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Brit Psychologist Chimes In On Diving

  • Reuters , Friday, September 25, 2009 3:30 PM
Paul Morris, a psychologist with the University of Portsmouth in England, is trying to add some science to the debate about diving and referees' ability to determine a dive from a foul. According to Morris' research, in which he showed a group of respondents various films of fouls and dives, the average fan usually gets it right.

As part of his research, Morris believes he has identified four factors indicating that a player may have dived. Most notably, he highlights what he calls the "Archer's Bow," referring to the shape into which a diver's body bends while in the false act. In describing the form, Morris says: "The tackled player will put their arms back, often they will put them back behind their head, the legs will go up behind their bodies, their chest is stuck out and often their head will go back. What is interesting about that particular behavior is that you don't witness that in actual natural falls. If you are losing your balance you put your hands on either side to try to regain your balance. What you don't do is stick both hands over your head."

Morris suggests that referees use such a trigger as one piece of evidence that simulation has occurred. But Morris also admits that referees have an incredibly difficult job. Morris says that in addition to getting screened and deceived, " the referee isn't making a single decision, 'Is this a dive or is it not a dive?' He's also making a decision 'Was it a foul tackle?' You can have a foul tackle without a dive, you can also have a non-foul tackle with a dive."

 

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