Background: The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of mental fatigue (MF) on the psychophysiological and cognitive responses and technical skills in small-sided games (SSGs) in amateur soccer players. Material and Methods: 18 soccer players played 2vs2, 3vs3, and 4vs4 SSGs under 2 different playing conditions: MF+SSGs and SSGs. The Feeling Scale (FS), Felt Arousal Scale (FAS), Visual Analogue Scale-Anxiety (VAS-A) and Motivation (MTV) were determined after each SSGs bout. A Trail-Making Test (TMT) was also determined in the beginning and at the end of each SSGs. Technical performance was continuously recorded with a camera during all SSGs. Results: The results demonstrated that MF induced higher negative psychophysiological and cognitive responses (p≤0.05, d=ranging from 0.73 to 2.78) in 2vs2 and 3vs3 SSGs compared to 4vs4 SSGs except for VAS-A and MTV responses. Furthermore, the MF intervention also induced an adverse effect on technical skills (p≤0.05, d=ranging from 0.65 to 2.50) in 2vs2 and 3vs3 SSGs compared to 4vs4 SSGs except for interception, tackle and two touches skills. Conclusions: These findings showed that MF impacted the psychophysiological and cognitive responses, and technical skills during SSGs. Coaches should take MF into account before planning SSGs.



Author ORCID Identifier

Yusuf Soylu ORCID 0000-0003-0609-0601; Ersan Arslan ORCID 0000-0002-2933-6937