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Geir Jordet and Esther Hartman

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between shot valence, avoidance behavior, and performance in soccer penalty shootouts. Video analyses were conducted with all penalty shootouts ever held in the World Cup, the European Championships, and the UEFA Champions League (n = 36 shootouts, 359 kicks). Shot valence was assessed from the potential consequences of a shot outcome as follows: Shots where a goal instantly leads to victory were classified as positive valence shots and shots where a miss instantly leads to loss as negative valence shots. Avoidance behavior was defined as looking away from the goalkeeper or preparing the shot quickly (thus speeding up the wait). The results showed that avoidance behavior occurred more with negative valence shots than with positive shots and that players with negative valence shots performed worse than those with positive shots. Thus, avoidance motivation may help explain why professional athletes occasionally choke under pressure.

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Michel S. Brink, Wouter G.P. Frencken, Geir Jordet, and Koen A.P.M. Lemmink


The aim of the current study was to investigate and compare coaches’ and players’ perceptions of training dose for a full competitive season.


Session rating of perceived exertion (RPE), duration, and training load (session RPE × duration) of 33 professional soccer players (height 178.2 ± 6.6 cm, weight 70.5 ± 6.4 kg, percentage body fat 12.2 ± 1.6) from an under-19 and under-17 (U17) squad were compared with the planned periodization of their professional coaches. Before training, coaches filled in the session rating of intended exertion (RIE) and duration (min) for each player. Players rated session RPE and training duration after each training session.


Players perceived their intensity and training load (2446 sessions in total) as significantly harder than what was intended by their coaches (P < .0001). The correlations between coaches’ and players’ intensity (r = .24), duration (r = .49), and load (r = .41) were weak (P < .0001). Furthermore, for coach-intended easy and intermediate training days, players reported higher intensity and training load (P < .0001). For hard days as intended by the coach, players reported lower intensity, duration, and training load (P < .0001). Finally, first-year players from the U17 squad perceived training sessions as harder than second-year players (P < .0001).


The results indicate that young elite soccer players perceive training as harder than what was intended by the coach. These differences could lead to maladaptation to training. Monitoring of the planned and perceived training load of coaches and players may optimize performance and prevent players from overtraining.