Aggression in sports can be helpful. In some sports, aggression can be what is called instrumental aggression. Instrumental aggression occurs during the normal course of on-field action for an individual or team success (Stankovich, 2014). When a basketball player is on the court and fouls another player while going for a layup is an example of helpful aggression. The layup was being made to make points and help the team but the foul was still within the confines of the game because they happen while playing basketball.
Aggression in sports turns destructive when it is used to harm another player. When there is intent to harm another player by punching or pushing out of anger. Unfortunately, adult athletes have moments where they act out of anger and become aggressive on the court or the field and young athletes that play high school or college sports pay attention to this display of violence. The result of that is an action that becomes admired and sometimes emulated.
Intervention for athletes dealing with controlling their anger can be helpful. Having an athlete attend anger management classes could be good for the athlete. Being able to talk out what they are feeling with someone and being given tools to help control their anger. Cognitive-behavioral training is also a tool that can be used. There are also relaxation techniques and social problem-solving techniques that can also be used to help athletes overcome the negative emotion in sports.
Growing up, I was not a big sports player but I loved the game of volleyball. Reaching up to hit a served ball that barely came over the net and hitting the player that was standing under the net always sucked. I did not hit the player on the opposite team on purpose, it was a part of playing the game.
Week 3 Discussion: Understanding Emotion in Sport
Emotion plays an enormous part in sports, we see it in athletes, coaches, and even fans; they experience joy, sadness, anger, fear, anxiety, shame, guilt, pride, and in many cases aggression. In sport two factors must be present to consider a behavior as aggressive. First, the behavior must be aimed to another individual and their main goal is to inflict physical harm. Second, there must be reasonable expectations that inflicting harm to another human will be successful, this is when aggression becomes destructive. Throughout the years they have identified two forms of aggression known as hostile and instrumental aggression. Hostile aggression is when an individual engages in injuring another and having the intent of making the other individual suffer. Instrumental aggression is when an individual focus is to cause harm to conceive an external goal such as money, victory or prestige.
Although aggression can be viewed as destructive, it can be helpful if it is used in an assertive manner. According to Richard Cox (2012) assertiveness requires effort and energy, and it involves the use of appropriate physical and verbal effort to accomplish one’s purpose. Coaches encourage their athletes to be assertive to make their presence felt. To minimize the negative emotions in sport one must be able to: relax your body, listen to music to get in a right state of mind, learn from others and see how they are able to control their own emotions through high stressors, take control of yourself, talk to yourself, make it positive, and lastly, breathe deep breathes helps your heart rate to lower helping you relax. When certain situations like these arise, I usually tend to breathe, listen to music, or talk to others about the situation to see their point of view and how I can use it to surpass my anger.
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