So you think they are a bunch of dumb jocks?

Topic(s): selection

Topic: Selection
Publication: PLoS ONE (2012)
Article: Executive functions predict the success of top-soccer players
Authors: T. Vestberg, R. Gustafson, L. Maurex, M. Ingvar, & P. Petrovic
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin, M.A.

What do sport announcers mean when they say that an athlete does or does not have the mental game? Personally, I think that announcers use this term as a catch-all to describe any attribute or characteristic that is not physical or visually perceivable.

This vagueness may represent the lack of understanding of the exact mental characteristics and abilities that are necessary for elite sport performance. The exploration of these characteristics and abilities has been limited at best, and more resources are being devoted to formal investigations as of late.

In Sweden, a study was recently published in which the investigators assessed the
cognitive abilities of 57 male and female professional, Swedish soccer players. The cognitive tests measured the ability to visually problem solve in a timed setting, the capacity to inhibit impulses, and the ability to remember visual images and patterns.

It was found that soccer players in the most elite division in Sweden had higher cognitive abilities than players in lower divisions, and that both groups performed better than a control group. Further, a positive correlation between cognitive ability and the number of goals scored was found. In other words, the higher the cognitive ability, the more goals scored, and vice versa.
Employers might want to consider this information when deciding which employees to
select. Though neuropsychological tests can be expensive and cost thousands of dollars for each assessment, the money spent may be less than the money saved. Costs associated with a bad hire include that employee’s salary and the potential decrease in production associated with that employee’s less than stellar performance. After all, an ounce of prevention can be worth more
than a pound of cure.

Vestberg, T., Gustafson, R., Maurex, L., Ingvar, M., & Petrovic, P. (2012). Executive functions predict the success of top-soccer players. PLoS ONE 7(4): e34731. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034731

human resource management, organizational industrial psychology, organizational management


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