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Friday, September 25, 2009

A Psychologist Tackles Diving in Professional Soccer

Sigmund Freud Smoking


It is one of the ills of modern football; however, little seems to be done to rid the game of this childish, cheating behavior.

Each year, it seems to draw the same criticisms, along with new controversies. Such as the one involving Eduardo da Silva of Arsenal against Celtic Glasgow in the Champions League. Recently, UEFA overturned a two-game ban on the Croatian star.

But was that proper? Please watch the video, and the position of Eduardo's arms.

What drives players to do this repeatedly, and why do managers allow it? Why don't referees and other authorities clamp down on the offenders?

Dr. Paul Morris of the University of Portsmouth

Dr. Morris has studied the phenomenon of diving (also known as simulation) in great detail.

Here were some of his findings:

"In most dishonest tackles the behaviour itself does not indicate dishonesty, the deception is revealed in the timing and co-ordination of the behaviours.
But one action is unique to a faked fall - the archer's bow.

This occurs in many dives but biomechanically it does not occur in a natural fall.

Instead, instinctively the arms either go down in an attempt to cushion the fall or out to the side for balance.

Although this behaviour is absurd, the fraudulent footballer does it to try to deceive the referee into believing that the tackle was illegal, and the histrionics are necessary to get the referee's attention in the first place.

This behaviour has no national boundaries, everyone does it, it even occurred unprompted during our research trials.

Dr Morris said that a player who positioned his body into this 'peculiar' shape to show that he had been fouled as a result of a tackle looked 'quite bizarre'.

He said: Moving the body like this is completely controlled behaviour so it clearly doesn't show a genuine fall.

'The moment both arms go above the shoulder is a clear indication of deception.' "

Source: The Telegraph, 15 September 2009, "Psychologists to help Referees Spot Football's Divers."

Some Suggestions
  • Red card the offending player as a deterrent.
  • Employ another official directly behind the goal to assist the match referee in situations such as these.
  • Set up a video review panel with referees, managers, players, and domestic FA leaders.
  • Managers need to punish their own players.
  • Teach younger players in academies that this is not fair play.
Anytime I see modern day players engaging in this behavior, I remember the great stars from the past. Two names come to mind: George Best and Pele.' They stayed on their feet despite fervent attempts to take them down. They didn't need to deceive a referee to give them anything that wasn't earned by their own diligence, talent, and desire.

What do you think about this issue, and how would you address it?

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