Aggressive Behavior in Sports By John Dorsa University of Louisiana at Lafayette KNES 443 11/16/12 Aggressive Behavior in Sports In the dictionary, aggression is defined as “a behavior that is forceful, hostile, or attacking. There have been studies showing the connection between aggressive behavior and sports. According to Singh and Tomar’s “Aggression in Athletics: A Comparative Study”, aggression in today’s society is applauded rather than shunned. Sports are the only place, outside of war, where aggression is acceptable. The attitude is to “win at all costs”.
Most aggression results from frustration. Some aggression, where people are injured, outside of the rules of the game, is becoming a problem in today’s society. However, not all aggression is bad. The word “aggression” is derived from Latin and means “to work towards”. Coaches were surveyed and asked to list qualities of a successful athlete. Aggression was high on the list of all of the coaches. Sports give aggressive people the opportunity to let off some steam, in an organized fashion, rather than having a person act out in society.
Aggressive people need some form of physical contact or competition, and sports give them the perfect opportunity to channel their anger towards some good. An athlete needs some type of aggression because it is what motivates that athlete to perform to their best ability. Sports, such as football, require so much physical contact that players need to play with some passion; otherwise they are no good to their team. An aggressive person is highly motivated, demonstrates great realize of physical energy, and not inhibited by fear of potential injury. This does not only apply to playing physical.
Mental aggression is also a key in sports. Having aggressive behavior can benefit athletes because it allows them to get into their opponents’ heads, thus giving them an advantage. However, verbal aggression can be bad as well. Too much talking can lead to an altercation where someone can get hurt. Therefore, aggressive behavior is vital in all aspects of sports. A sports competition without aggression is like a body without a soul. Frank, M. , Gilovich, T. (1988) Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 54(1), (pp. 74-75). Abstract: Black is viewed as the color of evil and death in virtually all cultures.
With this association in mind, we were interested in whether a cue as subtle as the color of a person’s clothing might have a significant impact on his or her behavior. To test this possibility, we examined whether professional football and ice hockey teams that wear black uniforms are more aggressive than those that wear nonblack uniforms. An analysis of the penalty records of the National Football League and the National Hockey League indicates that teams with black uniforms in both sports ranked near the top of their leagues in penalties throughout the period of study.
On those occasions when a team switched from nonblack to black uniforms, the switch was accompanied by an immediate increase in penalties. The results of two laboratory experiments indicate that this finding can be attributed to both social perception and self-perception processes—that is, to the biased judgments of referees and to the increased aggressiveness of the players themselves. Our discussion focuses on the theoretical implications of these data for an understanding of the variable, or “situated,” nature of the self. Are teams with black uniforms more aggressive than teams with nonblack uniforms?
Because black is seen as a color of evil in most cultures, it is believed that the color black brings out a more aggressive side to a person. Therefore, teams wear black uniforms as a form of intimidation. However, is there really a connection between black uniforms and aggressive play? This article debates whether or not teams that wear black uniforms are considered more aggressive than teams with lighter color uniforms. Research was done in the National Football League and National Hockey League, because those are two of the most physical sports in American Society.
After analysis, researchers found that there was a direct correlation between black uniforms and penalties. The Oakland Raiders wear black uniforms and they were called for more penalties than a team with non-black uniforms in the 1988 NFL season. Therefore, teams with black uniforms are more aggressive than teams with nonblack uniforms. The results of this study indicate that both social perception and self-perception are affected by the use of black uniforms. An example of social perception is when someone sees a person wearing all black, that person’s first thought is that the person is very dark and probably an unpleasant person.
Also, if a team shows up to a game in all black, there is good chance the other team could be intimidated by the team in black. Thus, giving the team in black a competitive edge before the game has even started. Self-perception is the way you view yourself. When someone puts on a black jersey, they feel much tougher than if the jerseys were a lighter color, such as yellow or green. That attitude of toughness can directly translate into the game. The player wearing black will play more physical because of his self-perception of wearing black jerseys.
If you feel good about yourself, you are going to do better because you are confident. The same can be applied with black jerseys. When you are wearing a black jersey there is a sense of aggressiveness that goes with it. The Oakland Raiders are a good example for this theory. The Raiders wear all black jerseys with silver numbers, and are known as a very physical football team. Also, their stadium is called “The Black Hole”, which is a very tough stadium to play in due to the team’s die-hard fans, who also wear black. This makes “The Black Hole” a very intimidating place to play.
In sports, there must be a high level of aggression in order to play well. Aggressive play is a key factor in all elite sports. Playing with violent passion can help set the tone for the entire game. Being aggressive gives a player a mental and physical edge over an opponent. Singh, R. , Tomar, R, (2009). Aggression in Athletics: A Comparative Study. Ovidius University Annals, Series Physical Education and Sport/Science, Movement and Health. 12(1), (pp. 31-35). Abstract: By nature human beings are competive and ambitious for the excellence in all athletic performances.
Not only every man but every nation wants to show their supremacy by challenging the other nation. Thus these challenges stimulates, inspires, and motivates all the nations to sweat and strive to run faster, jump higher, throw further in present competitive sports world. Aggression has long been a part ofthe sports domain. Outside of wartime, sport is perhaps the only setting in which acts of interpersonal aggression are not only tolerated but enthusiastically applauded by large segment of society. In fact Lorenz advocates that sport ought to be substitute for war.
In other words, because all competitive sports situations hold some degree of hostility between opponents, participants in them allows aggression to be dissipated in an acceptable manner. In this study, throwers and jumpers, of the 65th All India Interuniversity meet, were given questionnaires to determine how much aggression each group had. It was discovered that the throwers were more aggressive than the jumpers. The main reason for throwers being more aggressive could be the use of implements in all the throwing events which might create more aggression in athletes as compared to jumpers.
Further, the physique and body structure of throwers could be other reasons for aggressiveness in throwers than in jumpers. However, it was determined that both athletes have some form of aggression. Because of sports in today’s society, it seems that it is acceptable to show aggressive behavior. By nature human beings are competitive and ambitious for the excellence in all athletic performances. Outside of wartime, sports are the only setting in which acts of aggression are not only tolerated, but applauded by society.
There was found to be different levels of aggression depending on which sport. Aggression is derived from Latin and means “to work towards”. This is usually the goal of a team, to “work towards” a common goal. “An aggressive act can be defined as those which the athlete (1) is highly motivated (2) demonstrate the great realize of physical energy, and / or (3) is not inhibited by fear of potential fracture or injury” (J. M. Silva et al, 1984). When coaches were surveyed about what qualities make up a successful athlete, aggression was very high on that list among all coaches.
Most aggression results from frustration, but when channeled correctly in sports, it can be very beneficial for an athlete. The athlete will be more motivated when they are angry and will show great energy. Sports competition without aggression is like a body without a soul. In other words, there must be some form of aggression in sports or it wouldn’t be able to work. The results of this study will be helpful for coaches in assessing the aggression of their players and plan training programs accordingly. Dziubinski, Z. (2007). A Sociological Attempt at Explaining Aggression in Sport.
Research Yearbook. 13(2), (pp. 204-205). Abstract: This paper discusses the phenomenon of aggression in sport from a sociological point of view. The phenomenon is explained with classic sociological terms such as socialization, social control, conformism and deviance. Among other things, the paper employs the functionalistic-structuralist theory and symbolic interactionism. Apart from describing the mechanisms which generate aggression/deviance, the paper also proposes activities which may help moderate aggressive behaviors of sport supporters.
The writers unequivocally establish that the most efficient and far-reaching way to prevent aggression in stadiums is not repression and penalization, but prevention in form of projects meant to enhance and consolidate socialization mechanisms. Giddens describes the socialization process as “the process people learn and acquire skills, norms, values, and patterns of behavior, they mold their personalities and define their own identities, they learn specific attitudes and specific social roles” (Dziubinski 205). People become what societies they live in want them to be.
Sometimes people do not become what it is that society wants of them. When a person strays away from the norm, their behavior is known as deviant. This article will focus on negative deviance , including aggressive behaviors of fans and football players. Aggressive behavior of a football supporter is an example of deviant behavior. The supporters’ ultimate goal is to achieve a victory in the game. However, appropriate measures are not always taken, such as good and efficient team play. Deviant supporters will harass players on the other team in order to get in their opponents’ heads.
The behavior of the supporter is different from the norm and turns into criminal offenses. Efforts should not be focused on putting away these deviants, but creating an atmosphere that is advantageous for socialization. This can be said for athletes as well. Many elite athletes come from a bad childhood, in which crimes are being committed everywhere. These kids try to fit into the norm, which in this case, is a deviant norm. The children grow up around all of this violence and believe that this is normal life. The person then begins acting aggressive in society. The supporter identifies himself or herself as a deviant and perceives the deviant behavior as socially accepted, which pushes the person even deeper into the role” (Dziubinski 207). According to this article, the solution is to show the person an advantageous condition to let out their aggression. For example, if someone is naturally aggressive, they should be introduced to a contact sport, such as football, so that they can channel that anger into a positive. By doing this, the norm is changing for the person.
That person realizes that the previous behavior is not accepted, and therefore, can change their ways. For many athletes this was the case. They realized that the way they were acting would not end well for them. They have seen too many of their friends either end up in prison or dead, thus motivating the person to make a change for the better. Football is a perfect sport for an inherently aggressive person due to the amount of contact in the sport. This is an easy transition to make because they can still go out and hit people within the context of the game.
This socialization will help keep a person out of trouble, while still conforming to the norm of society. Schwery, R. , Cade, D. (2009). Sport as a Social Laboratory to Cure Anomie and Prevent Violence. European Sport Management Quarterly. 9(4), (pp. 469-482). Abstract: Sport’s relationship with aggression, violence and hooliganism is not a new phenomenon. Evidence suggests that it has existed ever since competition began in ancient civilizations. Sport is a mirror of society. With the process of civilization, sport has no doubt become less brutal.
In the last few decades there has been a growing interest in sport’s use as a catalyst for development. This article discusses the therapeutic role that sport can have to cure a general loss of orientation (anomie) and to prevent aggression and violence. Its success depends on guidance and the rules that are set for institutionalized sport. The article attempts to highlight how government, NGOs and sport organizations can work together to use stadiums and other sport-settings as a social laboratory. “Rapid social change can lead to a general lack of orientation among a broad egment of people. This state of being defines the concept of anomie” (Atteslander, Gransow, and Western, 1999). Anomie leads to difficulties in individual adaptation, resulting in a loss of general social orientation, reinforced feelings of insecurity and marginalization, the cultivation of false expectations or feelings of relative deprivation. This leads to violence and different forms of deviant behavior. In a modernized society, there is a growing need for outlets to release negative emotions. Conflicts are a normal phenomenon in every society. Preventing them is not enough.
Encouraging people to channel malignant aggression into some form of productive communication is a key to reducing violence. It is possible to bring people together through sport. However, there is a difference between “malignant and benign aggression” (Fromm, 1991, p. 212). Malignant aggression aims to injure an opponent. Whereas benign aggression aims to achieve a sporting goal, such as winning games. When someone adopts a form of benign aggression, without the intent to injure someone, it is viewed by society as a pronounced level of assertiveness. This is the goal of social change.
Social change has an enormous impact on social development in general and on individual well-being. This challenges people to re-orientate themselves in a constantly changing world. Sports can not only teach people how to channel their anger into benign aggression, but also teaches the necessity of teamwork. Grange, P. , Kerr, J. (2009). Athlete to Athlete Verbal Aggression. International Journal of Sport Communication. 2(3), (pp. 360-373). Abstract: This case study examined interpersonal communication in sport in the form of verbal aggression among elite athletes in the Australian Football League (AFL).
It focused on the experience and motivation of athletes who use athlete-to-athlete verbal aggression and the responses of athletes who have been the targets of verbal aggression during games. In addition, the reasons athletes have for not engaging in verbal aggression were also examined. Purposive sampling procedures produced a select sample of elite male athletes known for their aggressive approach to playing Australian football. Qualitative methods and deductive analysis procedures, informed by J. H. Kerr’s categories of sport aggression, were used to interpret the interview data.
Meaningful insights into verbal aggression in the AFL were obtained. Based on the underlying motivation, interview transcript descriptions of incidents were identified as examples of power, thrill, and anger verbal aggression. This article’s primary purpose was to investigate verbal aggression among elite Australian footballers, identified as being the most aggressive. This article focused on a) athletes who use verbal aggression, when they use it, and their reasoning, b) athletes who do not use verbal aggression and their reasons for not doing so, and c) athletes’ responses to verbal aggression directed at them by opposing players.
In sports, there is not only physical aggression, but also, verbal aggression. Verbal aggression is used in order to get in the heads of one’s opponents and officials. The most aggressive acts in the Australian Football League were found to be negative verbalization directed at officials and verbal abuse between athletes. The verbal aggression against officials was mainly due to poor calls. Verbal aggression between athletes was found to occur most frequently after the most severe physically aggressive acts. Verbal attacking is most often used to try to intimidate opposing athletes.
Players who do not use verbal aggression would retaliate against verbal aggression with physicality, but within the laws of the game. This is not always the case though. “That’s right, he’d be going on and I’d just say ‘Yeah, no worries keep it coming’ and it just came to a head on that day. I called his bluff and got the result… I let my actions do the talking. I could see right through him… He was trying to intimidate me… We went toe to toe, and it worked out for me. ” (Grange, Kerr 367). This is an example of when verbal abuse causes a retaliatory physical aggression, outside the laws of the game.
It is important for psychologists to recognize those differences. Verbal aggression may provoke a violent physically aggressive response in some athletes. The use of anger-management strategies to improve self-discipline and self-control could help such athletes not respond to verbal aggression. Conclusion Aggression can be seen in all aspects of sports. It is one of the best qualities an athlete can have to be successful. Aggression helps keep athletes motivated to perform better. It helps keep a team focused on a common goal, which is to win. For the most part, it is used as an intimidation technique.
For example, the Oakland Raiders wearing all black jerseys in order to get in the heads of their opponents is a form of aggressive behavior that aims to intimidate opponents. Also, verbal aggression has been noticed between athletes. Athletes will verbally abuse one another just to get a competitive edge. Sometimes too much verbal aggression can lead to fights on the field, causing ejections and injuries to athletes. Aggression in society is becoming a problem as well. Rapid social change can lead to a general lack of orientation among people in the world.
This is known as “anomie”. This leads to difficulties in socialization for individuals who stray from the norm. Many aggressive people show deviant behavior, which could lead to them getting arrested or killed. There is a growing need for outlets to release negative emotions. Sports are a great way for aggressive people to take their anger out in a way that they cannot get in trouble, especially in a society that applauds aggressive behavior. It also helps social deviants to stay out of trouble on the streets. However, there is a good aggression and a bad one.
Malignant aggression aims to injure an opponent, outside of the rules. Whereas benign aggression serves as a means to achieve a goal in sports, such as winning the game. When someone adopts a form of benign aggression, without intent to injure, it is viewed as a more pronounced level of assertiveness. Aggressive behavior is vital in all aspects of sports, and when channeled correctly, can be a very beneficial quality for an athlete. Reference page Frank, M. , Gilovich, T. (1988) Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 54(1), (pp. 74-75). Singh, R. , Tomar, R, (2009).
Aggression in Athletics: A Comparative Study. Ovidius University Annals, Series Physical Education and Sport/Science, Movement and Health. 12(1), (pp. 31-35). Dziubinski, Z. (2007). A Sociological Attempt at Explaining Aggression in Sport. Research Yearbook. 13(2), (pp. 204-205). Schwery, R. , Cade, D. (2009). Sport as a Social Laboratory to Cure Anomie and Prevent Violence. European Sport Management Quarterly. 9(4), (pp. 469-482). Grange, P. , Kerr, J. (2009). Athlete to Athlete Verbal Aggression. International Journal of Sport Communication. 2(3), (pp. 360-373).
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