Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2024) 23, 276 - 288   DOI: https://doi.org/10.52082/jssm.2024.276

Research article
Effects of 6-Week Motor-Cognitive Agility Training on Football Test Performance in Adult Amateur Players – A Three-Armed Randomized Controlled Trial
David Friebe1, , Winfried Banzer1,5, Florian Giesche1, Christian Haser5, Thorben Hülsdünker3,4, Florian Pfab5, Fritz Rußmann2, Johanna Sieland5, Fabio Spataro2, Lutz Vogt2
Author Information
1 Division of Preventive and Sports Medicine, Institute of Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, Goethe-University Frankfurt/Main, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany
2 Department of Sports Medicine and Exercise Physiology, Goethe University Frankfurt/Main, Germany
3 Department of Exercise and Sport Science, LUNEX International University of Health, Differdange, Luxembourg
4 Luxembourg Health and Sport Science Research Institute (LHSSRI), Differdange, Luxembourg
5 Medical Department Eintracht Frankfurt Soccer AG, Frankfurt/Main, Germany

David Friebe
✉Goethe-University Frankfurt/Main, Theodor-Stern-Kai 7, Haus 9 | 60590 Frankfurt/Main, Germany
Email: friebe@med.uni-frankfurt.de
Publish Date
Received: 12-12-2023
Accepted: 05-03-2024
Published (online): 01-06-2024
 
 
ABSTRACT

Agility, defined as the ability to rapidly respond to unforeseen events, constitutes a central performance component in football. Existing agility training approaches often focus on change of direction that does not reflect the complex motor-cognitive demands on the pitch. The objective of this study is to examine the effects of a novel motor-cognitive dual-task agility training (Multiple-object tracking integrated into agility training) on agility and football-specific test performance parameters, compared to agility and a change of direction (COD) training. Adult male amateur football players (n = 42; age: 27±6; height: 181±7cm; weight: 80±12kg) were randomly allocated to one of the three intervention groups (COD, agility, agility + multiple object tracking). The Loughborough Soccer Passing Test (LSPT), a dribbling test with/without cognitive task as well as the Random Star Run (with/without ball) and the modified T-Test were assessed before and after a 6-week training period. Time effects within the T-Test (F = 83.9; p < 0.001; η2 = 0.68) and dribbling test without cognitive task (F = 23.9; p < 0.001; η2 = 0.38) with improvements of all intervention groups (p < 0.05) were found. Dribbling with cognitive task revealed a time effect (F = 7.8; p = 0.008; η2 = 0.17), with improvements exclusively in the agility and dual-task agility groups (p < 0.05). Random Star Run with and without ball exhibited a time (F = 38.8; p < 0.001; η2 = 0.5; F = 82.7; p < 0.001; η2 = 0.68) and interaction effect (F = 14.14; p < 0.001; η2 = 0.42; F = 27.8; p < 0.001; η2 = 0.59), with improvements for the agility and dual-task agility groups. LSPT showed no time, group or interaction effect. The effects of change of direction training are limited to change of direction and dribbling test performance within preplanned scenarios. In contrast, motor-cognitive agility interventions result in notable enhancements in football-specific and agility tests, incorporating decision-making and multitasking components. No differences were observed between agility and agility + multiple object tracking. To achieve a transfer to game-relevant performance, coaches should focus on integrating cognitive challenges into motor training.

Key words: Cognition, dual task, multiple object tracking, soccer, athlete


           Key Points
  • This study compares the effects of a novel motor-cognitive dual-task agility training (combining agility and multiple object tracking) with an agility and change of direction training on football-specific test performance
  • While effects of the change of direction training are confined to change of direction and dribbling performance under preplanned conditions, motor-cognitive agility interventions led to significant improvements in football-specific and agility tests with decision-making and multitasking components.
  • No differences were observed between agility and agility training with integrated multiple object tracking.
 
 
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