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A research on the violence in sports

Sports violence can be defined as behavior which causes harm, occurs outside of the rules of the sport, and is unrelated to the competitive objectives of the sport Terry and Jackson, p. Instrumental aggression is non-emotional and task-oriented. Reactive aggression has an underlying emotional component, with harm as its goal.

Violence is an outcome of reactive aggression. An increase in both frequency and seriousness of acts of violence has been well documented. Violence is most prevalent in team contact sports, such as ice hockey, football, and rugby.

While most occurrences of violence emanate from players, others, including coaches, parents, fans, and the media, also contribute to what has been described as an epidemic of violence in sports today Leonard, p. Considerable research has been done on spectator violence. A central issue is whether fans incite player violence or reflect it Debenedotte, p. The evidence is inconclusive.

Spectators do take cues from players, coaches, cheerleaders, and one another. Spectators often derive a sense of social identity and self-esteem from a team. Emulation of favorite players is an element of this identification. Group solidarity with players and coaches leads to a view of opposing teams as enemies and fosters hostility towards the "outgroup" and, by extension, a research on the violence in sports supporters, geographical locale, ethnic group, and perceived social class Lee, p.

Mass media also contribute to the acceptability of sports. On the one hand it affords ample exposure to sports-related violence via television, magazines, newspapers, and radio, thus providing numerous examples to children who may imitate such behavior.

It glamorizes players, often the most controversial and aggressive ones.


Its commentary is laced with descriptions suggestive of combat, linking excitement to violent action. On the other hand, the exposure given to sports violence by the media has stimulated increased efforts to control and prevent such behavior. The biological theory, proposed most notably by Nobel prize winner Konrad Lorenz, sees aggression as a basic, inherent human characteristic. Within this context, sports is seen as a socially acceptable way to discharge built-up aggression, a safety valve.

  • These theories provide a basis for interventions that may curb excessive aggression, especially among young athletes;
  • Common sense suggests that people who become accustomed to using physical intimidation and violence in sport naturally revert to those behaviors when facing conflict outside of sport;
  • Values Development Through Physical Activity;
  • Physical educators and coaches should inform parents of curricular activities and goals, alert them to signs of anxiety or aggressive behavior, encourage positive attitudes toward competition and physical activity, and promote realistic expectations for performance Hellstedt, pp.

The psychological theory states that aggression is caused by frustration; it is situational. Frustration results when one's efforts to reach a particular goal are blocked Leonard, p.

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In sports, frustration can be caused by questionable calls by officials, failure to make a particular play, injuries that interfere with optimum performance, heckling from spectators, or taunts by coaches or players. The social learning theory has received the most empirical verification Leonard, p. Young athletes take sports heroes as role models and imitate their behavior.

Parents, coaches and teammates are also models who may demonstrate support for an aggressive style of play. According to Terry and Jackson p.

Reinforcement may take the form of rewards, such as praise, trophies, starting position, respect of friends and family. Vicarious reinforcement may be derived from seeing professional players lionized and paid huge salaries, in spite of, or because of, their aggressive style of play Leonard, p.

Players who don't display the desired degree of aggressiveness may receive negative reinforcement through criticism from parents and coaches, lack of playing time, harassment by teammates, opponents, or spectators. These theories provide a basis for interventions that may curb excessive aggression, especially among young athletes.

Terry and Jackson p. In addition, psychological forces can be addressed by modifying or controlling situations that produce frustration. The objective of physical education in schools should be to encourage development of appropriate exercise habits, with emphasis on the recreational aspects of physical activities Roskosz, p. Unfortunately, compelling evidence suggests that, for many children, the pressures associated with sports produce low self-esteem, excessive anxiety, and aggressive behavior.

Children may eventually experience "sports burnout" and develop a lifelong avoidance of physical activity Hellstedt, p. In Hellstedt's opinion p. Lip-service is paid to sportsmanship and having fun, but a research on the violence in sports are reserved for winning.

Often, encouragement to pursue victory is accompanied by direct and indirect signals that aggressive behavior is acceptable to achieve it. Hellstedt also suggests that anxiety about winning impedes performance and makes players more susceptible to injury.

Physicians have noticed an increase in sports-related injuries in children Hellstedt, p. Physical educators and coaches are in a key position to lay the groundwork for positive attitudes in sports.

Guidelines for teaching children to shun violent behavior in sports include: Coaches should not emphasize winning at all cost. Enjoyment and the development of individual skills should be the objective. Coaches should be alert to and praise improvement. Athletic performance should not be equated with personal worth Coakley, p.

Players should not be encouraged or allowed to play when injured or ill, as a demonstration of stoic virtue. They perceive themselves as unsuccessful because their level of performance doesn't earn them more playing time.

Sports violence is most prevalent in professional sports. Coaches should avoid symbolic associations with professional teams--e.

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They should not model their own coaching techniques on those of professional coaches Coakley, pp. Weiser and Love p.

  • Although there has been a call by some to have violence such as fighting and body contact eliminated from games such as hockey, the reason that it is good to have these acts is because it allows you to vent your fustration out on a willing opponent instead of taking t out on an unsuspecting individual like a spouse or child;
  • The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 16 4 203-11;
  • Quest, 37 2 176-85.

Encourage input, permit participation in decision-making, and listen to player feedback. Feelings of team ownership foster team cohesiveness, which in turn leads to better performance. Waldzilak cites a number of intervention strategies, utilizing Kohlberg's moral development model and social learning theories, which have been shown to produce improvement or modification of behavior, moral reasoning and perceptions of sportsmanship Wandzilak et al.

Teachers and coaches should commit themselves to actively teaching positive sports-related values, and devise curricula that do so. As the earliest and potentially the most influential role models, parents can have a critical impact on a child's attitudes towards sports. Physical educators and coaches should inform parents of curricular activities and goals, alert them to signs of anxiety or aggressive behavior, encourage positive attitudes toward competition and physical activity, and promote realistic expectations for performance Hellstedt, pp.

Journal articles should be available at most research libraries. References identified with an asterisk had not been assigned EJ numbers at the time of publication of this digest. What Keeps Enthusiastic Fans in Bounds? The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 16 4 203-11. Some Questions and Answers. The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 16 4 59-71.

  • The relation of violence in sports to acts of domestic violence in athletes How erectile dysfunction can cause excessive violent tendencies in athletes Research Paper Services;
  • The elimination of violence should not be done in sport because the violence is a part of the game which would only hurt its popularity;
  • You may find certain topics related to violence in sports to be developed further in this article.

Quest, 37 1 38-49. New York, Macmillan Publishing Company.

Does on-field violent behavior lead to off-field violence?

The Physical Educator, 45 1 5-13. Quest, 37 1 27-37. Quest, 37 2 176-85. Wandzilak, Thomas, et al. Values Development Through Physical Activity: Perceptions and Moral Reasoning. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 8 1 13-21. Who Owns Your Team? Strategies, 2 1 5-8. Further, this site is using a privately owned and located server. This is NOT a government sponsored or government sanctioned site.