Loud noises are distracting. This may seem self-evident, but it’s apparently never been properly studied—at least in the context of tennis matches—until now.
A report coauthored by UH Manoa psychology professor Scott Sinnett and published this week in the online Public Library of Science ONE aimed “to determine if it is reasonable to conclude that a tennis grunt interferes with an opponent’s performance.” Participants watched footage of a player hitting a tennis ball and were asked to accurately indicate the direction of each shot. When grunts were introduced, accuracy went down.
Whether the study will lead to a ban on guttural exclamations at Wimbledon is unclear, but we hope researchers will move on to another burning sports question: does drinking beer improve your golf swing?