SPORT PRACTICE AND IMPROVEMENT IN EXECUTIVE FUNCTION

Nicola Lovecchio

Abstract


The executive functions refer to a family of top-down mental processes that intervene when a subject must focus and pay attention, or when relying on instinct or intuition is insufficient, or impossible to maintain. Recently, an increasing number of studies aimed to investigate further associations between exercise and cognitive and executive functions. Although, existing evidence has revealed that fitness and exercise have important relationships with multiple aspects of cognitive functions, studies also suggest that the beneficial effects of exercise are larger and more solid for executive functions. Consequently, this brief report tried to define robust and wide accepted relations between sport practice, improvement in executive functions, and, in turn, better academic achievement. The findings suggest that elite athletes in open skills sports display more beneficial executive functions in comparison to elite athletes in closed skills sports. Mixed skills would seem to improve executive functions less than open skills but more than closed skills. Also, executive functions improve mathematics and geometry performance. With respect to physical fitness, athletes must consistently perform highly complex or difficult tasks to acquire sport success and must also maintain optimal mental state to ensure the best possible performance. From this sport advantage, constant practice leads to improved cognitive performance.


Parole chiave


Funzioni Esecutive, risultati scolastici, abilità di situazione, abilità di prestazione, sport

Full Text

PDF

Riferimenti bibliografici


Aarnoudse-Moens, C. S. H., Weisglas-Kuperus, N., Duivenvoorden, H. J., Oosterlaan, J., & Van Goudoever, J. B. (2013). Neonatal and parental predictors of executive function in very preterm children. Acta Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics, 102(3). https://doi.org/10.1111/apa.12101

Åberg, M. A. I., Pedersen, N. L., Torén, K., Svartengren, M., Bäckstrand, B., Johnsson, T., Cooper-Kuhn, C. M., Åberg, N. D., Nilsson, M., & Kuhn, H. G. (2009). Cardiovascular fitness is associated with cognition in young adulthood. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(49). https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0905307106

Alves, H., Voss, M. W., Boot, W. R., Deslandes, A., Cossich, V., Salles, J. I., & Kramer, A. F. (2013). Perceptual-cognitive expertise in elite volleyball players. Frontiers in Psychology, 4(MAR). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00036

Ballester, R., Huertas, F., Pablos-Abella, C., Llorens, F., & Pesce, C. (2019). Chronic participation in externally paced, but not self-paced sports is associated with the modulation of domain-general cognition. European Journal of Sport Science, 19(8). https://doi.org/10.1080/17461391.2019.1580318

Becker, D. R., McClelland, M. M., Geldhof, G. J., Gunter, K. B., & MacDonald, M. (2018). Open-Skilled Sport, Sport Intensity, Executive Function, and Academic Achievement in Grade School Children. Early Education and Development, 29(7). https://doi.org/10.1080/10409289.2018.1479079

Bergman Nutley, S., Söderqvist, S., Bryde, S., Thorell, L. B., Humphreys, K., & Klingberg, T. (2011). Gains in fluid intelligence after training non-verbal reasoning in 4-year-old children: A controlled, randomized study. Developmental Science, 14(3). https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-7687.2010.01022.x

Bialystok, E., & Viswanathan, M. (2009). Components of executive control with advantages for bilingual children in two cultures. Cognition, 112(3). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2009.06.014

Booth, J. N., Tomporowski, P. D., Boyle, J. M., Ness, A. R., Joinson, C., Leary, S. D., & Reilly, J. J. (2013). Associations between executive attention and objectively measured physical activity in adolescence: Findings from ALSPAC, a UK cohort. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 6(3). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mhpa.2013.09.002

Burgess, P. W., & Simons, J. S. (2012). Theories of frontal lobe executive function: Clinical applications. In The Effectiveness of Rehabilitation for Cognitive Deficits. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198526544.003.0018

Cappuccio, M. (2019). Handbook of Embodied Cognition and Sports Psychology. In MIT Press (Vol. 53, Issue 9).

Chaddock, L., Hillman, C. H., Buck, S. M., & Cohen, N. J. (2011). Aerobic fitness and executive control of relational memory in preadolescent children. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 43(2). https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181e9af48

Chan, J. S. Y., Wong, A. C. N., Liu, Y., Yu, J., & Yan, J. H. (2011). Fencing expertise and physical fitness enhance action inhibition. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 12(5). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2011.04.006

Collins, A., & Koechlin, E. (2012). Reasoning, learning, and creativity: Frontal lobe function and human decision-making. PLoS Biology, 10(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1001293

Cona, G., Cavazzana, A., Paoli, A., Marcolin, G., Grainer, A., Bisiacchi, P. S., & Di Pellegrino, G. (2015). It’s a matter of mind! Cognitive functioning predicts the athletic performance in ultra-marathon runners. PLoS ONE, 10(7). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0132943

Davis, C. L., Tomporowski, P. D., McDowell, J. E., Austin, B. P., Miller, P. H., Yanasak, N. E., Allison, J. D., & Naglieri, J. A. (2011). Exercise Improves Executive Function and Achievement and Alters Brain Activation in Overweight Children: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Health Psychology, 30(1). https://doi.org/10.1037/a0021766

Diamond, A. (2013). Executive functions. Annual Review of Psychology, 64, 135–168. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-psych-113011-143750

Diamond, A., & Lee, K. (2011). Interventions shown to aid executive function development in children 4 to 12 years old. In Science (Vol. 333, Issue 6045). https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1204529

Diamond, A., & Ling, D. S. (2016). Conclusions about interventions, programs, and approaches for improving executive functions that appear justified and those that, despite much hype, do not. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2015.11.005

Engel, de A., Abreu, N., Nikaedo, C., Puglisi, M. L., Tourinho, C. J., Miranda, M., Befi-Lopes, D., Bueno, O. F. A., & Martin, R. (2014). Executive Functioning and Reading Achievement in School. Frontiers in Psychology, 5.

Erickson, K. I., & Kramer, A. F. (2009). Aerobic exercise effects on cognitive and neural plasticity in older adults. In British Journal of Sports Medicine (Vol. 43, Issue 1). https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.2008.052498

Ferrer, E., Shaywitz, B. A., Holahan, J. M., Marchione, K., & Shaywitz, S. E. (2010). Uncoupling of reading and iq over time: Empirical evidence for a definition of dyslexia. Psychological Science, 21(1). https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797609354084

Furley, P., & Memmert, D. (2013). “Whom Should I Pass To?” The More Options the More Attentional Guidance from Working Memory. PLoS ONE, 8(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0062278

Gerst, E. H., Cirino, P. T., Fletcher, J. M., & Yoshida, H. (2017). Cognitive and behavioral rating measures of executive function as predictors of academic outcomes in children. Child Neuropsychology, 23(4). https://doi.org/10.1080/09297049.2015.1120860

Gray, S. A., Rogers, M., Martinussen, R., & Tannock, R. (2015). Longitudinal relations among inattention, working memory, and academic achievement: Testing mediation and the moderating role of gender. PeerJ, 2015(5). https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.939

Gu, Q., Zou, L., Loprinzi, P. D., Quan, M., & Huang, T. (2019). Effects of open versus closed skill exercise on cognitive function: A systematic review. In Frontiers in Psychology (Vol. 10, Issue JULY). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01707

Holfelder, B., Klotzbier, T. J., Eisele, M., & Schott, N. (2020). Hot and Cool Executive Function in Elite- and Amateur- Adolescent Athletes From Open and Closed Skills Sports. Frontiers in Psychology, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00694

Huang, T., Larsen, K. T., Ried-Larsen, M., Møller, N. C., & Andersen, L. B. (2014). The effects of physical activity and exercise on brain-derived neurotrophic factor in healthy humans: A review. In Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports (Vol. 24, Issue 1). https://doi.org/10.1111/sms.12069

Huijgen, B. C. H., Leemhuis, S., Kok, N. M., Verburgh, L., Oosterlaan, J., Elferink-Gemser, M. T., & Visscher, C. (2015). Cognitive functions in elite and sub-elite youth soccer players aged 13 to 17 years. PLoS ONE, 10(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0144580

Im-Bolter, N., Johnson, J., & Pascual-Leone, J. (2006). Processing limitations in children with specific language impairment: The role of executive function. Child Development, 77(6). https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2006.00976.x

Jacobson, J., & Matthaeus, L. (2014). Athletics and executive functioning: How athletic participation and sport type correlate with cognitive performance. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 15(5). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2014.05.005

Jansen, P., & Lehmann, J. (2013). Mental rotation performance in soccer players and gymnasts in an object-based mental rotation task. Advances in Cognitive Psychology, 9(2). https://doi.org/10.2478/vl0053-008-0135-8

Kamijo, K., Pontifex, M. B., O’Leary, K. C., Scudder, M. R., Wu, C. T., Castelli, D. M., & Hillman, C. H. (2011). The effects of an afterschool physical activity program on working memory in preadolescent children. Developmental Science, 14(5). https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-7687.2011.01054.x

Klingberg, T. (2010). Training and plasticity of working memory. In Trends in Cognitive Sciences (Vol. 14, Issue 7). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2010.05.002

Koch, P., & Krenn, B. (2021). Executive functions in elite athletes – Comparing open-skill and closed-skill sports and considering the role of athletes’ past involvement in both sport categories. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 55. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2021.101925

Kovács, Á. M., & Mehler, J. (2009). Cognitive gains in 7-month-old bilingual infants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(16). https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0811323106

Kramer, A. F., & Erickson, K. I. (2007). Capitalizing on cortical plasticity: influence of physical activity on cognition and brain function. In Trends in Cognitive Sciences (Vol. 11, Issue 8). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2007.06.009

Krenn, B., Pernhaupt, N., & Handsteiner, M. (2017). Do red and blue uniforms matter in football and handball penalties? Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 16(4).

Lakes, K. D., & Hoyt, W. T. (2004). Promoting self-regulation through school-based martial arts training. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 25(3). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2004.04.002

Lehto, J. E., Juujärvi, P., Kooistra, L., & Pulkkinen, L. (2003). Dimensions of executive functioning: Evidence from children. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 21(1). https://doi.org/10.1348/026151003321164627

Lovecchio, N., Manes, G., Filipas, L., Giuriato, M., Torre, A. La, Iaia, F. M., & Codella, R. (2021). Screening Youth Soccer Players by Means of Cognitive Function and Agility Testing. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 128(6). https://doi.org/10.1177/00315125211040283

Lundgren, T., Näslund, M., Högman, L., & Parling, T. (2016). Preliminary investigation of executive functions in elite ice hockey players. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 10(4). https://doi.org/10.1123/jcsp.2015-0030

Lunt, L., Bramham, J., Morris, R. G., Bullock, P. R., Selway, R. P., Xenitidis, K., & David, A. S. (2012). Prefrontal cortex dysfunction and “Jumping to Conclusions”: Bias or deficit? Journal of Neuropsychology, 6(1). https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1748-6653.2011.02005.x

Mackey, A. P., Hill, S. S., Stone, S. I., & Bunge, S. A. (2011). Differential effects of reasoning and speed training in children. Developmental Science, 14(3). https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-7687.2010.01005.x

Mann, D. Y., Williams, A. M., Ward, P., & Janelle, C. M. (2007). Perceptual-cognitive expertise in sport: A meta-analysis. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 29(4). https://doi.org/10.1123/jsep.29.4.457

Marques, A., Santos, D. A., Hillman, C. H., & Sardinha, L. B. (2018). How does academic achievement relate to cardiorespiratory fitness, self-reported physical activity and objectively reported physical activity: A systematic review in children and adolescents aged 6-18 years. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 52(16), 1039. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2016-097361

Miller, E. K., & Cohen, J. D. (2001). An integrative theory of prefrontal cortex function. In Annual Review of Neuroscience (Vol. 24). https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.neuro.24.1.167

Miyake, A., Friedman, N. P., Emerson, M. J., Witzki, A. H., Howerter, A., & Wager, T. D. (2000). The Unity and Diversity of Executive Functions and Their Contributions to Complex “Frontal Lobe” Tasks: A Latent Variable Analysis. Cognitive Psychology, 41(1). https://doi.org/10.1006/cogp.1999.0734

Mulder, R., Murray, G., & Rucklidge, J. (2017). Common versus specific factors in psychotherapy: opening the black box. In The Lancet Psychiatry (Vol. 4, Issue 12). https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(17)30100-1

Pascual, A. C., Moyano, N., & Robres, A. Q. (2019). The relationship between executive functions and academic performance in primary education: Review and meta-analysis. In Frontiers in Psychology (Vol. 10, Issue JULY). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01582

Schmidt, M., Jäger, K., Egger, F., Roebers, C. M., & Conzelmann, A. (2015). Cognitively engaging chronic physical activity, but not aerobic exercise, affects executive functions in primary school children: A group-randomized controlled trial. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 37(6). https://doi.org/10.1123/jsep.2015-0069

Singer, R. N. (2000). Performance and human factors: Considerations about cognition and attention for self-paced and externally-paced events. Ergonomics, 43(10). https://doi.org/10.1080/001401300750004078

TD., S., & Lee, R. A. (2005). Motor Control and Learning: A behavioural Emphasis. In Human Kinetics.

Verburgh, L., Scherder, E. J. A., Van Lange, P. A. M., & Oosterlaan, J. (2014). Executive functioning in highly talented soccer players. PLoS ONE, 9(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0091254

Vestberg, T., Gustafson, R., Maurex, L., Ingvar, M., & Petrovic, P. (2012). Executive functions predict the success of top-soccer players. PLoS ONE, 7(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0034731

Voss, M. W., Nagamatsu, L. S., Liu-Ambrose, T., & Kramer, A. F. (2011). Exercise, brain, and cognition across the life span. Journal of Applied Physiology, 111(5), 1505–1513. https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00210.2011

Wang, C. H., Chang, C. C., Liang, Y. M., Shih, C. M., Chiu, W. S., Tseng, P., Hung, D. L., Tzeng, O. J. L., Muggleton, N. G., & Juan, C. H. (2013). Open vs. Closed Skill Sports and the Modulation of Inhibitory Control. PLoS ONE, 8(2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0055773

Wang, C. H., Chang, C. C., Liang, Y. M., Shih, C. M., Muggleton, N. G., & Juan, C. H. (2013). Temporal preparation in athletes: A comparison of tennis players and swimmers with sedentary controls. Journal of Motor Behavior, 45(1). https://doi.org/10.1080/00222895.2012.740522

Wass, S., Porayska-Pomsta, K., & Johnson, M. H. (2011). Training attentional control in infancy. Current Biology, 21(18). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2011.08.004

Welsh, J. A., Nix, R. L., Blair, C., Bierman, K. L., & Nelson, K. E. (2010). The Development of Cognitive Skills and Gains in Academic School Readiness for Children From Low-Income Families. Journal of Educational Psychology, 102(1). https://doi.org/10.1037/a0016738

Westfall, D. R., Gejl, A. K., Tarp, J., Wedderkopp, N., Kramer, A. F., Hillman, C. H., & Bugge, A. (2018). Associations between aerobic fitness and cognitive control in adolescents. Frontiers in Psychology, 9(AUG). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01298

Willoughby, E. A., Love, A. C., McGue, M., Iacono, W. G., Quigley, J., & Lee, J. J. (2019). Free Will, Determinism, and Intuitive Judgments About the Heritability of Behavior. Behavior Genetics, 49(2). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10519-018-9931-1

Yu, Q., Chan, C. C. H., Chau, B., & Fu, A. S. N. (2017). Motor skill experience modulates executive control for task switching. Acta Psychologica, 180. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2017.08.013




DOI: https://doi.org/10.32043/gsd.v6i1.506

Refback

  • Non ci sono refbacks, per ora.


Copyright (c) 2022 Giornale Italiano di Educazione alla Salute, Sport e Didattica Inclusiva

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.