Data_Sheet_1_Timing Training in Female Soccer Players: Effects on Skilled Movement Performance and Brain Responses.pdf (96.04 kB)

Data_Sheet_1_Timing Training in Female Soccer Players: Effects on Skilled Movement Performance and Brain Responses.pdf

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posted on 02.08.2018, 04:10 by Marius Sommer, Charlotte K. Häger, Carl Johan Boraxbekk, Louise Rönnqvist

Although trainers and athletes consider “good timing skills” critical for optimal sport performance, little is known in regard to how sport-specific skills may benefit from timing training. Accordingly, this study investigated the effects of timing training on soccer skill performance and the associated changes in functional brain response in elite- and sub-elite female soccer players. Twenty-five players (mean age 19.5 years; active in the highest or second highest divisions in Sweden), were randomly assigned to either an experimental- or a control group. The experimental group (n = 12) was subjected to a 4-week program (12 sessions) of synchronized metronome training (SMT). We evaluated effects on accuracy and variability in a soccer cross-pass task. The associated brain response was captured by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while watching videos with soccer-specific actions. SMT improved soccer cross-pass performance, with a significant increase in outcome accuracy, combined with a decrease in outcome variability. SMT further induced changes in the underlying brain response associated with observing a highly familiar soccer-specific action, denoted as decreased activation in the cerebellum post SMT. Finally, decreased cerebellar activation was associated with improved cross-pass performance and sensorimotor synchronization. These findings suggest a more efficient neural recruitment during action observation after SMT. To our knowledge, this is the first controlled study providing behavioral and neurophysiological evidence that timing training may positively influence soccer-skill, while strengthening the action-perception coupling via enhanced sensorimotor synchronization abilities, and thus influencing the underlying brain responses.

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