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Many individuals rely on a morning caffeine boost to kickstart their day; however, recent research indicates that excessive caffeine consumption may have adverse effects. In particular, individuals engaged in sports may compromise their decision-making and problem-solving abilities.

Taking caffeine before a match can enhance passing accuracy

A study conducted by researchers at Staffordshire University (UK) and Shiraz University (Iran) suggests that caffeine negatively impacts soccer players’ decision-making on the field. While pre-game caffeine consumption may enhance the accuracy of passes, it appears to have adverse effects on tactical plays involving more passes.

According to Dr. Pooya Soltani, a senior lecturer in games technology at Staffordshire University Caffeine, a widely-used dietary supplement, has demonstrated positive effects on exercise, particularly in activities like football. Research indicates that caffeine can improve attention, accuracy, speed, and self-reported measures of energy and mood.

The impact of caffeine on cognitive functions like problem-solving and decision-making is a subject of ongoing debate. In response to this, an investigation was conducted to explore these effects.

Twelve young football players (ages 16-17) were involved in a study investigating the impact of caffeine on decision-making and passing accuracy. The participants engaged in tasks, including short and long passes, and took the Loughborough Soccer Passing Test assessing passing, control, dribbling, and decision-making skills. A computer task evaluated decision-making in simulated events.

Caffeine lowers decision making among footballers

Teens underwent tasks after ingesting 3 mg/kg body mass of caffeine and a placebo. Results revealed that athletes exhibited a 1.67% increase in accuracy for short passes and a 13.48% increase for long passes with caffeine compared to the placebo.

After consuming caffeine, participants showed consistent short pass accuracy, but there was variability in long pass performance. Additionally, most participants exhibited lower scores in decision-making and the Loughborough Soccer Passing Test after caffeine intake. This suggests that low doses of caffeine consumed one hour before playing may have a negative impact on more complex tasks involving a higher number of passes, according to Negar Jafari from Shiraz University.