One way to increase the cognitive load on an athlete is to create situational uncertainty and keep them at their cognitive limit for as long as possible without a chance for them to get comfortable. Increasing cognitive load by applying time pressure pushes an athlete to be fully engaged and focused with high levels of uncertainty. Layering cognitive tasks with modes such as Time to Exhaustion Mode (TTE) creates a mental pressure cooker environment by forcing athletes to maintain a certain response speed. One slow response, and it's all over.
A recent study found that 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.
TTE mode starts by first getting the athlete to perform a 3-minute test phase to find their best average reaction time from minutes 1, 2, or 3. Once this test phase is complete Soma NPT will display the athlete's target reaction time which is the reaction time the athlete must try to maintain or be faster than. The athlete is also shown their threshold reaction time. This is the slowest reaction time allowed. If just ONE response is slower than the threshold reaction time the task is terminated.
Very quickly you can see that athletes will learn to adapt to this intense high-pressure environment and fully concentrate in order to perform at a consistently high level to avoid the task terminating early.
TTE mode is an effective way of re-creating pressure for athletes without needing to exert them physically. We can build mental resilience and train vigilance deliberately and separately from competition or games.