Werner Helsen is professor in the Department of Movement Sciences at KU Leuven. His research interests include i) expert perception and performance, ii) talent detection and selection, iii) load monitoring in team sports and association football particularly. In March 2020 Google Scholar showed 8950 citations, H-index=47, i10-index=102. His teaching involvements are in the motor control and learning field as well as in the area of performance training in team sports and football in particular. In 1999 UEFA appointed him as sports scientist and training expert for elite match officials. Since 2015 UEFA also engaged him in ‘Fitness4Football’ workshops to learn national team coaches how to use gps-based-technology to make players and the game better. He was involved in 6 UEFA European Championships and 3 FIFA World Cups.
Since 2016, the perception and performance lab has extended its research line from sports to other professional domains in which perceptual-cognitive skills are of utmost importance. As a result, further knowledge has been collected about underlying processes that explain perceptual-cognitive superiority in experts like pilots and radiologists. With this knowledge, we also produced effective and efficient training interventions to improve and fine-tune perceptual-cognitive skills. Recently, we also completed a particular training intervention for medicine students on a chest X-ray pathology detection task. Following the training intervention, both their perceptual-cognitive skills as well as the efficiency of their visual search during task completion improved. Given the promising results of this training intervention, we plan to extend this research project and provide perceptual-cognitive skill training for other professional settings in which time constrained decision making is key. Finally, we are now in the final process to offer similar training interventions online (using the P4P web application) to study the effects of online training in an international context. For this purpose, we have a long-standing and productive cooperation with (i) the Academic College of Wingate (Israel); (ii) the Department of Psychology at the Utrecht University (The Netherlands); (iii) the Department of Health, Kinesiology, and Recreation at the University of Utah (USA); (iv) the CAE Flight Academy Brussels (Belgium); (v) the Radiology Department, the Department of Brain & Cognition, and the Department of Movement Sciences at KU Leuven (Belgium).
Nico is involved in the lab of Prof Dr. Werner Helsen since December 2018. First as researcher on the project of The IFAB regarding the Video Assistant Referee. At this moment Nico is working as consultant for The IFAB in the support of their VAR project. Besides that, is Nico working together with Prof. Dr. Helsen on the Perception4Perfection online web app.
He is also active as assistant referee in the first amateur league in Belgium (3rd division).