Positional differences in anticipation timing, reaction time and dynamic balance of American football players

Keywords: american football, coinciding anticipation timing, dynamic balance, reaction time


Purpose: The aim of this study was to compare the coinciding anticipation timing (CAT), reaction time and dynamic balance performances of American football players according to their playing positions. Material: Thirty-five American football players, who train at least 3 days a week, and compete in Universities Protected Football 1st League, participated in this study, voluntarily. The players were divided into two playing positions: offensive (17 players, mean age: 20.76 ± 1.30 years) and defensive (18 players, mean age: 21.94 ± 2.87 years). The CAT at different stimulus speeds (6 mph, 12 mph), reaction time (visual, auditory, mixed), and dynamic balance performance (anterior-posterior, medial-lateral, perimeter lenght) were measured in the laboratory environment. The CAT, reaction time, and dynamic balance performance of players were determined by Bassin Anticipation Timer, Newtest 1000, and Technobody Prokin-200, respectively. Results: The data obtained were analyzed in SPSS (20.0) program. Firstly, the raw data for CAT performance (6mph, 12 mph) were converted to absolute error score. According to Shapiro-Wilk test result, the all data showed normal distribution. Independent Sample t test was used to determine the differences between the two playing positions. In addition, the effect size between the two playing positions was calculated in parameters with showing significant differences, and Cohen’s d (1988) values were taken into account. Compared with the defensive players (20.15±3.81 ms), the absolute error scores at fast stimulus speeds (12 mph) of offensive players (17.45±3.48 ms) was found to be significantly lower (t(33) =-2.181, p=.036). The visual reaction time of offensive players (318.11± 17.47 ms) was significantly shorter than defensive players (340.58± 32.60 ms, t(26322) =-2.560, p=.017). In terms of dynamic balance parameters such as perimeter lenght, anterior-posterior, and medial-lateral, there was no statistically significant difference between the playing positions (p>0.05). Conclusions: Perceptual-cognitive characteristics such as CAT, and reaction time performance differ according to the playing positions, and this difference may be related to the physical, and cognitive demands required by their playing positions.


Download data is not yet available.

View Counter: Abstract | 31 | times, Article PDF |

Author Biographies

Halil İ. Ceylan, Ataturk University
halil.ibrahimceylan60@gmail.com; Physical Education and Sports Teaching Deparment, Kazim Karabekir Faculty of Education, Ataturk University; Erzurum, Turkey.
Ahmet R. Günay, Mugla Sitki Kocman University
ahmetrahmigunay@gmail.com; Department of Training Science, Faculty of Sports Sciences, Mugla Sitki Kocman University; Mugla, Turkey.


1. Vitale JA, Caumo A, Roveda E, Montaruli A, La Torre A, Battaglini CL, et al. Physical attributes and NFL combine performance tests between Italian National League and American football players: a comparative study. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2016;30(10):2802– 2808.

2. Ward PA, Ramsden S, Coutts AJ, Hulton AT, Drust B. Positional differences in running and nonrunning activities during elite american football training. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 2018;32(7):2072– 2084.

3. Hoffman JR. The applied physiology of American football. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. 2008;3(3):387– 392.

4. Lindon T. Examination of volume and intensities of weekday practices and competitive games in collegiate football players. [Master's Thesis]. UK: University of Kentucky; 2017.

5. Wellman AD, Coad SC, Goulet GC, McLellan CP. Quantification of accelerometer derived impacts associated with competitive games in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I college football players. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 2017;31(2):330– 338.

6. Yamashita D, Asakura M, Ito Y, Yamada S, Yamada Y. Physical characteristics and performance of Japanese top-level American football players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2017;31(9):2455– 2461.

7. Pincivero DM, Bompa TO. A physiological review of American football. Sports Medicine. 1997;23(4):247–260.

8. Hoffman JR. Physiological demands of American football. Sports Science Exchange. 2015;28(143):1–6.

9. Robbins DW, Young WB. Positional relationships between various sprint and jump abilities in elite American football players. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 2012;26(2):388–397.

10. Wylie SA, Bashore TR, Van Wouwe NC, Mason EJ, John KD, Neimat JS, et al. Exposing an “Intangible” cognitive skill among collegiate football players: enhanced interference control. Front. Psychol. 2018;9:49.

11. Mori S, Ohtani Y, Jmanaka K. Reaction times and anticipatory skills of karate athletes. Human Movement Science.2002;21(2):213–230.

12. Pruna R, Bahdur K. Cognition in football. Journal of Novel Physiotherapies. 2016;6:316.

13. Broglio SP, Tomporowski PD, Ferrara MS. Balance performance with a cognitive task: a dual-task testing paradigm. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2005;37(4):689–695.

14. Rincon-Campos YE, Sanchez-Lopez J, Lopez-Walle JM, Ortiz-Jimenez X. Dynamics of executive functions, basic psychological needs, impulsivity, and depressive symptoms in American football players. Frontiers in Psychology, 2019;10:2409.

15. Fleury M, Bard C. Age, stimulus velocity and task complexity as determiners of coincident timing behaviour. Journal of Human Movement Studies. 1985;11:305–317.

16. Runswick OR, Green R, North JS. The effects of skill-level and playing-position on the anticipation of ball-bounce in rugby union. Human Movement Science. 2020;69:102544.

17. Williams AM, Jackson RC. Anticipation and decision making in sport. UK: Routledge; 2019.

18. Zwierko T. Selected aspects of anticipation of soccer players. Studies in Physical Culture and Tourism. 2006;13:186–191.

19. Schmidt RA, Lee T. Motor Learning and Performance From Principles Application. 6nd. ed. USA: Human Kinetics; 2020.

20. North JS, Hope E, Williams AM. The relative importance of different perceptual-cognitive skills during anticipation. Human Movement Science. 2016;49:170–171.

21. North JS, Williams AM, Hodges N, Ward P, Ericsson KA. Perceiving patterns indynamic action sequences:Investigating theprocesses underpinning stimulus recognition and anticipation skill. Applied Cognitive Psychology. 2009;23:878–894.

22. Sors F, Murgia M, Santoro I, Prpic V, Galmonte A, Agostini T. The contribution of early auditory and visual information to the discrimination of shot power in ball sports. Psychology of Sport and Exercise. 2017;31:44–51.

23. Atan T, Akyol P. Reaction times of different branch athletes and correlation between reaction time parameters. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences. 2014;116:2886–2889.

24. Kalberer D, Zagelbaum A, Hersh P, Mellody J, Montgomery K, Sison CP, et al. Peripheral awareness and visual reaction time in professional football players in the national football League (N.F.L.). Optom.Vis.Perform. 2017;5(4):158–163.

25. Reid B, Schreiber K, Shawhan J, Stewart E, Burch R, Reimann W. Reaction time assessment for coaching defensive players in NCAA division 1 American football: A comprehensive literature review. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics. 2020;77:102942.

26. Mankowska M, Poliszczuk T, Poliszczuk D, Johne M. Visual perception and its effect on reaction time and time-movement anticipation in elite female basketball players. Polish Journal of Sport and Tourism. 2015;22(1):3–8.

27. Sheppard JM, Young WB. Agility literature review: Classifications, training and testing. Journal of Sports Sciences. 2006;24(9):919–932.

28. Butler RJ, Southers C, Gorman PP, Kiesel KB, Plisky PJ. Differences in soccer players’ dynamic balance across levels of competition. Journal of Athletic Training. 2012;47(6):616– 620.

29. Johnston W, Duignan C, Coughlan GF, Caulfield B. Dynamic balance performance varies by position but not by age group in elite Rugby Union players–a normative study. Journal of Sports Sciences. 2019;37(11):1308–1313.

30. Olchowik G, Czwalik A. Effects of soccer training on body balance in young female athletes assessed using computerized dynamic posturography. Applied Sciences. 2020;10(3):1003.

31. Loughran GJ, Vulpis CT, Murphy JP, Weiner DA, Svoboda SJ, Hinton RY, et al. Incidence of knee injuries on artificial turf versus natural grass in National Collegiate Athletic Association American football: 2004–2005 through 2013-2014 seasons. The American journal of Sports Medicine. 2019;47(6):1294–1301.

32. Kerr ZY, Simon JE, Grooms DR, Roos KG, Cohen RP, Dompier TP. Epidemiology of football injuries in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, 2004-2005 to 2008-2009. Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine. 2016;4(9):2325967116664500.

33. Severo-Silveira L, Fritsch CG, Marques VB, Dornelles MP, Baroni BM. Isokinetic performance of knee flexor and extensor muscles in American Football players from Brazil. Revista Brasileira de Cineantropometria & Desempenho Humano. 2017;19(4):426–435.

34. Sterczala AJ, Flanagan SD, Looney DP, Hooper DR, Szivak TK, Comstock BA, et al. Similar hormonal stress and tissue damage in response to national collegiate athletic association division i football games played in two consecutive seasons. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 2014;28(11):3234–3238.

35. Wellman AD, Coad SC, Goulet GC, McLellan CP. Quantification of competitive game demands of NCAA division I college football players using global positioning systems. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 2016;30(1):11–19.

36. Bashore TR, Ally B, van Wouwe NC, Neimat JS, van den Wildenberg WP, Wylie SA. Exposing an “Intangible” cognitive skill among collegiate football players: II. Enhanced response impulse control. Frontiers in Psychology. 2018;9:1496.

37. Gunay AR, Ceylan HI., Colakogolu FF, Saygin, O. Comparison of coinciding anticipation timing and reaction time performances of adolescent female volleyball players in different playing positions. The Sport Journal. 2019;36:1–12.

38. Maciel RN, Morales AP, Barcelos JL, Nunes WJ, Azevedo MMA, Silva VF. Relation between reaction time and specific function in volleyball players. Fitness Performance Journal. 2009;8(6):395–399.

39. Eken O, Ozkol MZ, Varol SR. Acute effects of different stretching and warm up protocols on some anaerobic motoric tests, flexibility and balance in junior male judokas. Pedagogy of Physical Culture and Sports. 2020;24(4):169–174.

40. Zorba E, Saygin O. Fiziksel aktivite ve fiziksel uygunluk. Ankara: Firat Maatbacilik; 2013. (In Turkish)

41. American College of Sports Medicine. ACSM's health-related physical fitness assessment Manual. 2nd Ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008.

42. Dixon CB, Andreacci JL, Ledezma C. Effect of aerobic exercise on percent body fat using leg-to-leg and segmental bioelectrical impedance analysis in adults. International Journal of Body Composition Research. 2008;6:27–34.

43. Hazir T, Acikada C. Vucut kompozisyonunun degerlendirilmesinde biyoelektrik impedans analizinin guvenirligi: karsılastirma calismasi [Reliability of bioelectrical impedance analysis in evaluating the body composition: comparison study]. Spor Bilimleri Dergisi. 2002;13:2–18. (In Turkish)

44. Boat R, Morris M, Duncan MJ. Effects of exercise intensity on anticipation timing performance during a cycling task at moderate and vigorous intensities in children aged 7–11 years. European Journal of Sport Science. 2019;1–9.

45. Crocetta TB, Guarnieri R, Antunes TPC, Massetti T, Abreu LCD, Fabian P, et al. Instruments for studying coincidence-anticipation timing task - An updated systematic review. Journal of Physical Education and Sports Management. 2018;5(1):37–52.

46. Kuan YM, Zuhairi NA, Manan FA, Knight VF, Omar R. Visual reaction time and visual anticipation time between athletes and non-athletes. Malaysian Journal of Public Health Medicine. 2018;1:135–141.

47. Sanders G. Sex differences in coincidence-anticipation timing (CAT): A review. Perceptual and Motor Skills. 2011;112(1):61–90.

48. Rodrigues P, Lima E, Vasconcelos MO, Barreiros JM, Botelho M. Stimulus velocity effect on the performance of a coincidence-anticipation task of rightand left-handers. Revista Brasileira de Educaçao Fisica e Esporte. 2011;25(3):487–496.

49. Duncan MJ, Stanley M, Smith M, Price MJ, Leddington Wright S. Coincidence anticipation timing performance during an acute bout of brisk walking in older adults: effect of stimulus speed. Neural Plasticity. 2015;210213.

50. Duncan M, Smith M, Lyons M. The effect of exercise intensity on coincidence anticipation performance at different stimulus speeds. European Journal of Sport Science. 2013;13:559–566.

51. Magill RA. Motor learning and control: concepts and applications. 8nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2006.

52. Tamer K. Sporda fiziksel ve fizyolojik performansın olculmesi ve degerlendirilmesi [Measurement and evaluation of physical and physiological performance in sports]. Ankara: Bagirgan Yayinevi; 2000. (In Turkish)

53. Gunay AR. Adolesan donemi kadin voleybolcularda 12 haftalik proprioseptif antrenmanlarin, sezinleme zamani, reaksiyon zamani ve denge performansı uzerindeki etkileri [The effects of 12-week proprioceptive training on female volleyball players on sensing time, reaction time and balance performance]. [PhD Thesis]. Ankara: Gazi Üniversitesi; 2019. (In Turkish)

54. Cohen J. Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. 2nd ed. NJ: Erlbaum;1988.

55. Rodrigues PC, Barbosa R, Carita AI, Barreiros J, Vasconcelos O. Stimulus velocity effect in a complex interceptive task in right-and left-handers. European Journal of Sport Science. 2012;12(2):130–138.

56. Meeuwsen HJ, Goode SL, Goggin NL. Coincidence-anticipation timing. Women in Sport & Physical Activity Journal, Reston. 1995;4(2):59–75.

57. Ugrinowitsch H, Correa U, Tani G. Perceptual disturbance and adaptive process in learning a coincident timing task. Revista Brasileira de Educação Física e Esporte. 2005;19(4):277–284.

58. Saygin O, Goral K, Ceylan HI. An examination of the coincidence anticipation performance of soccer players according to their playing positions and different stimulus speeds. Sport Journal. 2016;1–11.

59. Zhou Y. Visual search, prediction ability and brain neural mechanisms of different of female volleyball players. NeuroQuantology. 2018;16(6):512–516.

60. Weber ML, Schmidt JD, Hoffman NL. Comparing performance on baseline computerized neurocognitive and balance. Br J Sports Med. 2017;51(11):28.

61. Fujii K, Shinya M, Yamashita D, Kouzaki M, Oda S. Anticipation by basketball defenders: an explanation based on the three-dimensional inverted pendulum model. Eur. J. Sport Sci. 2014;14(6):538–546.

62. Hülsdünker T, Strüder HK, Mierau A. The athletes’ visuomotor system– Cortical processes contributing to faster visuomotor reactions. European Journal of Sport Science. 2018;18(7):955–964.

63. Zwierko T, Osinski W, Lubinski W, Czepita D, Florkiewicz B. Speed of visual sensorimotor processes and conductivity of visual pathway in volleyball players. Journal of Human Kinetics. 2010;23:21–27.

64. Shirabe NA, da Silva RA, de Oliveira MR, Nowotny AH, Sturion LA, de Oliveira Gil AW, et al. Atletas de taekwondon têm melhor controle postural do que atletas de handebol e futebol americano. Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte. 2017;23(6):473–476.

65. Dai B, Layer J, Vertz C, Hinshaw T, Cook R, Li Y, et al. Baseline Assessments of Strength and Balance Performance and Bilateral Asymmetries in Collegiate Athletes. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 2019;33(11):3015–3029.

66. Lisman P, Nadelen M, Hildebrand E, Leppert K, de la Motte S. Functional movement screen and Y-Balance test scores across levels of American football players. Biology of Sport. 2018;35(3):253–260.

67. Luedke LE, Geisthardt TW, Rauh MJ. Y-Balance Test performance does not determine non-contact lower quadrant ınjury in collegiate American Football players. Sports. 2020;8(3): 27.

68. Butler RJ, Lehr ME, Fink ML, Kiesel KB, Plisky PJ. Dynamic balance performance and noncontact lower extremity injury in college football players: an initial study. Sports Health. 2013;(5):417–422.

69. Stiffler MR, Bell DR, Sanfilippo JL, Hetzel SJ, Pickett KA, Heiderscheit BC. Star excursion balance test anterior asymmetry is associated with injury status in division I collegiate athletes. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. 2017;47(5):339–346.

70. Bizid R, Paillard T. Do the soccer players’ postural activities at national level of competition differ between offensive and defensive players? Science and Sport. 2006;21:23–25.

71. Liang Y, Hiley M, Kanosue K. The effect of contact sport expertise on postural control. PloS One. 2019;14(2):e0212334.
How to Cite
Ceylan H, Günay A. Positional differences in anticipation timing, reaction time and dynamic balance of American football players. Pedagogy of Physical Culture and Sports. 2020;24(5):227-39. https://doi.org/10.15561/26649837.2020.0503