Is bigger better? A response to the international tennis federation's 'bigger balls' proposal

Abstract

Technological change within sport receives attention within the media only when an athlete or team has contravened the rules within a sport. In this respect, the use and effect of technology and, indeed, its apparent importance is comparable to the use of drugs in sport. Governing bodies of sport are keen to ensure that technology does not become too dominant within a competition and will endeavour to justify policy decisions on the basis of some essentialist conception of their sport. Again, the approach taken by governing bodies in respect of new technology is comparable to approaches regarding drug use. Yet, there does not appear to be the degree of hysteria about new technology as there is in respect of drug use. Undoubtedly, this is somewhat reflective of the way in which drug use is perceived as having anti-social implications. However, if arguments against drug use are being made on the basis of them being unfair, then equally persuasive arguments can be made in the context of performance-enhancing technology.

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