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Publication Abstract

Signal Detection in American Football Play Calling: A Comprehensive Literature Review

Hicks, J., Wall, E. S., Shelly, Z., Jones, P. B., Burch V, R. F., & Reimann, W. (2019). Signal Detection in American Football Play Calling: A Comprehensive Literature Review. Applied Psychology. Cogent Psychology. 6(1), 1703471. DOI:10.1080/23311908.2019.1703471.

Signal detection in sports is fundamental to the organization and performance of both the individual athletes as well as the teams. Coaches and players often signal to each other to express plays or other relevant information. This research focuses on identifying the characteristics of successful signal implementation in a collegiate environment for American football and was conducted with inputs on play call design and signalling methods from an NCAA Division I football coaching staff. A comprehensive literature review approach was taken to extrapolate characteristics and factors that influence successful signal detection from a broad range of research. Key factors and characteristics were identified (i.e., physical and display characteristics, the environment, cueing, and signalling methods) through the review. Recommendations were made on factor implementation to enhance play call signal detection. Recommendations from the analysis to the football coaching staff include reduction of background noise, high contrast signals and signalling coach attire, cueing student-athletes to signal locations, and information for optimizing overall visual conspicuity of signals. Additional information is provided on encryption techniques and novel signalling methods. Results of this research will be used to ensure play call signals in the football environment are conspicuous and easily interpretable to the intended student-athletes.