I recently watched a player call so many in balls out the coach had to go onto the court to make the calls for him. This is a fifteen year old boy who knows better than to cheat. What is it that makes them cheat? If you had been at the match the previous day you would know. This poor young man was playing his match and struggling with some of his shots. Dad sat behind the fence adding his rather “negative” (I’ll be nice) thoughts about the young man’s ability. Frustrated the young man finally screams out “I am trying Dad!!!” My heart broke, you could hear how upset he was with disappointing his dad. So why did he cheat the next match? He was not going to disappoint his dad again! To my dismay, the father did not show any negative feelings about the bad line calls. What do we teach our kids?
Because junior tennis players have to enforce the rules of the game against each other, cheating to give a player an unfair advantage is common. While this deviant behavior is found to be commonplace in the sport, there is little research to investigate its cause or influences. Results indicated that junior players felt that personal and parental pressures were the most common sources of perceived pressure to win that resulted in cheating behavior. The prevalence of parents who cheat was also cited as a major issue with the participants. Implications as to how the current study adds to the literature of youth cheating as well as practical implications are discussed.
Cheating in youth tennis is a prominent issue. There are many opportunities to make a bad call or call the score in one’s favor without an outside spectator being able to overrule because the players make the…
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