Perceptual-cognitive skill and the in situ performance of soccer players

Mariëtte J J van Maarseveen*, Raôul R D Oudejans, David L. Mann, Geert J P Savelsbergh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Many studies have shown that experts possess better perceptual-cognitive skills than novices (e.g., in anticipation, decision making, pattern recall), but it remains unclear whether a relationship exists between performance on those tests of perceptual-cognitive skill and actual on-field performance. In this study, we assessed the in situ performance of skilled soccer players and related the outcomes to measures of anticipation, decision making, and pattern recall. In addition, we examined gaze behaviour when performing the perceptual-cognitive tests to better understand whether the underlying processes were related when those perceptual-cognitive tasks were performed. The results revealed that on-field performance could not be predicted on the basis of performance on the perceptual-cognitive tests. Moreover, there were no strong correlations between the level of performance on the different tests. The analysis of gaze behaviour revealed differences in search rate, fixation duration, fixation order, gaze entropy, and percentage viewing time when performing the test of pattern recall, suggesting that it is driven by different processes to those used for anticipation and decision making. Altogether, the results suggest that the perceptual-cognitive tests may not be as strong determinants of actual performance as may have previously been assumed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-470
Number of pages17
JournalThe Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date21 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


  • Anticipation
  • Decision making
  • Gaze behaviour
  • In situ performance
  • Pattern recall


Dive into the research topics of 'Perceptual-cognitive skill and the in situ performance of soccer players'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this