The executive functions

The executive functions

For a long time in sport, the attributes of strength, speed, endurance and technique were considered decisive characteristics that were used to judge talent. In top-class sport, however, it is now the case that many people are similarly good at these skills. That is why cognition has come to the fore.

The difference in information processing speed offers great potential for improvement and is particularly important in football. As a player you always find yourself in pressure situations. In order to free yourself from these, it is important to assess them quickly and correctly. The executive functions are responsible for this.

The executive functions can be divided into three different basic functions:

1. Working memory

The working memory records the information that a player perceives and constantly updates it and combines it with previous experiences. With so many external stimuli, the player has to choose what to focus on.

  • Planned action
  • Reflect on courses of action
  • set goals

2. Inhibition

Inhibition is the suppression of impulses, both emotional and motor. For example, deciding against the planned pass and dribbling due to a new game situation.

  • Control impulses
  • Control frustration
  • set priorities
  • direct attention

3. Cognitive flexibility

Cognitive flexibility describes the interaction between working memory and inhibition. Those who are cognitively flexible do not hold on to decisions they have made, but can change these decisions based on new information.

  • make decisions
  • Setting up for something new
  • Change perspectives

My opponent blocks certain passing routes well. How quickly do I react to this and change my game? Do I learn after two bad passes or only after ten? Anyone who has ever been warned for complaining knows where the inhibition of emotions comes into play in football.

When two players have the same physical characteristics, talent scouts often choose the one who makes the better decisions.

How do I train executive functions?

By combining hats or body colors and changing meanings, players learn to suppress habits and be open to new information. This is exactly the same methodology that can be achieved in training with RESWITCH.

Author: Jonas Kumpan

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