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Psychological factors and future performance of football players: a systematic review with meta-analysis

Ivarsson, Andreas; Kilhage-Persson, Amanda; Martindale, Russell; Priestley, David; Huijgen, Barbara; Ardern, Clare; McCall, Alan


Andreas Ivarsson

Amanda Kilhage-Persson

David Priestley

Barbara Huijgen

Clare Ardern


Objectives: This systematic review had 3 key objectives: (1) to investigate whether psychological factors were associated with future football performance ( e.g., progression to professional football, better game statistics during the next season); (2) to critically review the methodological approaches used in the included studies and summarize the evidence for the current research question; (3) to provide guidelines for future studies.

Design: Systematic Review

Methods: Electronic databases (SPORTDiscus, PubMed and PsycINFO) and previously published systematic and scoping reviews were searched. Only prospective studies were considered for inclusion.

Eleven published studies that reported 39 effect sizes were included. Psychological factors; task orientation, task-oriented coping strategies and perceptual-cognitive functions had small effects on future performance in football (ds = 0.20-0.29). Due to high risk of bias there were low certainty of evidence for psychological factors relationship with future football performance.

Conclusions: Psychological factors investigated showed small effects on future football performance, however, there was overall uncertainty in this evidence due to various sources of bias in the included studies. Therefore psychological factors cannot be used as a sole deciding factor in player recruitment, retention, release strategies, however it would appear appropriate to include these in the overall decision-making process. Future, studies with more appropriate and robust research designs are urgently needed to provide more certainty around their actual role.

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Oct 26, 2019
Online Publication Date Nov 1, 2019
Publication Date 2020-04
Deposit Date Nov 4, 2019
Publicly Available Date Nov 2, 2020
Print ISSN 1440-2440
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 3
Issue 4
Article Number 415-420
Keywords Football success, Performance, Psychology
Public URL


Predictive Ability Of Psychological Factors With Future Performance Of Football Players: A Systematic Review With Meta-analysis (205 Kb)

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