Preprint / Version 1

There is no evidence for a far transfer of cognitive training to sport performance


  • Job Fransen Human Movement Sciences, University Medical Centre Groningen



Cognitive Skill Transfer, Learning, Sport Performance, skill acquisition


In this short opinion piece I first introduce the concepts of near and far transfer, as described in the psychological literature. I then use a second-order meta-analysis on cognitive training to evidence that near transfer may be common and relatively easy to achieve, yet achieving far transfer is far less straightforward. Nonetheless, many technologies, tools and methods make larger-than-life claims of encouraging far transfer from cognitive or perceptual-cognitive training to sports performance. In this opinion piece I argument, using evidence from research studies on stroboscopic vision, neurofeedback training and the measurement and development of executive functions, that the claims made for the beneficial effects of these training methods on sports performance, esports performance and football expertise are likely exaggerated. I conclude by reiterating that these claims of far transfer are not substantiated in the scientific literature, and much greater scrutiny of these claims by researchers is needed in order to assist practitioners to make better-informed decisions about tools, methods and technologies that may aid sports performance.


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