Do executive functions discriminate sports performance in young soccer athletes?


  • Rodrigo Flores Sartori Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul University of Serra Gaúcha, Brazil
  • Daniel Mezavilla University of Serra Gaúcha, Brazil
  • Glauber Carvalho Nobre Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology, Brazil
  • Rochele Paz Fonseca Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil



Executive function, Football, Motor learning, Children


Executive funtions are important for good soccer performance, requiring adaptation to changing environment and quick anticipation of your actions. In our study we sought to compare the ability to design executive functions in soccer athletes and their schoolmates (non-athletes) in a total of eighty pre-adolescents aged 11 and 12 years. The following components were evaluated; inhibitory control, working memory and cognitive flexibility. The analyzes showed differences between the athlete and non-athlete groups in the verbal-auditory inhibitory control, the Odd One Out working memory test and the Trail Making Test. In conclusion, soccer players have better inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility, and working memory than their peers of the same age and school class. This highlights the need for longitudinal studies to further investigate the importance of "higher level" cognitive functions for talent identification, talent development and planning of pedagogical processes in the context of football.


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How to Cite

Sartori, R. F., Mezavilla, D., Nobre, G. C., & Fonseca, R. P. (2020). Do executive functions discriminate sports performance in young soccer athletes?. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, 15(1proc), S84-S93.