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Deviant sports aggression







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  • Clarification of aggression as it relates to tenacity and is reinforced in our society. Instrumental aggression is goal-directed and when we are looking for athletes to be aggressive in sports, this is the type of aggression that should be reinforced. Reactive aggression, as it is related to anger, interferes with sports performance - either by causing penalties or the anger causing lapses in cognitive processes. Differentiate this from assertiveness. Assertiveness training involves people standing up for their rights - No one has the right to put the ball in the basket or the puck in the net.
  • Beginning with the definitions. Anger is NORMAL . The problem is not the emotion, the problem is the behavior that arises in relation to the emotion.
  • These are key definitions. Note the clarification in this definition of sports violence. Outside the rules of sport, bearing no direct relationship to the sports competitive goals and causing harm is its goal.

Deviant sports aggression Deviant sports aggression Presentation Transcript

    • Mitch Abrams, Psy.D.
    • Learned Excellence for Athletes
    • Sport Psychologist/Founder
    • 720 King Georges Road; Ste 105
    • Fords, New Jersey 08863
    • Office: (732)738-0900
    • Fax: (732)738-0815
    • Cell: (917)887-5206
    • E-mail: MAbrams589@aol.com
    Deviant Sports Aggression
  • U.S. Prisons Are NOT Filled with Athletes
  • Interestingly, sport psychologists and the media are not focusing on the same issues.
    • Sport Psychology
    • Goal Setting
    • Injury Issues
    • Anxiety Reduction
    • Team Building
    • Performance Enhancement
    • Not all sport psychologists are psychologists – let alone trained in understanding deviant behavior.
    • Media
    • In-sport aggression
    • Rape
    • Steroids
    • Substance Abuse
    • Point shaving/gambling scandals.
    • Domestic violence
  • Golf
    •       “ Aggressive play is a vital asset of the world's greatest golfers. However, it's even more important to the average player. Attack this game in a bold, confident, and determined way, and you'll make a giant leap toward realizing your full potential as a player. ”
    • Greg Norman
  • Tennis
    • “My aggression out there is my weapon, ... ... I think it's more letting them know that I'm not going to let them get away with something, and I'm not just going to kind of poke it back and be content to stay in rallies.”
    • Andy Roddick
  • Michael Jordan
    • I realized that if I was going to achieve anything in life I had to be aggressive. I had to get out there and go for it... I know fear is an obstacle for some people, but it's an illusion to me.
  • Aggression Behavior associated with tenacity that often has doing harm to another as one of its goal. Types of Aggression Instrumental - goal-directed aggression where harm to another is not the primary goal but is a secondary result of the action. Reactive - behavior that has, as its goal, to do harm to someone. Usually, this is in response to a perceived injustice, insult, or wrong-doing. Related to anger.
  • Deviant
    • Differing from a norm or from the accepted standards of a society.
      • Not necessarily different and worse.
      • Could mean statistically different.
  • Violence - extreme form of reactive aggression. Sports Violence - harm-inducing behavior outside the rules of sport, bearing no direct relationship to the competitive goals of sport. (Terry & Jackson, 1985)
  • (Abrams & Hale, 2004) A New Model Violence Incidental – Hard Check Hostile - Goal is to Harm . Spontaneous – Anger Planned – System Failure!!!
  • Sport Success Depends on the Type of Aggression Instrumental Aggression Reactive Aggression Sport Success Penalties, Mental Mistakes Athletic Success
  • When we think of deviant aggression, do we consider context?
    • Passively go after your goals?
    • Withstand pain, hurdle obstacles, persevere?
    • Train harder, work harder, want it more…
    • Relax, success will come to you, don’t worry…
    • Competition
      • Good vs. Bad
    Sports World
    • In the financial world “aggressiveness” is an essential and highly desirable characteristic.
    • It relates to being “aggressive” in things like:
      • finding new business leads
      • taking smart financial risks (when the proper risk/reward situation occurs)
      • taking large trading positions when things are setting up correctly
      • identifying new products or ways to improve old operations
    • With my clients, I refer to incorporating “controlled aggression” meaning you wait for your “edge” opportunity to appear and then unleash the aggression to achieve the desired outcome.
    • Doug Hirschhorn, Ph.D.
    World of Business
  • Do Emotions Help or Hurt Performance?
    • Consider these situations:
    • Quarterback throwing a pass in tight coverage.
    • Defensive lineman rushing the passer.
    • A linebacker reacting to a play – run or pass?
  • Do Emotions Help or Hurt Performance?
    • Consider these situations:
    • A student sitting in the room when he/she is about to take the SAT.
    • An applicant in the waiting room before entering into an interview – either for college admission or “ THE ” job.
    • An executive determining strategy for the company’s future.
  • When aroused, what goes out the window?
    • Decision making
    • Problem solving
    • Fine motor coordination
    • Cognitive processing speed
    • Ability to consider all options
    • “ Vision”
  • Coaching considerations
    • Stimulus differentiation problems
    • How to help them turn it up vs. turn it down:
      • Self-awareness
      • Teammate assistance
      • Pre-competition mental skills training
      • Prediction of consequences
    • Open discussion about if the behavior occurs outside of the sports arena what can happen.
  • Normalize Emotions
    • How much can you tolerate and still perform well is more important than what emotion you have.
    • Learn what they already use to adjust their mood - self-talk, imagery/visualization and music.
    • Reframe the experience as their body is just getting ready for what they prepared for.
    • What works in the extremes?
  • Violence and sport have NOT developed a new relationship!!!
    • Anymore than violence and society have just become acquainted…
  • Interventions Need to be Available
    • Start young! Codes of Conduct in Youth Sport.
    • Anger Management geared to athletes, coaches, parents, etc.
    • Education of athletes starting at the high school level, about consequences of behavior.
    • Prosocial programming for dating violence prevention.
  • For Whom Do These Skills Not Work?
    • People that are not motivated for success.
      • They see it as mandated.
      • Will try to not learn.
    • Those with other, more severe psychopathology.
      • Be ready to refer to a professional. Know when you are out of your league.
    • Not willing to give up people who support anger/violence. (i.e. Gangs)
    • Psychopathy
  • Thank You!!!
    • Mitch Abrams, Psy.D.
    • Learned Excellence for Athletes
    • Sport Psychologist/Founder
    • 720 King Georges Road; Ste 105
    • Fords, New Jersey 08863
    • Office: (732)738-0900
    • Fax: (732)738-0815
    • Cell: (917)887-5206
    • E-mail: MAbrams589@aol.com