What is mental fatigue in elite sport? Perceptions from athletes and staff
Published on May 13, 2019in European Journal of Sport Science 2.38
· DOI :10.1080/17461391.2019.1618397
AbstractMental fatigue is a psychobiological state caused by prolonged periods of demanding cognitive activity shown to negatively influence physical performance. Variation exists across the literature regarding the manifestations and impact of mental fatigue; with little knowledge of the domain-specific manifestations in elite sport. The difficulties in defining mental fatigue may explain why it is not consistently assessed by coaching or support staff. The aim of this study was therefore to investigate athlete and staff understandings of mental fatigue in elite sport. Nine focus group discussions were conducted involving a total of 32 athletes (n = 17) and staff (n = 15) from elite sporting organisations. Athletes and staff believe mental fatigue negatively impacts sporting performance. Analysis revealed perceived associations between mental fatigue and changes in behaviour including, disengagement, decreased motivation and enthusiasm, increased displays of emotion and withdrawal. Changes in concentrati...