One wrong decision in a high-speed game can be the difference between winning or losing. Unfortunately, high-speed, high-pressure competition, where athletes make multiple consequence-heavy decisions under time pressure, is mentally fatiguing, leaving athletes more prone to making mistakes. Team sport athletes can often be seen to exploit this vulnerability to their advantage. For instance, athletes may intentionally increase the pace of play in order to increase the pressure on the opposition and force errors, even if perhaps they did not know the precise reason why it worked (i.e., impaired the performance of their opponent).

It has been shown that forcing athletes to handle fast-paced decision-making with time pressure in training, can increase mental fatigue and thereby add to the overall cognitive load on the brain. It has also been shown that exposure to this particular kind of pressure in training can help athletes adapt to pressure in actual competition. Rather than have athletes perform their cognitive training as fast and as accurately as possible, we have them perform every rep with time pressure. Athletes can not afford to lose focus, and this forces them to push and expand their mental limits.

Soma Technologies Time Pressure Mode (TPM) allows coaches to apply time pressure on top of the cognitive task to increase the mental load on the athlete's brain. TPM mode will track an athlete's response speed performance and create time pressure based on response times, meaning the athlete is constantly striving to achieve their best performance. The faster they respond, the faster the time pressure. This gives the athlete a constant challenge to beat the time pressure. Such training can help to prepare them to face similar time pressures in competition and thereby help them to avoid avoidable lapses in focus and forced errors.

Progressive Overload Example

Increase Task Duration

  • Week 1 18 mins

  • Week 2 30 mins

  • Week 3 34 mins

  • Week 4 40 mins

Week 1

  • 3m cognitive task duration x6 sets

  • TPM applied to all cognitive tasks.

Total session duration 18 mins

Week 2

  • 5m cognitive task duration x6 sets

  • TPM applied to all cognitive tasks.

Total session duration 30 mins

Week 3

  • 3m cognitive task duration x3 sets

  • 5m cognitive task duration x5 sets

  • TPM applied to all cognitive tasks.

Total session duration 34 mins

Week 4

  • 5m cognitive task duration x8 sets

  • TPM applied to all cognitive tasks.

Total session duration 40 mins


How does the manipulation of time pressure during soccer tasks influence physical load and mental fatigue?

  • Players showed greater mental load and fatigue in tasks with more time pressure.

  • The influence of the time pressure is different for mental fatigue and physical.

  • Mental load is an important factor to consider when planning the training process.

  • Coaches can change their players’ mental fatigue by manipulating the time pressure.

This study aimed to analyze whether having more or less time to solve soccer tasks influences physical load and mental fatigue. 48 semi-professional soccer players, from teams in national leagues participated (Mage = 22.4, SDage = 2.25). They carried out 2 sessions with 4 tasks in each session. In one session, there was more time available; in the other, there was less time available. GPS technology was used to measure physical load, and an adaptation of NASA and Visual Analog Scale to measure mental load and mental fatigue. A related-samples T-test and magnitude based on inference were used to determine the possible effect. Soccer players reported that tasks with less available time were more mentally demanding. Moreover, less available time to solve the tasks significantly increased players’ RPE and decreased their Heart Rate and external physical load. Therefore, the available time significantly affects mental and physical load and mental fatigue.

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The role and creation of pressure in training: Perspectives of athletes and sport psychologists.

Pressure in training can help athletes adapt to pressure in competition, and this study found that practitioners can create pressure by applying psychological demands and consequences that have an extended impact on athletes. Athletes can then practice coping skills and learn that pressure does not have to impair performance.

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Pressure training for performance domains: A meta-analysis.

Studies have tested pressure training (PT) interventions in which performers practice physical or technical skills under simulated psychological pressure, but research has not yet synthesized the results of these studies. This meta-analysis assessed the magnitude of PT’s effect on performance in sport and other high-pressure domains (e.g., law enforcement). A secondary purpose was to investigate how domain, dose, experience, and the type of task moderated the effectiveness of interventions. A study was included if it was peer-reviewed, conducted a PT intervention for sport or another high-pressure domain, and quantitatively compared a PT group with a control group on posttests under pressure. In all, 14 studies in sport (k = 10) and law enforcement (k = 4) were included. Participants (n = 394) were novices, semiprofessional athletes, elite athletes, and police officers. After removal of an outlier, the mean effect was medium (g = 0.67, 95% confidence interval [0.43, 1.12]) with low heterogeneity (I2 = 17.1%). Subgroup analysis did not indicate clear moderators of performance but did reinforce that PT can benefit both novice and experienced participants on open and closed tasks across different domains. The results suggest coaches and instructors should create pressurized training environments rather than relying on greater amounts of training to help performers adjust to pressure. Future research should develop practical pressure manipulations, conduct retention tests, and measure performance in competitive or real-life scenarios

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What is Time Pressure Mode (TPM)?

Time Pressure Mode is designed to create additional time pressure by requiring athletes to respond before the pink bar runs out.

How does Time Pressure Mode Work?

TPM mode will track an athlete's response speed performance and create time pressure based on response times.

When to use Time Pressure Mode.

When you want to increase decision-making speed under time pressure constraints.

What happens when the athlete makes a mistake?

For every slow response, the athlete will receive audio feedback.

Time Pressure Mode is a great way to push athletes to their mental limits.

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