Brain endurance training improves shot speed and accuracy in grassroots padel players

J Sci Med Sport. 2023 Jul;26(7):386-393. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2023.06.002. Epub 2023 Jun 12.


Objectives: Evidence that mental fatigue impairs sport performance has created a demand for countermeasures. We examined the effects of brain endurance training, a form of fatigue-inoculation, on shot performance in grassroots padel players.

Design: A pre-, mid- and post-test design, with participants randomized to brain endurance training (n = 30) or control (n = 31) groups.

Methods: During testing, participants completed a Padel Stroke Performance Test, before and after a demanding 30-min cognitive task (Stroop). Training comprised 3 sessions/week for 6 weeks. In each training session, participants completed 10-min warm-up, 15-min technical drills, 15-min tactical drills, and 20-min simulated games. These physical activities were intermixed with short 4-min periods of Stroop (brain endurance training group) or rest (control group) totaling 20-min. Performance was measured by shot speed and accuracy of padel strokes. Mental fatigue indices were measured before and after the Stroop task using a visual analog scale rating, a psychomotor vigilance task, and a go/no-go task.

Results: During testing, the 30-min Stroop task elicited a state of mental fatigue, confirmed by higher subjective ratings, slower responses during the psychomotor vigilance task, and slower saccade latencies during the go/no go task. Compared to pre-testing, in mid- and post-testing, the brain endurance training group hit progressively faster and more accurate padel shots after the Stroop task compared to controls.

Conclusions: Brain endurance training enhanced skill-based psychomotor performance when fatigued compared to standard padel training. Brain endurance training is a countermeasure that promotes mental fatigue durability.

Keywords: Cognitive load; Fatigue inoculation; Psychomotor performance; Racket sport.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Performance* / physiology
  • Brain
  • Endurance Training*
  • Humans
  • Mental Fatigue
  • Psychomotor Performance