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The colour of sportswear has been shown to influence the outcome of bouts for several different combat sports. The generality of these effects, and whether they extend to collaborative forms of contests (team sports), is uncertain. Since 1947, English football teams wearing red shirts have been champions more often than expected on the basis of the proportion of clubs playing in red. To investigate whether this indicates an enhancement of long-term performance in red-wearing teams, we analysed the relative league positions of teams wearing different hues. Across all league divisions, red teams had the best home record, with significant differences in both percentage of maximum points achieved and mean position in the home league table. The effects were not due simply to a difference between teams playing in a colour and those playing in a predominantly white uniform, as the latter performed better than teams in yellow hues. No significant differences were found for performance in matches away from home, when teams commonly do not wear their "home" colours. A matched-pairs analysis of red and non-red wearing teams in eight English cities shows significantly better performance of red teams over a 55-year period. These effects on long-term success have consequences for colour selection in team sports, confirm that wearing red enhances performance in a variety of competitive contexts, and provide further impetus for studies of the mechanisms underlying these effects.
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Red shirt colour is associated with long-term team success in English
football
MARTIN J. ATTRILL
1
, KAREN A. GRESTY
1
, RUSSELL A. HILL
2
, & ROBERT A. BARTON
2
1
School of Biological Sciences, University of Plymouth, Plymouth and
2
Evolutionary Anthropology Research Group,
University of Durham, Durham, UK
(Accepted 9 October 2007)
Abstract
The colour of sportswear has been shown to influence the outcome of bouts for several different combat sports. The
generality of these effects, and whether they extend to collaborative forms of contests (team sports), is uncertain. Since 1947,
English football teams wearing red shirts have been champions more often than expected on the basis of the proportion of
clubs playing in red. To investigate whether this indicates an enhancement of long-term performance in red-wearing teams,
we analysed the relative league positions of teams wearing different hues. Across all league divisions, red teams had the best
home record, with significant differences in both percentage of maximum points achieved and mean position in the home
league table. The effects were not due simply to a difference between teams playing in a colour and those playing in a
predominantly white uniform, as the latter performed better than teams in yellow hues. No significant differences were found
for performance in matches away from home, when teams commonly do not wear their ‘‘home’’ colours. A matched-pairs
analysis of red and non-red wearing teams in eight English cities shows significantly better performance of red teams over a
55-year period. These effects on long-term success have consequences for colour selection in team sports, confirm that
wearing red enhances performance in a variety of competitive contexts, and provide further impetus for studies of the
mechanisms underlying these effects.
Keywords: Soccer, coloration, colour, male dominance, performance, psychology
Introduction
The use and impact of colour in sporting contests
remains a relatively unexplored area of research. Hill
and Barton (2005) showed that when red and blue
uniforms were randomly assigned to contestants in
bouts of Olympic boxing, taekwondo, freestyle
wrestling, and Greco-Roman wrestling, the fre-
quency of winners wearing red was significantly
greater than expected by chance. Rowe and collea-
gues (Rowe, Harris, & Roberts, 2005) performed a
similar analysis of judo bouts, finding that blue
conferred an advantage over white. Possible mechan-
isms underlying these effects include psychological
responses to colours, such as the perception that red
is associated with dominance, and differences in
visibility (Barton & Hill, 2005; Hill & Barton, 2005;
Rowe et al., 2005).
Hill and Barton (2005) proposed that enhanced
winning rates of contestants wearing red might
reflect an innate response to red as a signal of
dominance. In a wide variety of animal species, red
coloration is a sexually selected, testosterone-
dependent signal of male quality (Dixson, 1998;
Ligon, Thornhill, Zuk, & Johnson, 1990; Milinski &
Bakker, 1990). Furthermore, the presence, size, and
intensity of red displays has been found to correlate
with dominance and resource-holding potential in
males in both birds (Andersson, Pryke, Ornborg,
Lawes, & Andersson, 2002; Pryke, Andersson,
Lawes, & Piper, 2002; Pryke & Griffith, 2006) and
primates (Dixson 1998; Dunbar, 1984; Setchell &
Dixson, 2001; Setchell & Wickings, 2005). During
aggressive interactions in both humans and non-
human primates, skin redness intensifies in
dominant individuals but decreases in frightened
individuals, through changes in peripheral blood
flow (Darwin, 1872; Drummond & Quah, 2001;
Montoya, Campos, & Schandry, 2005). Cone cell
sensitivities in the retina of trichromatic primates are
optimized for discriminating variation in redness due
to skin flushing or blanching (Changizi, Zhang, &
Correspondence: M. J. Attrill, School of Biological Sciences, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK.
E-mail: mattrill@plymouth.ac.uk
Journal of Sports Sciences, April 2008; 26(6): 577 582
ISSN 0264-0414 print/ISSN 1466-447X online Ó 2008 Taylor & Francis
DOI: 10.1080/02640410701736244
Downloaded By: [University of Durham] At: 13:11 17 March 2008
Shimojo, 2006). Responses to the colour red in
contest situations can also be exploited by artificial
stimuli. In zebra finches, the presence of red plastic
rings increases the dominance rank of male birds
(Cuthill, Hunt, Cleary, & Clark, 1997). Such sensory
biases to artificial stimuli may thus also underlie the
effects on contest outcomes in humans. Alterna-
tively, colours may affect visibility of contestants and
of team-mates, which in turn may affect performance
(Rowe et al., 2005).
Apart from the precise mechanisms underlying
these effects, a number of other questions remain.
One is whether they generalize to team sports. Hill
and Barton (2005) presented provisional results on
the role of shirt colour during an international
football (soccer) competition (‘‘Euro 2004’’,
Portugal). All teams that wore red shirts in some of
their matches and another colour in their other
matches had better results in their red shirts. The
sample size here was small (five teams), and it was
not possible to investigate effects of other colour
differences. Nevertheless, we hypothesize that, if the
effect is general, it should be manifest in long-term
patterns of results. We predict that teams wearing
red will, on average, be more successful than teams
wearing other colours. To address this hypothesis,
we analysed team home performance relative to
primary shirt colour among English football league
teams since the Second World War.
Methods
We utilized extensive data available in on-line foot-
ball archives (English Football Archive, 2006; Rivals
Digital Media Ltd., 2006) to investigate the relative
success of English teams since the 1946 47 season
when the league resumed after the Second World
War. Data were available up to 2001 and 2003 for
the two databases respectively.
To determine whether red teams had been more
successful within the Football League since the
Second World War, we investigated the winning
performance of each team in matches played at their
home venue since 1946, expressed as percentage
wins at home. Clubs wear their signature colours in
home games, but change to an alternative in away
games when there is a colour clash. Hence, the
colours worn during away games are not consistent.
To select teams for analysis, we used two a priori
criteria:
1. Teams had to have spent most of the analysed
post-war period of 56 seasons in the league
since 1946 47 (i.e. played at least 29 seasons).
The 90 teams satisfying this criterion were
ranked in order of the percentage wins achieved
at home over the period 1947 2003, with a
secondary rank by mean points per game (all
data standardized as 3 points for a win).
2. Since the Second World War, there have been
consistently 68 teams comprising the top three
divisions of the Football League, so to assess
success in the equivalent top three divisions we
focused our analyses on the top 68 ranked clubs
in the home league table (Table I, split into the
equivalent three divisions). We hypothesized
Table I. Equivalent first three divisions in the English football
league (with current number of teams in each division) if teams are
ranked in order of percentage wins at home over the 1947 2003
period.
Rank Team Colour % wins Points/game
Division 1
1 Liverpool R 64.8 2.16
2 Man Utd R 61.2 2.07
3 Leeds W 57.0 1.96
4 Arsenal R 56.4 1.94
5 Reading B 55.7 1.90
6 Ipswich B 55.0 1.87
7 Newcastle O 54.1 1.85
8 Southampton R 53.8 1.86
9 Millwall B 53.7 1.86
10 Blackburn B 53.5 1.84
11 Tottenham W 53.5 1.83
12 Wolves Y 52.9 1.82
13 QPR B 52.6 1.84
14 Bristol Rovers B 52.4 1.84
15 Bristol City R 52.1 1.82
15 Southend B 52.1 1.82
17 Sheffield Utd R 52.0 1.81
17 Aston Villa O 52.0 1.81
19 Bournemouth R 51.9 1.82
20 Middlesborough R 51.9 1.81
Division 2
21 Everton B 51.8 1.83
22 Gillingham B 51.8 1.82
23 Man City B 51.8 1.79
24 Peterborough B 51.6 1.81
25 Burnley O 51.6 1.80
25 Brighton B 51.6 1.80
27 Derby W 51.6 1.78
28 Bolton W 51.4 1.79
29 Swansea W 51.3 1.78
30 Swindon R 51.2 1.80
30 Mansfield Y 51.2 1.80
32 Preston NE W 51.1 1.79
33 Chesterfield B 51.0 1.78
34 Tranmere W 51.0 1.77
35 Colchester B 50.9 1.79
36 Notts Forest R 50.9 1.78
37 Brentford R 50.8 1.78
38 Wrexham R 50.7 1.78
39 Plymouth O 50.6 1.78
40 Northampton O 50.6 1.76
41 Grimsby O 50.5 1.77
41 Luton W 50.5 1.77
43 Rotherham R 50.4 1.77
44 Stoke R 50.4 1.76
(continued)
578 M. J. Attrill et al.
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that if red teams have been more successful at
home over time, there will be a concentration of
red teams within these top echelons of the
league.
The dominant home shirt colour for these 68 clubs
over the time period was determined and categorized
(using http://www.historicalkits.co.uk/index.htm).
These were: red (n ¼ 16), blue (23), all white (11),
and yellow-orange (9). Where a shirt was mainly one
colour plus some white, the team was categorized
under the colour. The few mixes of more than one
colour (e.g. red/blue) were placed in an ‘‘other’’
category, as were teams wearing shirts of a compara-
tively rare prime colour (e.g. green, black). Due to
various colours making up this mixed group, these
teams (n ¼ 9) were not included in analyses. Inter-
observer reliability was established in the following
way. We provided 32 independent assessors with
pictures of shirts of varying colours and asked them
to place each in one of our categories. Of our four
main colour categories, only one individual shirt was
classed as an alternative colour by a single assessor
(1 of 416, red classified as orange).
Differences in performance of teams wearing each
defined shirt colour (red, blue, white, yellow-orange)
were then formally tested using a Kruskal-Wallis
non-parametric test for differences between: mean
rank in the ‘‘home’’ league, mean % wins obtained at
home, and mean number of points per game at
home. This analysis was repeated for these same
teams on away form (when a range of different
colours have been worn), creating a second league
table on away performance alone. We hypothesized
that there would be a weaker, or absent, effect of shirt
colour for results away from home as a variety of
colours are worn by teams. Success of a club, and
choice of colour, may potentially be age-related, with
older clubs being more successful or having ‘‘first
choice’’ of the best shirt colour. To assess any
confounding effect of age, we determined the year of
entry into the Football League for each club. Club
age was not significantly related to either shirt colour
(Kruskal-Wallis test, w
2
¼ 4.531, d.f. ¼ 3, P ¼ 0.210)
or home performance (Pearson’s correlation with %
wins: r ¼ 70.112, P ¼ 0.365, n ¼ 68).
Within the top division (now the Premier League),
the most successful red football teams tend to be
associated with large English cities, so may have
access to more resources in terms of fan base and
financial support than teams situated in smaller cities
or towns. To exclude this potential bias, which may
explain the dominance of red teams as champions,
we performed a matched-pairs analysis of perfor-
mance from all English cities that provide supporters
with a choice of more than one league team and
where one of these teams plays in red shirts
(Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Bristol, Shef-
field, Stoke, plus two separate regions of Greater
London). For each pair of teams within a city, the
final league position in each year from 1947 to 2001
(range of available fine-scale data) was determined.
The football leagues were combined sequentially
(where champion ¼ 1) and the significance of the
difference between the mean league positions of each
pair of teams was calculated using a Wilcoxon signed
ranks test.
Results
The proportion of league champions since 1947
indicates the expected trend: teams with red shirts
winning substantially more often than expected on
the basis of their frequency (Figure 1). Teams of
other colours, in particular blue teams, have pro-
duced fewer champions than their representation
within the league would suggest. It is possible,
however, that these trends reflect the relative success
of just a few red teams year after year, so analyses that
treat each team as a single datum are required.
For the equivalent top three divisions, there
were significant differences between teams wearing
the four shirt colour categories in terms of their
overall performance at home (Figure 2a: home league
Table I. (Continued).
Rank Team Colour % wins Points/game
Division 3
45 Sunderland R 50.3 1.79
46 West Ham O 50.3 1.76
47 Sheffield Weds B 50.1 1.77
48 Stockport B 50.0 1.76
49 Bradford City Y 49.8 1.74
50 Carlisle B 49.7 1.74
51 Port Vale W 49.6 1.77
52 Barnsley R 49.6 1.75
53 Notts County O 49.5 1.74
53 Torquay Y 49.5 1.74
55 Huddersfield B 49.3 1.73
56 Norwich Y 49.2 1.76
57 Bury W 49.0 1.74
58 Oldham B 49.0 1.73
59 Coventry B 49.0 1.73
60 Hull Y 48.9 1.74
61 Watford Y 48.9 1.73
62 Chelsea B 48.7 1.73
62 Cardiff B 48.7 1.73
64 Blackpool Y 48.6 1.72
65 Newport County Y 48.6 1.70
66 Birmingham B 48.5 1.72
67 Shrewsbury O 48.3 1.72
68 Fulham W 48.2 1.71
Note: Data provided for % wins, mean points per game (as 3 points
for a win) and home shirt colour category (R ¼ red; B ¼ blue;
W ¼ white; Y ¼ yellow or orange; O ¼ other colours or combina-
tions (see text)).
Red shirt colour and success in English football 579
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rank, Kruskal-Wallis, w
2
¼ 8.460, d.f. ¼ 3, P ¼ 0.037;
Figure 2b: percentage wins, Kruskal-Wallis, w
2
¼
8.406, d.f. ¼ 3, P ¼ 0.038; Figure 2c: points per game,
Kruskal-Wallis, w
2
¼ 8.859, d.f. ¼ 3, P ¼ 0.031). Red
teams consistently showed the highest level of
performance, while yellow-orange teams achieved
the least success, particularly the mean ranking in
the ‘‘home’’ league table (Figure 2a). Teams with
yellow-orange shirts were the only group consistently
performing below teams with white shirts. There were
no significant differences between teams of each shirt
colour in terms of away performance (% wins,
w
2
¼ 1.052, d.f. ¼ 3, P ¼ 0.789). Red teams were
ranked lower in the ‘‘away’’ league than in the ‘‘home’’
league, while yellow-orange teams appear to have
better overall results when playing away (Figure 2c).
The overall distribution, however, is not significant
due to the comparative similarity of blue and white
teams’ home and away form (w
2
¼ 4.64, d.f. ¼ 3,
P 4 0.10).
In all but one city (Sheffield), the team playing in
red has been more successful since 1946 than the
other available team playing in a different colour
(Figure 3). Overall, the red teams have a significantly
better average league placing over this time period
(Wilcoxon signed rank test: Z ¼ 72.313, P ¼ 0.021,
n ¼ 8). There was no significant difference in
league joining dates between the two categories
(Z ¼ 70.631, P ¼ 0.528).
Discussion
We hypothesized that the use of a predominantly red
uniform would enhance the long-term success of
Figure 2. Performance of top ranked 68 football teams wearing each shirt colour at home from 1947 to 2003. (a) Mean league table position
when home form only is considered (ranked by % wins). (b) Percentage wins obtained at home, presented as the mean % for each shirt
colour. (c) Mean number of points per home game achieved by teams of each shirt colour (standardized as 3 points for a win across the whole
period). (d) Comparative ranking for teams of each shirt colour within ‘‘home’’ and ‘‘away’’ % win league tables, demonstrating that red
teams do not perform significantly better (P ¼ 0.789) away from home when often wearing different shirt colours.
Figure 1. Proportion of teams winning the English football league
(1947 2003) within each shirt colour category, together with the
proportion of shirt colours in the top ranked 68 football teams
since 1946. Statistical analysis is not possible due to non-
independence of data from year to year.
580 M. J. Attrill et al.
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football teams. Our findings support this hypothesis,
and also show that it does not appear to be wearing a
colour per se (relative to wearing white) that provides
an advantage, as yellow- and orange-wearing teams
performed particularly poorly. Hence, together with
previous results (Hill & Barton, 2005), our findings
suggest that the ‘‘red advantage’’ applies across a
range of sports, circumstances, and competitor
colours, perhaps rendering visibility differences
(Rowe et al., 2005) a less likely explanation than
psychological and/or hormonal responses (Hill &
Barton, 2005; Barton & Hill, 2005). Recent experi-
mental work also bolsters the idea that the psycho-
logical impact of red affects performance (Elliot,
Maier, Moller, Friedman, & Meinhardt, 2007). In
the study of Elliot and colleagues, simply viewing red
stimuli impaired performance, suggesting that one
broad class of mechanism for the effects in sport is a
psychological impact on opponents of red-wearing
individuals or teams. More work is required to
determine whether playing against red, wearing red
or both affect performance.
Although visibility is unlikely to be the sole
explanation for the effects reviewed above, we do
not argue that it plays no role at all. In distinguish-
ing the different types of effects, it will be important
to use more sophisticated measurements of uniform
and background colour. Colour is a function of
three dimensions: hue (e.g. red, green), value (or
lightness), and chroma (saturation), and each of
these dimensions may have distinct perceptual or
psychological effects. For example, the dominance
signalling hypothesis predicts that hues closest to
those produced naturally in the skin will have the
strongest effects on performance, whereas the
visibility hypothesis predicts that variables affecting
colour-background contrast should be influential,
independently of intrinsic hue. With the current
data set, we are unable to disambiguate the
potential effects of the three colour dimensions,
and believe that experimental manipulations will be
necessary to do so.
Morris (1981) suggested that football team colours
were tribal and symbolic, and that the conspicuous
nature of red gave teams wearing that colour a
psychological advantage, reflecting both the dom-
inance signalling (Barton & Hill, 2005; Hill &
Barton, 2005) and visibility (Rowe et al., 2005)
hypotheses. An additional factor in the long-term
trends documented here may be that success breeds
success, through the attraction of greater resources to
winning clubs over time. Teams wearing red may be
perceived as more attractive to paying supporters,
due directly to their success and, perhaps, also
indirectly due to the psychological association
between success and red. This brings an enhanced
resource base for successful red teams, so creating a
positive feedback process reinforcing this success.
However, this phenomenon may have changed
recently, with a shift in the source of finances to
major clubs from fans to individual benefactors.
Thus, the injection of large sums of money into
individual teams, irrespective of shirt colour, may
begin to override any selective advantage that has
built up over the last 50 years.
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582 M. J. Attrill et al.
... A B S T R A C T Attrill et al. (2008) conducted a far-reaching study in elite English soccer demonstrating in archival research that from 1946 to 2003 seasons, teams wearing red uniforms were more likely to win championships than teams in other uniform colors, won more at home and had a higher average league position (relative to cross-city rivals). Their study was one of only very few that extended the color-in-context theory (Elliot & maier, 2007) to team, ball-oriented long-duration sports. ...
... In light of the current findings and a growing body of research in the field we call into question overall color effects in this athletic context. Attrill et al. (2008) conducted commanding series of studies linking red uniform color to success in English soccer. Their study was archival, longitudinal and multi-faceted. ...
... Within the "Zeitgeist" of scrutinizing and reproducing scientific findings in the literature (e.g., Munafò et al., 2017;Nelson et al., 2018) the goal of the current investigation is to retest this important work and with the passage of time and the addition of data to conduct supplementary analyses. Attrill et al. (2008) extended earlier research by Hupka, Zaleski, Otto, Reidl, and Tarabrina (1997) in Olympic combat sports, which showed red uniform superiority over blue in seemingly natural-experiment conditions. This early groundbreaking study was further supported by additional archival research (Falcó et al., 2016;Vasconcelos & Del Vecchio, 2017). ...
Article
Attrill et al. (2008) conducted a far-reaching study in elite English soccer demonstrating in archival research that from 1946 to 2003 seasons, teams wearing red uniforms were more likely to win championships than teams in other uniform colors, won more at home and had a higher average league position (relative to cross-city rivals). Their study was one of only very few that extended the color-in-context theory (Elliot & maier, 2007) to team, ball-oriented long-duration sports. The current investigation returns to the red superiority hypothesis in professional soccer due to weaknesses in the original evidence for this hypothesis. We conducted two studies testing the red superiority hypothesis in professional soccer. In Study 1a, we first reanalyzed the original data and tested the strength of evidence in favor of the red superiority hypothesis. We then updated the English premier league data (1992-2018) and tested uniform color effects on game outcomes. In Study 2, we attempted to broaden the scope of Study 1 and increase statistical power by testing the red superiority effect during the last 20 years of six major European Soccer leagues (NOS
... Since the 1980s, researchers have been increasingly interested in examining the influence that colors have on sport performance. These studies have shown a broad scope of potential color effects, mostly focusing on the influence of the color red, ranging from a higher win percentage (Allen & Jones, 2014;Attrill et al., 2008;Hill & Barton, 2005), an increase in force production (Dreiskaemper et al., 2013;Elliot & Aarts, 2011;Green et al., 1982;Hasson et al., 1989), an increase in foul percentage and severity (Hagemann et al., 2008;Krenn, 2014), and higher values for perceived dominance and aggression (Akers et al., 2012;Briki & Hue, 2016;Feltman & Elliot, 2011;Krenn, 2015;Wiedemann et al., 2015). Many of these studies argue that red is implicitly linked to dominance and aggression, which might lead to a benefit in athletic performance (Elliot, 2015;Feltman & Elliot, 2011;Hill & Barton, 2005). ...
... Some studies have observed effects after asking participants to wear a colored outfit themselves, whereas others asked participants to perceive an opponent and/or an environment in specific colors. In addition, most color research in sports has focused mostly on combat sports, with a few exceptions of examining (ball-oriented) sports (Attrill et al., 2008;García-Rubio et al., 2011). Furthermore, most of these studies implemented a retroactive (Attrill et al., 2008;Hill & Barton, 2005) or video rating tasks design (Krenn, 2014(Krenn, , 2017. ...
... In addition, most color research in sports has focused mostly on combat sports, with a few exceptions of examining (ball-oriented) sports (Attrill et al., 2008;García-Rubio et al., 2011). Furthermore, most of these studies implemented a retroactive (Attrill et al., 2008;Hill & Barton, 2005) or video rating tasks design (Krenn, 2014(Krenn, , 2017. These methodologies are often not capable of systematically examining color effects in a stepwise manner (Elliot, 2015). ...
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This study examines the influence of wearing and perceiving colors in a cycling setting while also examining cortisol, heart rate, estimated maximum oxygen consumption, and subjective performance ratings. A total of 99 individuals completed the study, consisting of cortisol measurements, which compared baseline values to those after changing into a red or blue outfit, and a maximum cycling task performed wearing the same outfit while competing against a video opponent in red or blue. Each participant completed the protocol twice on separate days. Wearing a colored outfit showed no influence on cortisol levels. Regarding the cycling task, the participants wearing red had higher maximum heart rate values than when wearing blue. In addition, the results revealed increased maximum heart rate and maximum oxygen consumption values when perceiving an opponent in blue, especially when the participant also wore blue. No differences were found for the median heart rate or performance ratings.
... In turn, exposing the players to conditions where it may be harder to identify the teammates and opponents' (e.g., both teams wearing the same outfit or each player from each team using a different colour vest), and consequently lead to different movement behaviours as a result of the change in perceptual demands. In fact, previous reports have shown that the colour of players outfit seems to affect their performance [24,25]. For example, when considering the chances of winning at home in the English Premier league, Attrill, Gresty [24] found that the teams wearing red had a higher percentage of points achieved and higher mean position on the table compared other colours. ...
... In fact, previous reports have shown that the colour of players outfit seems to affect their performance [24,25]. For example, when considering the chances of winning at home in the English Premier league, Attrill, Gresty [24] found that the teams wearing red had a higher percentage of points achieved and higher mean position on the table compared other colours. In addition, it was shown that the colour outfit affects players' spatial perception, mainly their ability to properly identify the teammates positioning [25]. ...
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This study explored how manipulating the colour of training vests affects footballers' individual and collective performance during a Gk+6vs6+Gk medium-sided game. A total of 21 under-17 years old players were involved in three experimental conditions in a random order for a total of four days: i) CONTROL, two teams using two different colour vests; ii) SAME, both teams wearing blue vests; iii) MIXED, all 6 players per team wore different colour vests. Players' positional data was used to compute time-motion and tactical-related variables, while video analysis was used to collect technical variables. Further, these variables were synchronized with spatiotemporal data allowing to capture ball-related actions in a horizontal 2D plan. All variables were analysed from the offensive and defensive perspective. From the offensive perspective, players performed more and further shots to goal during the CONTROL than in SAME and MIXED (small effects) conditions, with a decreased distance to the nearest defender (small effects). While defending, results revealed lower distance to the nearest teammate (small effects) in the CONTROL than in the SAME and MIXED conditions, and higher team longitudinal synchronization (small effects). In addition, the CONTROL showed in general lower values of team width while defending than in the other 2 conditions. Overall, coaches may use the CONTROL condition to emphasize offensive performance and defensive behaviour over the longitudinal direction with increased physical demands. In turn, coaches may use the manipulation of players vests to emphasize defensive performance, as players seem to behave more cohesively under such scenarios. PLOS ONE PLOS ONE | https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.
... Context can include domain (e.g., red has positive associations in the attraction domain but negative associations in the achievement domain such as cognitive task performance) and type of task (e.g., red has positive effects on low-level, detail-oriented tasks but negative effects on high-level tasks that require mental manipulation; Elliot and Maier, 2014). At present, research has focused on investigating the presence of color influences in sports such as basketball (Goldschmied and Spitznagel, 2021), boxing (Gülle et al., 2016), cycling (Mentzel et al., 2021), ice hockey (Webster et al., 2012), judo (Dijkstra et al., 2018), jumping (Lam et al., 2017), rugby (Piatti et al., 2012), running (Mentzel et al., 2019), football (Attrill et al., 2008), taekwondo (Hill and Barton, 2005;Hagemann et al., 2008;Carazo-Vargas and Moncada-Jiménez, 2014;Falcó et al., 2016), wrestling (Hill and Barton, 2005), or Wushu Sanda (Vasconcelos and Del Vecchio, 2017). In this sense, there is evidence of a beneficial color effect, most for red color, in colored uniforms on sporting outcomes (Hill and Barton, 2005;Attrill et al., 2008;Piatti et al., 2012;Dreiskaemper et al., 2013;Sorokowski et al., 2014;Krenn, 2015;Vasconcelos and Del Vecchio, 2017), while other researchers did not find a benefit wearing a special color or even contradictory findings (Furley et al., 2012;Allen and Jones, 2014;Carazo-Vargas and Moncada-Jiménez, 2014;Goldschmied and Spitznagel, 2021). ...
... At present, research has focused on investigating the presence of color influences in sports such as basketball (Goldschmied and Spitznagel, 2021), boxing (Gülle et al., 2016), cycling (Mentzel et al., 2021), ice hockey (Webster et al., 2012), judo (Dijkstra et al., 2018), jumping (Lam et al., 2017), rugby (Piatti et al., 2012), running (Mentzel et al., 2019), football (Attrill et al., 2008), taekwondo (Hill and Barton, 2005;Hagemann et al., 2008;Carazo-Vargas and Moncada-Jiménez, 2014;Falcó et al., 2016), wrestling (Hill and Barton, 2005), or Wushu Sanda (Vasconcelos and Del Vecchio, 2017). In this sense, there is evidence of a beneficial color effect, most for red color, in colored uniforms on sporting outcomes (Hill and Barton, 2005;Attrill et al., 2008;Piatti et al., 2012;Dreiskaemper et al., 2013;Sorokowski et al., 2014;Krenn, 2015;Vasconcelos and Del Vecchio, 2017), while other researchers did not find a benefit wearing a special color or even contradictory findings (Furley et al., 2012;Allen and Jones, 2014;Carazo-Vargas and Moncada-Jiménez, 2014;Goldschmied and Spitznagel, 2021). ...
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Previous studies in taekwondo have considered the use of the manual scoring system or the electronic system with only the use of the electronic body protector. The objective of this study was to analyze the relationship between the color protectors and success in 1,327 taekwondo matches from six World Grand Prix Series of two 4-year Olympic periods when electronic body and head protectors are used. In the total sample, the results did not show a relationship between the match outcome and the color of the protectors ( p = 0.97, C = 0.001). For the individual six editions, the results showed a positive and strong relationship between wearing blue protectors and winning matches and one between wearing red protectors and winning matches ( p = 0.001, C = 0.19; p = 0.001; C = 0.19). Regarding the weight categories, 8 and 5 of 48 showed higher percentages of blue and red winners, respectively. Regarding sex, male competitors showed a positive relationship between blue color and winning the match in 6 of 24 weight categories, and wearing red and winning the match was shown in 2 of 24 weight categories. Female competitors showed a positive relationship between blue color and winning the match in 2 of 24 weight categories, and wearing red and winning the match was shown in 3 of 24 weight categories. When it comes to the influence of being a seeded athlete, the results did show a significant confounding effect on the color of the protectors worn by the winner of the match in 2 of 13 weight categories in which a color effect was observed ( p = 0.02, C = 0.28; p = 0.02, C = 0.28). In conclusion, wearing red does not provide a higher chance of winning the match. It seems that seeing red has a stronger effect than wearing red, especially in male contenders. Moreover, being a seeded athlete does not explain the result of the match. It seems that the introduction of the electronic helmet protector, in addition to the electronic body protector, made the scoring system more objective, decreasing the advantage of wearing red in winning matches.
... In competitive sports, Hill and Barton (2005) reported that athletes wearing red uniforms had a higher ratio of wins as compared with athletes wearing blue uniforms. This work provoked further interest in testing the advantages of wearing red uniforms although subsequent findings have been inconsistent (Attrill et al., 2008;Sorokowski and Szmajke, 2011;Piatti et al., 2012;Curby, 2016). One explanation for these inconsistent findings might be that many factors may affect the performance of athletes in competition, and the impact of color in this context might not be strong enough. ...
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Previous studies have shown that the color red can affect basic motor functioning. However, these studies utilized simple gross motor tasks rather than those assessing complex fine motor skills. Moreover, these empirical studies were theoretically based on the threat–behavior link in human and non-human animals, and neglected the relationship between arousal and motor performance. According to the Yerkes–Dodson law and the inverted-U hypothesis in sport psychology, for simple motor tasks, high arousal (associated with the color red) is more advantageous than low arousal (associated with the color blue); for complex motor tasks, low arousal (blue color) is more advantageous than high arousal (red color). The current research examined the effect of color on different kinds of motor skills (fine motor and gross motor) based on the inverted U-hypothesis. In Experiment 1, we examined the effect of red and blue on dart-throwing performance, whereas in Experiment 2, we examined the effect of red and blue on grip strength performance. The results showed that performance of fine motor skill (dart-throwing) in the blue condition was better than in the red condition, and performance of gross motor skill (handgrip) in the red context was better than in the blue context. These results indicate that the type of motor skill assessed moderates the influence of red and blue on motor performance.
... More importantly, the influence and belief of colour could simply reflect culture and sport-specific associations [33], which explains contradictory findings across studies. While some studies reported that participants/teams wearing red outfits won more games than those wearing blue outfits in English Premier League [34], no relationship between wearing red uniforms and advantages can be found in Spanish League [15]. Importantly, one plausible explanation is the participant belief in the effectiveness of the colour manipulation in landing or running task. ...
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The shirt colour worn by sportsmen can affect the behaviour of the competitors, but Hill and Barton show that it may also influence the outcome of contests. By analysing the results of men's combat sports from the Athens 2004 Olympics, they found that more matches were won by fighters wearing red outfits than by those wearing blue; they suggest that red might confer success because it is a sign of dominance in many animal species and could signal aggression in human contests. Here we use another data set from the 2004 Olympics to show that similar winning biases occur in contests in which neither contestant wears red, indicating that a different mechanism may be responsible for these effects.
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