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Chapter 23: Aggression in Sport

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1 Chapter 23: Aggression in Sport

2 Session Outline Aggression in contemporary sport What is aggression?
Causes of aggression Aggression in sport: Special considerations Implications for practice

3 Aggression in Contemporary Sport
NBA Pistons–Pacers brawl NHL player Bertuzzi’s blindsided punch broke vertebra of competitor Steve Moore Local youth ice hockey coach conducted a drill where players practice fighting

4 What Is Aggression? Any form of behavior directed toward the goal of harming or injuring another living being who is motivated to avoid such treatment (Baron & Richardson, 1994)

5 Criteria for Aggression
Aggression is a behavior. Aggression involves harm or injury (physical or psychological). Aggression is directed toward a living organism. Aggression involves intent.

6 Types of Aggression Hostile or reactive aggression: The primary goal is to inflict injury or psychological harm on another. Instrumental aggression: Occurring in the quest of some nonaggressive goal.

7 Distinction Between Instrumental and Reactive Aggression
It is too simplistic to think of instrumental and reactive aggression as a simple dichotomy (they are opposite ends of a continuum). The clear majority of instrumental aggressive acts occur in conjunction with some type of reactive process. At times aggression might involve elements of both hostile and instrumental aggression.

8 Causes (Theories) of Aggression
Instinct theory Frustration–aggression hypothesis Social learning theory Revised frustration–aggression theory General model of aggression

9 Causes of Aggression Instinct theory:
People have an instinct to be aggressive, which builds up until it must be expressed (directly or via catharsis). There is no support for this theory. Frustration–aggression hypothesis Aggression is the direct result of a frustration that occurs because of goal blockage or failure. There is no support for this hypothesis. (continued)

10 Causes of Aggression (continued)
Social learning theory Aggression is learned through observing others (modeling) and then having similar behavior reinforced. There is support for this theory. (continued)

11 Causes of Aggression (continued)
Revised frustration–aggression theory Combines elements of frustration–aggression theory with social learning theory. Frustration does not always lead to aggression. It increases the likelihood of aggression by increasing arousal, anger, and other thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Increased arousal and anger result in aggression only when socially learned cues signal the appropriateness of aggression in the situation. There is support for this theory. (continued)

12 Figure 23.1

13 Causes of Aggression (continued)
General aggression model Aggression occurs as a result of a complex process mediated by one's thoughts, feelings, and emotions and resulting from the interaction of numerous personal and situational factors. Support.

14 Aggression in Sport: Special Considerations
Spectator aggression is associated with small-scale, on-the-field aggressive acts; aroused conditions; alcohol use; younger, disadvantaged male spectators; and (in some cases) fan enjoyment. (continued)

15 Aggression in Sport: Special Considerations (continued)
Game reasoning and aggression: Many athletes view aggression as inappropriate in general but appropriate in the sport environment. This is called bracketed morality. Aggression and athletic injuries: Evidence is amassing to show that aggressive play is related to athletic injuries. (continued)

16 Aggression in Sport: Special Considerations (continued)
Athletic performance and aggression: No clear pattern has been found, but professionals must decide if they value enhanced performance at the cost of increased aggression. Team moral atmosphere and aggression: Team norms also contribute to the moral atmosphere that influences aggression in athletes as well as coach and peer influences. (continued)

17 Aggression in Sport: Special Considerations (continued)
Sport-specific aggression determinants include athletes behaving aggressively because someone has committed aggression against them, they are highly ego-oriented and have a low level of moral development, they want to show how tough they are, they see it as part of their role, and they feel group pressures to be aggressive. (continued)

18 Aggression in Sport: Special Considerations (continued)
Gender differences: Males exhibit high frequencies of aggression when compared to females. Cultural differences: Aggression in Chinese athletes and Western populations were very similar. Chinese athletes ruminated more about the aggression, suggesting that members of a collectivist culture are less likely to accept aggression as a means of goal achievement.

19 Implications for Practice
Recognize when aggression is most likely to occur: When people are frustrated and aroused (often when losing or when they perceive unfair officiating, are embarrassed, are physically in pain, or are playing below capabilities). Note: Losing by a large margin, losing to an opponent one is outplaying, and playing poorly are especially important situations related to aggression. (continued)

20 Implications for Practice (continued)
Control aggression via stress or emotion management training. Keep winning in perspective. Distinguish between aggression and assertive or intense play. Teach nonviolent conflict resolution skills. Teach appropriate behavior. (continued)

21 Implications for Practice (continued)
Establish team norms. Control spectator aggression. Develop strict alcohol control policies. Immediately penalize spectators for aggressive acts. Hire officials who don’t tolerate aggression. Inform coaches that aggression won’t be tolerated. Work with media not to glorify aggressive acts.

22 Playing Tough and Clean Hockey Intervention
Session 1: The notion of aggression as macho or cool is de-emphasized and empathy and compassion for opponents emphasized. Distinction made between aggressive (dirty) and assertive (clean) play. Session 2: The role emotions in hockey and how one’s emotions are related to aggression are discussed. The importance of controlling emotions via deep breathing is emphasized. (continued)

23 Playing Tough and Clean Hockey Intervention (continued)
Session 3: A four-step plan for controlling emotions. Steps are: Respond positively to emotions, identify one’s emotional hot buttons, develop a new response to emotional hot buttons, and develop a practice strategy to practice on-ice emotional control. The 3R (respond, relax, refocus) emotional management routine is taught to the players. (continued)

24 Playing Tough and Clean Hockey Intervention (continued)
Sessions 4, 5, and 6: Arousal and stress management techniques like goal setting and imagery are taught, practiced, and self- monitored by players. Sessions 7, 8, and 9: Players practice skills and use them in games. Self-regulation is emphasized, goals are set, and emotions are self-monitored. Game video is reviewed and discussed.

25 ISSP Position Stand on Aggression and Violence in Sport
Recommendation 1: Management should make fundamental penalty revisions so that rule-violating behavior results in punishments that have greater punitive value than potential reinforcement. Recommendation 2: Management must ensure proper coaching of teams, particularly at junior levels, that emphasizes a fair-play code of conduct among participants. (continued)

26 ISSP Position Stand on Aggression and Violence in Sport (continued)
Recommendation 3: Management should ban the use of alcoholic beverages at sport events. Recommendation 4: Management must make sure facilities are adequate regarding catering and spacing needs and the provision of modern amenities. (continued)

27 ISSP Position Stand on Aggression and Violence in Sport (continued)
Recommendation 5: The media must place in proper perspective the isolated incidents of aggression that occur in sport rather than make them “highlights.” Recommendation 6: The media should promote a campaign to decrease violence and hostile aggression in sport, which involves the participation of athletes, coaches, management, officials, and spectators. (continued)

28 ISSP Position Stand on Aggression and Violence in Sport (continued)
Recommendation 7: Coaches, managers, athletes, media, officials, and authority figures (i.e., police) should take part in workshops on aggression to ensure they understand the topic and ways it can be controlled. Recommendation 8: Coaches, managers, officials, and the media should encourage athletes to engage in prosocial behavior and should punish those who perform hostile acts. (continued)

29 ISSP Position Stand on Aggression and Violence in Sport (continued)
Recommendation 9: Athletes should take part in programs aimed at helping them reduce behavioral tendencies toward aggression. The tightening of rules, imposing of harsher penalties, and changing of reinforcement patterns are only parts of the answer to inhibiting aggression in sport. Ultimately, the athlete must assume responsibility.

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