The effects of exercise difficulty and time-of-day on the perception of the task and soccer performance in child soccer players

Liwa Masmoudi, Adnene Gharbi, Cyrine H’mida, Khaled Trabelsi, Omar Boukhris, Hamdi Chtourou, Mohamed Amine Bouzid, Cain C.T. Clark, Nizar Souissi, Thomas Rosemann, Beat Knechtle

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)
    53 Downloads (Pure)


    In soccer, accurate kicking skills are important determinants of successful performance. A successful kick must meet several criteria, including speed, accuracy, and timing. In fact, players who are able to kick the ball more accurately under various difficulties, such as time pressure, space constraints, the opponent’s pressure, and the distance between the kicking point and the goal, have a clear advantage during soccer games. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of exercise difficulty and time-of-day on perceived task difficulty and kicking performance. Accordingly, 32 boys (age: 11 ± 0.7 years; height: 1.45 ± 0.07 m; body-mass: 38.9 ± 7.8 kg) performed shooting accuracy tests under two difficulty levels (distance (long-distance (LD) vs. short-distance (SD)) and time pressure (Without-time-pressure (WTP) vs. With-time-pressure (TP)) at 08:00 h and 17:00 h. Absolute-error, variable-error, and constant-error were evaluated during the kicking tasks, in addition to ball velocity and shooting quality. Moreover, rating-of-perceived-exertion score (RPE), feeling-scale (FS), and perceived difficulty were completed immediately at the end of each test. The results showed that shooting quality was not affected by the time-of-day, but it was better in WTP vs. TP (p < 0.05), and in SD vs. LD (p < 0.05), respectively. Higher values for FS and lower values for RPE were observed in the morning compared to the afternoon (p < 0.05) and in WTP vs. TP (p < 0.05). In conclusion, specific soccer skills of boys were not time-of-day dependent, but they may be associated with time pressure and task difficulty.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number793
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Sept 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


    • Child
    • Diurnal variation
    • Mood
    • Perceived difficulty
    • Psychomotor performance
    • Soccer

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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