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Sports (Basel). 2019 Apr 18;7(4). pii: E89. doi: 10.3390/sports7040089.

Working Memory Training in Professional Football Players: A Small-Scale Descriptive Feasibility Study-The Importance of Personality, Psychological Well-Being, and Motivational Factors.

Author information

1
Department of Neuropsychology, Maastricht University Medical Centre, 6229 ER Maastricht, The Netherlands. d.indebraek@maastrichtuniversity.nl.
2
Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, School for Mental Health and Neuroscience, Alzheimer Center Limburg, Maastricht University, 6229 ER Maastricht, The Netherlands. kay.deckers@maastrichtuniversity.nl.
3
Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen, Sport en Bewegen, 6503 GL Nijmegen, The Netherlands. timokleinhesselink7@hotmail.com.
4
Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, School for Mental Health and Neuroscience, Alzheimer Center Limburg, Maastricht University, 6229 ER Maastricht, The Netherlands. leonie.banning@maastrichtuniversity.nl.
5
Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, School for Mental Health and Neuroscience, Alzheimer Center Limburg, Maastricht University, 6229 ER Maastricht, The Netherlands. r.ponds@maastrichtuniversity.nl.
6
Department of Medical Psychology, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht and Adelante, Rehabilitation Center, 6432 CC Hoensbroek, The Netherlands. r.ponds@maastrichtuniversity.nl.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Working memory training (WMT) programs can improve working memory (WM). In football players, this could lead to improved performance on the pitch.

METHOD:

Eighteen professional football players of Maatschappelijke Voetbal Vereniging Maastricht (MVV) participated and followed an online, computerized WMT program. Neuropsychological performance, psychological wellbeing, self-efficacy, and football skills (Loughborough Soccer Passing Test; LSPT) were assessed at three time points, before and after WMT and at three-month follow-up. Descriptive data are reported.

RESULTS:

Baseline characteristics were roughly similar for both groups. Participants performed better on the trained WM tasks, but performance for other neuropsychological test measures or the LSPT did not change. Low compliance rates were observed, showing differences in personality and well-being between compliers and non-compliers.

CONCLUSIONS:

WMT is not a feasible and effective strategy to improve non-trained cognitive measures and football performance. However, this study indicates that it is important to take individual characteristics into account.

KEYWORDS:

feasibility; football players; working memory training

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