Smart Soccer Goalies Should Wear Red

SATURDAY April 17, 2010 -- Soccer players are less likely to score on a penalty shot if the goalie is wearing red, a new study shows.

Researchers examined the performance and expectation of success of 40 university soccer players shooting against goalies wearing different-colored shirts. Each of the players took a total of 20 shots, 10 against a goalie wearing a shirt with black stripes and 10 against a goalie wearing a shirt with either blue, yellow, green or red stripes.

Before they took their shots, the players were asked to estimate how many goals they would score and how confident they were of their estimate.

The color of the goalie's shirt didn't affect how many goals a player believed he would score. However, the scoring success rate was lowest against a goalie in red (54 percent), followed by yellow (69 percent), blue (72 percent), and green (75 percent).

"These findings lend support to the idea that red clothing could give a sportsperson or team a small but meaningful advantage [one penalty in five] in a competitive encounter," study author Iain Greenlees, of the University of Chichester, said in a news release.

"It also has implications for sports in which a competitor is assigned a colored corner randomly, like boxing or martial arts in the Olympics," he added.

The study was presented Friday at the British Psychological Society's annual conference in Stratford-upon-Avon.

More information

The Association for Applied Sports Psychology offers resources for athletes.

Posted: April 2010


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