Effects of fatigue on soccer performance and the role of task Motivation

Jeroen C.m. Barte, Arne Nieuwenhuys, Sabine A.e. Geurts and Michiel A.j. Kompier

Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

The current study investigates perceived effects of fatigue on different aspects of soccer performance and – in various ways – tested the potential role of task motivation in these effects. Soccer players (N=433) from the highest four divisions in the Netherlands completed a questionnaire. Results showed that players perceive fatigue to negatively affect both general and aspect-specific soccer performance (i.e. perception, tactical decision making, execution, and pacing). However, negative effects of fatigue were perceived to be smaller when task motivation was high. That is, effort investment was reported to be higher during close match scores and the negative impact of fatigue on soccer performance was generally smaller for primary actions than for secondary actions. In conclusion, fatigue is suggested to have widespread effects on different aspects of soccer performance. However, motivational factors may play a central role in determining the magnitude of these effects.

Keywords: Effort, Exertion, Football, Motivation, Skills