Questionable line calls are a part of tennis. I truly believe the majority of players regardless of age do their best to make honest calls. Certainly players make mistakes and either miss a call (in or out) but they do not do it intentionally. So what do you do when you run into a player who makes “creative line calls?”
The very first thing I tell players is that when they know for certain their opponent is cheating them it means they are literally minutes away from winning the match. When a player turns to cheating what it really says is that in their mind they believe they can no longer beat their opponent straight up so they must revert to cheating. Cheating or “creative line calls” are a tell tale sign that a player is about to crack in a match. As long as the player on the receiving end of the cheating realizes that it is a sign of an opponent beginning to crack and keeps their emotions in check it can actually turn into a positive.
Perhaps the most important thing I tell a player is that no matter how many times they get cheated or think they got cheated NEVER intentionally cheat an opponent to try and even up the score. For junior players you have to understand that telling a child it is ok to cheat, regardless of the circumstances, is giving permission to do something dishonorable. Character development is so important for youth and at all times regardless we must always teach and take the high road. My friend Coach Kriese sums it up best by saying, “never dishonor the game or bring shame to your family name.”
Those two pieces of information are real diamonds of wisdom to share with players in dealing with “creative line calls.” If you are interest in a whole different way about calling lines take a look at the Fair Play Line Call System my friend, Coach Dave Fish, at Harvard wrote about.