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

Published: 30 October 2020
Pedagogy of Physical Culture and Sports , Volume 24, pp 227-239; doi:10.15561/26649837.2020.0503

Abstract: 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.
Keywords: Football / reaction time / Dynamic Balance / players / American / Playing Positions / Stimulus Speeds / perimeter lenght

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