Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Cheating and Tennis

I have a project idea for an enterprising psychology graduate student. Here's the hypothesis: competitive tennis players are more likely than average to cheat in school. This can be tested at the high school or college level. Players can be identified by their membership on their high school or college teams. Cheating can be measured by students subject to academic discipline. Unfortunately privacy rules probably prevent such a study.

My theory, unfortunately, is that tennis encourages cheating. Players make their own line calls in tournaments. We see cheating all the time and we see immense gains from cheating. It is very difficult to catch or stop a player from cheating. Opponents can request line judges, but the judges seldom stay on court for long. Even where umpires are on court, in college matches for instance, cheating still takes place.

So we have a situation where cheating is easy, rewarding, and has few negative consequences. My thesis is that this creates a habit of cheating that carries over into other aspects of tennis players lives.

I hope my theory is wrong.

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