Elite European Soccer Academies Improve Skill Development with Soccer IntelliGym

Elite European Soccer Academies Improve Skill Development with Soccer IntelliGym

How IntelliGym Brought Sports Intelligence Training to Soccer

The greatest athletes of all time are said to have extremely high soccer intelligence. They possess the expert ability to anticipate the flow of the game, to identify options before receiving the ball, and to make quick decisions under pressure. These traits all come down the ability of their brains to process more information. Of course, it helps that they have incredible technical and tactical skills, but their brains are functioning at a far higher rate than the average soccer player.

Many would say that soccer intelligence is something that is impossible to train, but the Soccer IntelliGym has proven it can be developed with cognitive training. Cognitive training focuses on strengthening the cognitive skills behind sports intelligence, including anticipation, situational awareness, divided attention, working memory, and many more skills that contribute to decision making.  It’s a critical piece of the complete athlete development model, which includes more than just physical, technical, and tactical training. And, as the competition to reach the next level of the game continues to heat up, athletes need to take advantage of new technology to gain an edge over the competition.

Others would say the only way to develop soccer intelligence involves hours of physical practice and time spent watching and dissecting the game. Watching high-level soccer is a fantastic tool to learn the game. It can help an athlete understand positioning, inspire new moves, and amp up passion for the game. However, it has does not build concrete skills that contribute to on-field performance. On-field practice is incredibly important too. However, overtraining can lead to injury and fatigue, and on-field training does not focus enough on soccer intelligence skills nor provide enough repetitions to drive results. This is where cognitive training comes in, as a way to engage athletes away from the field while strengthening skills that they are unable to train in any other way.

Develop Soccer Intelligence with the Soccer IntelliGym Training Program
Elite soccer players see the field better than others. They know where to pass the ball well before receiving it. This processing power boils down to a few key cognitive skills, and the ability of the brain to allocate attention to each while maintaining focus.

But can training with IntelliGym actually improve performance on the field? Recent research proves that it can! During the development of the Soccer IntelliGym, we put this claim to the test with two leading European universities and 4 elite youth development academies.

How IntelliGym Brought Sports Intelligence Training to Soccer

The greatest athletes of all time are said to have extremely high soccer intelligence. They possess the expert ability to anticipate the flow of the game, to identify options before receiving the ball, and to make quick decisions under pressure. These traits all come down the ability of their brains to process more information. Of course, it helps that they have incredible technical and tactical skills, but their brains are functioning at a far higher rate than the average soccer player.

Develop Soccer Intelligence with the Soccer IntelliGym Training Program
Elite soccer players see the field better than others. They know where to pass the ball well before receiving it. This processing power boils down to a few key cognitive skills, and the ability of the brain to allocate attention to each while maintaining focus.

Many would say that soccer intelligence is something that is impossible to train, but the Soccer IntelliGym has proven it can be developed with cognitive training. Cognitive training focuses on strengthening the cognitive skills behind sports intelligence, including anticipation, situational awareness, divided attention, working memory, and many more skills that contribute to decision making.  It’s a critical piece of the complete athlete development model, which includes more than just physical, technical, and tactical training. And, as the competition to reach the next level of the game continues to heat up, athletes need to take advantage of new technology to gain an edge over the competition.

Others would say the only way to develop soccer intelligence involves hours of physical practice and time spent watching and dissecting the game. Watching high-level soccer is a fantastic tool to learn the game. It can help an athlete understand positioning, inspire new moves, and amp up passion for the game. However, it has does not build concrete skills that contribute to on-field performance. On-field practice is incredibly important too. However, overtraining can lead to injury and fatigue, and on-field training does not focus enough on soccer intelligence skills nor provide enough repetitions to drive results. This is where cognitive training comes in, as a way to engage athletes away from the field while strengthening skills that they are unable to train in any other way.

But can training with IntelliGym actually improve performance on the field? Recent research shows that it can! During the development of the Soccer IntelliGym, we put this claim to the test with two leading European universities and 4 elite youth development academies.

Elite Academies Help Bring the IntelliGym Training Program to the Field

If you’re curious about the origin of where the IntelliGym technology came from, check out this story about how the technology was used to train fighter pilots with research conducted by NASA, the US Air Force, and world-renowned cognitive scientists.

The Soccer IntelliGym, the world’s leading sports intelligence training program, was developed based on over 30 years of cognitive research and in collaboration with 10 elite football academies and two universities in Germany, the Netherlands, and Austria. Among these clubs are world-renowned development academies including AZ Alkmaar, PSV Eindhoven, Red Bull Salzburg, Rapid Vienna, Hamburg SV, and DSC Arminia Bielefeld. More than 600 soccer players participated in the pilot programs.

During the Soccer IntelliGym pilot programs, research studies were conducted by Cologne Sport University and VU Amsterdam to measure the effectiveness of cognitive training at improving the performance of athletes on the field. The studies aimed to see if computer-based training program was more effective than other, more traditional methods of developing soccer intelligence; watching and analyzing soccer videos.

The studies, one of the first of their kind, were funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. The Dutch study, a region known for its youth development programs, was conducted by Vrjie Universiteit Amsterdam, a leading research institute in the Netherlands, that looked to measure performance improvements at AZ Alkmaar and PSV Eindhoven. The German study was conducted by Cologne Sport University with participation from the German Football Association (DFB), and involved athletes from Hamburger SV and DSC Arminia Bielefeld.

“We’re always looking for an edge. IntelliGym embodies that. We’ve seen great results from the program and it aligns perfectly with our philosophy on soccer. As a result of training with IntelliGym, players at our club are better at identifying opportunities before they happen and exploiting them at the right moment.”

Marijn Beuker
Head of Performance & Development, AZ Alkmaar

Both studies showed a significant improvement in the on-field performance and decision-making among the athletes who trained with the IntelliGym. The studies and their results are summarized below.

10 Elite Academies Help Create the IntelliGym Training Program

If you’re curious about the origin of where the IntelliGym technology came from, check out this story about how the technology was used to train fighter pilots with research conducted by NASA, the US Air Force, and world-renowned cognitive scientists.

The Soccer IntelliGym, the world’s leading sports intelligence training program, was developed based on over 30 years of cognitive research and in collaboration with 10 elite football academies and two universities in Germany, the Netherlands, and Austria. Among these clubs are world-renowned development academies including AZ Alkmaar, PSV Eindhoven, Red Bull Salzburg, Rapid Vienna, Hamburg SV, and DSC Arminia Bielefeld. More than 600 soccer players participated in the pilot program.

“We’re always looking for an edge. IntelliGym embodies that. We’ve seen great results from the program and it aligns perfectly with our philosophy on soccer. As a result of training with IntelliGym, players at our club are better at identifying opportunities before they happen and exploiting them at the right moment.”

Marijn Beuker
Head of Performance & Development, AZ Alkmaar

During the Soccer IntelliGym pilot programs, research studies were conducted by Cologne Sport University and VU Amsterdam to measure the effectiveness of cognitive training at improving the performance of athletes on the field. The studies aimed to see if computer-based training program was more effective than other, more traditional methods of developing soccer intelligence; watching and analyzing soccer videos.

The study, one of the first of its kind, was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. The Dutch study, a region known for its youth development programs, was conducted by Vrjie Universiteit Amsterdam, a leading research institute in the Netherlands, that looked to measure performance improvements at AZ Alkmaar and PSV Eindhoven. The German study was conducted by Cologne Sport University with participation from the German Football Association (DFB), and involved athletes from Hamburger SV and DSC Arminia Bielefeld.

Both studies showed a significant improvement in the on-field performance and decision-making among the athletes who trained with the IntelliGym. The studies and their results are summarized below.

Measuring Results With Studies From Leading European Universities

Both the German and the Dutch study involved athletes from teams aged U14 to U17 divided into two groups. One group was assigned the Soccer IntelliGym cognitive training program, while the control group was assigned a different computerized task: to observe video clips of real football matches and identify football-related events or actions such as passes, turnovers, headers, fouls, and shots on target by one team in that video. The duration of this task was about the same length as the IntelliGym training sessions. Both groups were told that their respective activities were aimed at improving their decision-making performance.

The players were put into a variety of mini-game situations and had their performance assessed by soccer coaches with high coaching licenses, followed by independent experts rating the same players using video footage. The staff evaluating did not know if the players were part of the IntelliGym group or the control group, and did not know if the footage was from before or after the 10-week study. The Dutch study was measured using a system called Notation Analysis System while the German study was measured by a system called the Game Test Situation.  

Each measuring system was designed to objectively measure performance and soccer intelligence, looking for specific cues in situations including attack with the ball, attack without the ball, transitions, positioning, and defense. When the ratings were all compiled, both studies showcased approximately a 30% improvement in performance among athletes who trained using the IntelliGym program compared to the video task group.

Soccer Intelligence Training Improve Performance
The VU Amsterdam study showed a 27% improvement in performance. Similar results were observed in the German Sport University study.
How to Develop Soccer Intelligence
Individually, the IntelliGym-trained players improved their performance significantly in all score categories compared to control group players.

How the Soccer IntelliGym Can Help You and Your Team Improve Performance

The results from this study point to cognitive training as a powerful tool in improving on-field performance. It showed that while watching soccer games can improve soccer skills, a cognitive program like the IntelliGym is more effective. For players who want to maximize their soccer ability, putting in time with the IntelliGym is the best way to improve.

This study shows us that sports intelligence training with the IntelliGym can help improve your on-field performance by enhancing your soccer sense. It can help improve your performance rank relative to those on your team. This is incredibly important for athletes who are looking to stand out from their peers as they compete for scholarships or for a coveted spot on a higher level team, or for teams who are fighting for a championship against bigger, stronger, or faster teams.

For athletes and teams that are looking to maximize their performance and gain an edge over the competition, the IntelliGym is a tool that will help then hone their skills and improve their performance.

Are you ready to take your game to new levels with the Soccer IntelliGym?

About the Research

The VU Amsterdam study was conducted by researcher Geert J. P. Savelsbergh. Savelsbergh is a professor in the Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences, Motor Learning, and Performance. He is also the head of the Motor Control group at MOVE and the Desmond Tutu chair for Youth, Sport and Reconciliation. He has published over 200 papers in internationally-renowned scientific journals, with his main area of focus being the visual regulation of movement, talent development, and identification. In other words, his research focuses a lot on athletes and athletic training. The Cologne Sport University study was conducted by Dr. Karsten Schul and Prof. Dr. Daniel Memmert of the Institute of Training and Computer Science in Sport at German Sport University, Europe’s largest sport university with a legacy dating back to 1947.