On BWF Instant Reviews Line Calls

According to their site, BWF will try out camera control at the super-series finals in december this year 2013. Cameras will have been directed at lines to control line judges' and umpires' decisions of landing in or out of the shuttle. The idea behind it is that faulty calls occur by imperfect perceiving by humans. And that has to be improved. That hinders the play.
Players will have two challenges to contest a decision. They loose a challenge if they are wrong.
The human factor of the decision making about line calls would be minimized and unnecessary faults would be avoided.

Reactions of players are that they are glad with it. This technology will help minimize the number of faulty calls.

From where are the faulty line calls coming?
Line judges use different ways of looking at the shuttle if landing on a line. Some look at the shuttle appearing above the line, others at the cork, and yet others at the point on the round cork landing on the floor. Umpires use these different visions too. Also many distorted and biased percepctions happen. Umpires are not looking straight along the line and look from above on the feathers, and line judges are, if to few of them, set angled at two lines to look at.
Also, humans are not always in a good shape. Machines are.

Spectators are, by the way, blundering too when making for themselves the decision if the shuttle was in or out. It's very difficult to have an unbiased look at it even when sitting straight behind the line.
Also on tv and internet it is difficultly to see it right. That's clear when seeing the slowmotion images afterwards.

But players are blundeiring in the same way as spectators, line judges and umpires. Thereby do they have interests in wrong decisions in their advantage. They are clearly using the possibilities of uncertainty of umpires and hesitations about correctness of line judge's decisions. A kind of interests entanglement.

A solution of the incorrect judgements would be in advantage of matches, then being without dubious decisions about line calls and challenges.

The organisational system of the technical camera solution consists of a line judge calling in or out, the umpire taking a decision, the player challenging against it, the umpire warning an operator then, and the referee looking at the images and taking a definitive decision.

Is using such a system really necessary?
Is such an electronic system really worth being used?
Is it really working properly?
Will discussions become to an end?

When realizing the difficulties of perceiving if a shuttle is in or out, it appears that almost every faulty call is of a human nature. A psychological nature. Perceiving the landing of the shuttle clearly would eliminate almost every fault. Could such perceiving be possible?
It really seems to be possible. It's a question of instructing line judges and umpires in the right way.
Some of the umpires are clearly well motivated and very conscious of their task and the faults they could make. Right decisions by them can be observed. Others are jugding on routine and feeling and spontaneous acting. Faulty decisions can be observed then.
Linejudges might be instructed well instead of not. They could get a place straight behind and not to far away from a line.
Players could be informed and instructed as well on the right perceiving and judging of landing of shuttles. Despite of their expertise, they're obviously not infallible.
Informing the public could take away pressure on the decisions through understanding and contact.
All together, in fact, just a better perception and understanding of the shuttle landing, would eliminate almost every faulty call.

In fact every shuttle landing can called in or out. If the point of touching the floor is not seen out, it is in, or the other way round. A sporadic case of the shuttle landing in a way, that the point of impact occurs so close to the edge that it might be taken as impossible to perceive, a "let" could be used.
Stricktly speaking, a let for this reason doesn't exist. A line judge just sees the point of impact on the line or the edge of it, and makes his call.
But for this only, theoretical, case a camera could bring relief. But, unexpectedly, only partly. The problem just shifts to the precision of the camera, which of course could be replaced by a high definition camera. But that would finally end with an electron microscope.
However, as appeared already, just a better perception, understanding and instruction would be enough to keep a high standard of judging for calling the shuttle in or out.

Such a technical solution for fault calls wil not be an unfailing decision, as implecitly might be understood. These techniques have their weaknesses in respect to perceptions. A fast shuttle jumping on the rear line is difficultly to catch with a camera. There are other biases too as to the camera. The immages have to be sent then to the referee to be valued. Also these have their biases. A nice article on this:
"You cannot be serious! Public understanding of technology with special reference to “Hawk-Eye”'. Harry Collins and Robert Evans. Public Understand. Sci. 17 (2008) 283–308. www.sagepublications.com

Why does BWF want to use the expensive techical solution then?
It has advantages to show being a modern and innovative federation. Both for other enterprises, governments etcetera, and own member federations and individual members. Eyes are kept on world badminton.
Preoccupation is with lines calls as distraction away from own faults and responsibility. Calling unwanted decisions goes with tension. Making a machine responsible would be a pleasurable solution.
Players are resposible for their strokes. They hit many shuttles not perfectly, thus to short, to low, to high, to far in and sometimes out. And many of these imperfect strokes are avoidable. That sole shuttle that falls doubtfully just out belongs to this. Don't blame then the line judge for that, and take the own resposibility. If necessary, complain later on about the level of judgements, to improve them for all matches later.
Taking own responsibilty by officials and players would increase the standard of matches, by laying the emphasis on the play instead of on so-called mis-judgements.
Secretary General of BWF said, it will add to drama and excitement of superseries finals. Is BWF seeking drama and excitement in stead of better judgements and matches? Why this system tried only on tv court? Is the sport not any longer the best advertisement for itself?

A technical add for good judgement could much easier of techniques and organisation. Simple cameras used already by tv, and the possibiliy for the umpire to control directly in his chair the landing of the shuttle, would clear up almost every questionable decision. A "let" for the sole single unjudgeable landing is just the consequense of the inaccuracies that occur and belong to a badminton match. These are all in the game. Control over the game is much less than this kind of measurement.

After this solution of a problem of perception will BWF surely solve the other perception problems occurring in the badminton game. And get more attention through forcing the dramatic powers of public attention, rivalry and money.
Some perceptions at the edge: Various service faults, many kinds of temporizing, changing shuttles, coaching contacts, shouting, behaviors to line judges, debating with umpires, diving to wetten the floor to get some rest, talking just before serving, annoying the opponents, lighting, terrible music during the minute pauses.

Badminstrel

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