent, Sofie, Devonport, Tracey J, Lane, Andrew M and Nicholls, Wendy (2021) Implementing a pressure training program to improve decision-making and execution of skill among premier league academy soccer players. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 34 (4). pp. 691-712. doi:10.1080/10413200.2020.1868618

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Abstract

The present study evaluated the effectiveness of an intervention intended to improve academy players’ performance under pressure. Male academy soccer players (n = 82; mean age =14.12 years, SD = 2.28) completed a baseline pressure task producing performance scores (A) for decision making and skill execution. By completing a pressure task, players received pressure training (PT) (Wood & Wilson, 2012). Players were then randomly allocated to an intervention group (n = 41; receiving PT, three cognitive behavior workshops, and reflective diaries) or comparison group (n = 41; receiving PT only). Sixty-eight players (n = 29; intervention group; n = 39; comparison group) repeated the PT task at a six-week follow up (B), and of these, 26 (n = 15; intervention group; n = 11; PT only) also completed a re-test PT task (A) at 12-week follow up. Due to attrition at follow up, chi-square analysis was conducted across experimental groups A-B only. Analysis indicated intervention players scored significantly higher in their decision-making (p = .028) with a significant main effect of age-group on decision-making (p = .003) and skill execution (p = .005). Four players (highest scoring and lowest scoring player within intervention and comparison groups) from each academy age-group (n = 16) took part in individual interviews to explore intervention effectiveness. Thematic analysis found that some players perceived no benefits of the condition they completed, others perceived benefits to confidence, meta-cognitive skills, and challenge appraisals. Methodological implications for future pressure training interventions are presented.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Coping; Resilience; Mental toughness; Performance intervention
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV557 Sports > GV861 Ball games: Baseball, football, golf, etc.
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Natural, Social and Sports Sciences > Sports Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Health, Life Sciences, Sport and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Rhiannon Goodland
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2021 14:33
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2022 10:25
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/9339

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