Stressful factors that inhibit linesmen judgement in high-level tennis.

Por: Christos Papadopoulos, Ermioni Katartzi, Konstantinos Salonikidis e Makrina Koskeridou.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Introduction

The aim of the present study was to investigate factors and situations, which cause stress in linesmen during a tennis match.

Methods

Participants for this study were 17 linesmen (mean age 23.65 ± 3.72 years) who had been selected and educated by the International Tennis Federetion (I.T.F). [1], in order to constitute the tennis officials team in the 2004 Olympic Games, in Athens. They participated in the present study, during the time that they officiated the Davis Cup Events (between Greek and Irish national teams), held in Athens, in July 2003.  The representation of the genders in the sample was 11 men (64.7%) and 6 women (35.3%). About their educational level, 76.5% (n=13) of the participants had university education, 11.8% (n=2) had polytechnic school education and 11.8% (n=2) had high school education.  For the purpose of the study participants filled in a questionnaire consisted of 50 close-ended and 1 open-ended questions.  A 5-point Likert scale [2] was used (1= "strongly disagree" to 5= "strongly agree").

Results

Frequency and descriptive statistical analysis showed that participants considered line judging, during the final round in tennis events, as the major stressful factor.  Less stressful factors in ranking order, are considered: a) fear of attention distraction in situations, in which they relax and they do not concentrate enough to make a call or hand signal, b) overruling by chair umpires, c) very fast services causing stress about making a decision, if the service is good, or fault, d) the visibility of the ball when the visual field is blocked by a tennis player, e) lack of adequate sleep which affects efficient officiating, f) making a clear mistake related to basic techniques, g) spectators’ disapprovals about their decisions, and  h) reaction of the chair umpire about making a hand signal "unsighted".

Discussion/Conclusions

Factors and situations which cause stress in linesmen during a tennis match may affect their judge performance and this may have an impact on high-level tennis players’ performance.  Taking in consideration that the linesmen, participated in the present study, will officiate in tennis events during the 2004 Olympic games, in Athens, it is obvious that they may affect tennis players’ performance. 

 

References

[1]. International Tennis Federation (2003). Duties and Procedures for Officials. London, I.T.F.

[2]. Likert, R. (1932). A technique for the measurement of attitudes. Archives of Psychology, 140.

 

 

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