Caffeine gum improves reaction time but reduces composure versus placebo during the extra-time period of simulated soccer match-play in male semi-professional players

Field Adam, Liam Corr, Laurence Birdsey, Christina Langley, Ben Marshall, Greg Wood, Mark Hearris, Diogo Martinho, Crista Carbury, Robert Naughton, James Fleming, Magni Mohr, Peter Krustrup, Mark Russell, Liam D. Harper

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Abstract

This study aimed to determine whether caffeine gum influenced perceptual-cognitive and physical performance during the extra-time period of simulated soccer match-play. Semi-professional male soccer players (n=12, age: 22 ± 3 years, stature: 1.78 ± 0.06 m, mass: 75 ± 9 kg) performed 120-min soccer specific exercise on two occasions. In a triple blind, randomised, crossover design, players chewed caffeinated (200-mg; caffeine) or control (0-mg; placebo) gum for 5-min following 90-min of soccer specific exercise. Perceptual-cognitive skills (i.e., passing accuracy, reaction time, composure, adaptability) were assessed using a soccer specific virtual reality simulator, collected pre- and post-trial. Neuromuscular performance (reactive-strength index, vertical jump height, absolute and relative peak power output, and negative vertical displacement) and sprint performance (15- and 30-m) were measured at pre-trial, half-time, 90-min and post-trial. Caffeine gum attenuated declines in reaction time (pre: 90.8 ± 0.8 AU to post: 90.7 ± 0.8 AU) by a further 4.2% than placebo (pre: 92.1 ± 0.8 AU to post: 88.2 ± 0.8 AU; p <0.01). Caffeine gum reduced composure by 4.7% (pre: 69.1 ± 0.8 AU to post: 65.9 ± 0.8 AU) versus placebo (pre: 68.8 ± 0.8 AU to post: 68.3 ± 0.8 AU; p <0.01). Caffeine gum did not influence any other variables (p >0.05). Where caffeine gum is consumed by players prior to extra-time, reaction time increases but composure may be compromised, and neuromuscular and sprint performance remain unchanged. Future work should assess caffeine gum mixes with substances like L-theanine that promote a relaxed state under stressful conditions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 14 May 2024

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