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Tech1
Jun 24th, 2007, 05:32 AM
Fault! Disbelief as tennis study 'proves' female weakness


Heather Stewart, economics editor
Sunday June 24, 2007

It is a familiar scene. A hard-fought game of tennis reaches a key stage, then one player serves a string of double-faults and loses the match.

It's happened many times. Now economist Marco Daniele Paserman has discovered a new twist to this tale of lost nerves: many more women players than men stumble in this way. When it comes to dealing with nerves, the male is steadier than the female - and not just in sport, but in business as well, says Paserman, who works for the Centre for Economic Research.

He has come to this startling conclusion by scrutinising every point played in every match during four recent tennis Grand Slam tournaments, calculating whether players were more likely to fail at make-or-break moments. Paserman said he found women were more likely to make mistakes in the points that matter most. 'The propensity of women to commit unforced errors increases significantly with the importance of the point, while men's corresponding propensity is unaffected by point importance,' he told The Observer
Paserman said his results revealed 'robust gender difference in performance under pressure' and suggested they may have relevance far away from the tennis court. In particular, it explains women's under-representation in the upper echelons of the business world. In other words, Paserman believes he has uncovered 'a real gender difference in productivity, that is relevant for many contexts other than tennis'.

Women's under-representation at top levels in business are not a result of sexism, says Paserman. Their problem is that they lose their nerve when things get tough. Men, by contrast, keep cool.

Not surprisingly, not everybody agrees. Lynda Gratton, management writer and professor at London Business School, said an ability to whack a tennis ball across a net was not a good indicator of performance in the business world. 'I think the analogy is very thin. What happens in sport doesn't tell you very much about business,' she said. 'There isn't any evidence that I know of that women are any worse at working under pressure than men.'

She added that the strategies women tend to pursue, of co-operation and collaboration, were not helpful on the tennis court, but eminently suited to 21st-century business. 'This whole focus on competition just does not help you any more in business. It's not about putting people under pressure and seeing whether they win or not. The sports analogies are becoming thinner and thinner.'

W!MBLEDON
Jun 24th, 2007, 05:33 AM
This is all true.

CANDYCOATED
Jun 24th, 2007, 05:36 AM
I tend to agree

Look at Jennifer Capriati.

PERFECT EXAMPLE...she consistantly choked matches away, break point and so forth...those US OPEN SEMIS.......*cringe*

bang on...

Tech1
Jun 24th, 2007, 05:44 AM
I don't agree with the part about women and business

dreamgoddess099
Jun 24th, 2007, 05:57 AM
This article doesn't surprise me. I think that men on average generally have more confidence than women because society just doesn't judge them as harshly. We live in a society where women have to prove everything, while men get a free pass and are believed to be able to accomplish anything just because they are males.

Paneru
Jun 24th, 2007, 06:03 AM
BS!

How many times have we seen James Blake choke & crumble?
How many times in one match did we see Davydenko choke
& crumble against Federer in the French? How many times
have we seen chokes from players against Federer/Nadal?
How many times have we seen chokes from Federer against
Nadal?

As far as business, nope!

However, fact is that women in a society where the male
has been dominant since time began, they are set at a
disadvantage. Not at inteligence, but at social stigmas.
A stern businessman is a "strong leader". A stern
businesswoman is a "bitch". In a society where men have
such fragile egos, woman have more to fight against and
more to accomplish than simply the job at hand.

I guess if this makes some feel better,
then sobeit.

Bruno71
Jun 24th, 2007, 06:07 AM
What next? A study on softball players suggests that women can only do business underhand? Ridiculous! Baloney! I want Judge Judy to go kick this economists' ass!

mdterp01
Jun 24th, 2007, 06:08 AM
I agree with this article about men handling pressure better but there are plenty of successful women in business who are presidents, CEOs, and hold other various forms of executive positions in Fortune 500 companies. I think a lot of it also has to do with societal norms that are taught very early on in gender roles. Many girls are raised to be delicate little flowers and boys are taught not to cry or show too much emotion. So I don't think its so much nature in this situation as much as it is nurture.

10s4life
Jun 24th, 2007, 06:28 AM
i thought this was common knowlege. the womens games is equivalent to about a good male junior college level.

skanky~skanketta
Jun 24th, 2007, 06:35 AM
that's because as mentioned throughout this thread, women are always seen as inferior to the men. so, the situation is so much more significant. a man would not even be able to fathom how much pressure a woman has to go through.

BestShooterEver
Jun 24th, 2007, 06:46 AM
This article doesn't surprise me. I think that men on average generally have more confidence than women because society just doesn't judge them as harshly. We live in a society where women have to prove everything, while men get a free pass and are believed to be able to accomplish anything just because they are males.

Conversely women generally have an easier life in terms of pressure and expectations on professional achievement. An unemployed male would be looked down on far more than an unemployed female. Many girls openly admit there focus is to marry a rich guy and live off that (not accusing anyone here, just saying I hear it a lot from girls). Men are expected to be a professional/financial success.

:bounce:

skanky~skanketta
Jun 24th, 2007, 06:52 AM
Conversely women generally have an easier life in terms of pressure and expectations on professional achievement. An unemployed male would be looked down on far more than an unemployed female. Many girls openly admit there focus is to marry a rich guy and live off that (not accusing anyone here, just saying I hear it a lot from girls). Men are expected to be a professional/financial success.

:bounce:
while that's true, it has to be noted that because of this very fact, many women often face the problem of stunted career growth.

Jeff
Jun 24th, 2007, 07:02 AM
Well the thing that is important to point out, is that research results are unique to the individual study. The variables measured (in this case weakness), how they are measured, and how they are defined. Apparently this guy had footage for "every point played in every match during four recent tennis Grand Slam tournaments." Well I find that hard to believe that he watched every single player and every single point, but if this is the case, then his results are based on the average and not just the top players.

I think this is an interesting study (or I should say a potentially good study). The relation with women in the business world, well I'm not sure about that. There's not much mentioned in this article stating how he developed his hypothesis or why he decided to relate the two...i'm guessing it's written somewhere, because if it's not his research is bogus. Anyway, press releases rarely give the full details of a research analysis, even though it's important. I'm guessing this will break way for more follow-up studies on this, though.

DutchieGirl
Jun 24th, 2007, 07:05 AM
BS!

How many times have we seen James Blake choke & crumble?
How many times in one match did we see Davydenko choke
& crumble against Federer in the French? How many times
have we seen chokes from players against Federer/Nadal?
How many times have we seen chokes from Federer against
Nadal?

As far as business, nope!

However, fact is that women in a society where the male
has been dominant since time began, they are set at a
disadvantage. Not at inteligence, but at social stigmas.
A stern businessman is a "strong leader". A stern
businesswoman is a "bitch". In a society where men have
such fragile egos, woman have more to fight against and
more to accomplish than simply the job at hand.

I guess if this makes some feel better,
then sobeit.

:yeah: Nice post!

Midnite Surfer
Jun 24th, 2007, 07:57 AM
How does this account for women like the Williams sisters and Henin who seem to thrive under pressure. Human beings are too special and diverse to pin down an entire gender with a survey.

BestShooterEver
Jun 24th, 2007, 08:04 AM
Well, there is a exceptions to all generalizations. Henin and Serena are at the top of the spectrum of pressure players in women's tennis.

fufuqifuqishahah
Jun 24th, 2007, 08:43 AM
How does this account for women like the Williams sisters and Henin who seem to thrive under pressure. Human beings are too special and diverse to pin down an entire gender with a survey.

maybe it means they know how to turn off their female and turn on their male hormones at the right moment. sorta like a power ranger type of thing.

miffedmax
Jun 24th, 2007, 09:47 AM
I suspect this has more to do with the fact that men tend to focus on a single task better than women. (Whereas women are better at multitasking) and has very little to do with "handling pressure."

lecciones
Jun 24th, 2007, 09:47 AM
OOOOOH interesting, but women make for the ebst networkers, so they still have an important place in the business world. Anyway there will always be exceptions to a rule.

lecciones
Jun 24th, 2007, 09:51 AM
I suspect this has more to do with the fact that men tend to focus on a single task better than women. (Whereas women are better at multitasking) and has very little to do with "handling pressure."

Yes this is a very good post, especially since women early on were tasked with home activities so she had to do simultaneous things at the same time to keep the household up and running. And at the same time to give orders etc to the many house servants etc. :P So the networking skills hahahaha.

manu
Jun 24th, 2007, 10:10 AM
I'm curious as to how he objectified his findings.

For example: on an important point, there is always one player who will lose the point and always one player who will win the point! That's the same for women and for men. Who is the 'mentally weak' player then? The player who didn't convert a breakpoint or the player who couldn't save the breakpoint? It's really all about personal opinion, which is why I have my doubts about this study...

BestShooterEver
Jun 24th, 2007, 10:43 AM
Well I know I've seen a lot more women double-fault on important points than I've seen men. Although the serve in women's tennis is so weak compared to men so maybe the double-faults on important points are just a bi-product of there being so many more double-faults overall due to the weak serve.

jazar
Jun 24th, 2007, 11:15 AM
its all true

DISARONNO
Jun 24th, 2007, 12:22 PM
What this guy is saying seems very logical, in fact for anyone who has been paying attention in society, his conclusion is nothing new.

Although one could question how he interpreted the outcome of this investigation. For example when a player is breakpoint down he or she is likely to want to do something extra to win the point, since it is such an important point. He or she may therefore consciously choose to take more risk on that specific point and wellÖ when you take a risk, it could blow up in your face. That does not necessarily mean the player choked under pressure, but rather that they might have chosen to take the risk, which is a brave thing to do. Also the serve in the womenís game is obviously less of a weapon, therefore men can more easily get rid of breakpoint by hitting a good serve. Women on the other hand canít do this which means they will have more difficulty getting rid of the break points. So when does a player supposedly crack under pressure? However female players do tend to get more emotional on the court which doesnít help when trying to keep your cool.

I think this is an interesting subject, so let me expand:

In general women will definitely crack more easily under pressure. When you look at the origins of our human species, the men were responsible for the defence of the family or group; also they were responsible for hunting and killing prey to put food on the table. Both in the defending and the hunting, physical strength was not the only important factor. When hunting or defending you have to take risks, take the initiative and perform under extreme pressure. The women were more responsible for the gathering of food from trees and what not, taking care of the nest (house) and taking care of the children. Obviously these activities require less risk taking and less performing under pressure.

Just because we live in a very protected society these days in the west where there is stability, prosperity and people can dial 911 when there is a problem, means most people are no longer confronted with the obvious differences between men and women on a daily basis. In the Netherlands women have been outperforming men in terms of education for many years, still however many more men lead organizations or start their own companies. Women are a smart as men and they are even more willing to work hard than men. Leading a company or organization however means the pressure of responsibility and having to perform. Men are more comfortable with that kind of pressure than women. In a similar way most crimes are also committed by men, since it involves taking initiative, taking risks and performing under pressure. Women tend to want to play save and they also tend to want to avoid risks and pressure.

Itís obvious: Women can be just as mean as men and with the use of weapons, physical strength has become a non-issue in crime, women still however commit much less crimes than men. Similarly women can be just as smart as men and they are often even more willing to work hard to get a degree for example, despite this there are more self-made rich men than there are self-made rich women. Men run a lot more companies and hold many more important functions in the world. Is anyone beginning to see a pattern here? I donít think this investigation is anything special, his conclusion however is spot on.

To be clear I have nothing against women, I love them. In fact the average woman to me seems to come across even smarter than the average guy. I think women should be able to achieve anything they want and I think they could. However the average woman is definitely less keen on taking risks, performing under pressure and in general women tend to be more passive. It has everything to do with our biological background as a species. It does not make anyone inferior or superior, just different. And yes of course there are plenty of women who are exceptions to the rule, there are thousands of exceptions. There are billions of women on this planet.

LCS
Jun 24th, 2007, 01:32 PM
:rolleyes:

Martian Willow
Jun 24th, 2007, 01:52 PM
Hes not comparing like with like. You wouldn't compare top level mens and womens football and then apply your findings to the entire male and female population. There is a huge difference in level between the two, and the same is true of tennis to a slightly lesser extent.

canoe.
Jun 24th, 2007, 02:11 PM
Marco has mummy issues, and desperately needs to get laid. I kept waiting to read that he thought girls had cooties.

I wonder how many times Cash and Gimblestob will reference this article.lol.

10s4life
Jun 24th, 2007, 02:22 PM
How does this account for women like the Williams sisters and Henin who seem to thrive under pressure. Human beings are too special and diverse to pin down an entire gender with a survey.

u mean like that 6-0, 5-4 lead justine lost in miami, doublefaulting on matchpoint? or serena and venus's dismal records over the last 2 years?

miffedmax
Jun 24th, 2007, 02:42 PM
The biggest problem with the study, of course, is that he clearly should have eliminated Dementieva from the sample. If you did, I'm sure that the stats on double faults for women and men would be nearly equal.