Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Strategies to reduce Aggression: Both the Coach & Athlete and Conclusion

Strategies to reduce Aggression: Both the Coach & Athlete

A crucial strategy that both the coach and athlete can use is to decrease arousal by employing relaxation methods. The coach can teach or provide the opportunities to learn these techniques and the athlete can go away and implement these techniques into their lives. In terms of the athlete they can substitute negative thoughts with positive ones and break the habit of aggressive responses so when they start to feel angry they say “STOP!” (Woods, 2001). Finally they can use Somatic stress management techniques such as Self Talk and Deep Breathing or Cognitive methods like Imagery before the competition (Wiggins-James 2006).

Another approach is to reduce the importance of the event and winning by setting performance rather than outcome goals. In modern sport there is an over emphasis on winning which has increased aggressive tendencies. If there is a return to valuing fair play and emphasis on trying your hardest then aggression would decrease (see John Wooden, excellent coach on this philosophy). Outcome goals are those that judge an athlete against others and the end result e.g. whether they win or not, Performance goals are goals used by the athlete to judge their performance against their standards not against another competitor (Wiggins-James, 2006) e.g. whether they achieved an agreed number of passes. This strategy then allows the athlete to change the focus of attention away from winning which distracts them from the aggression stimuli which are increased by the pressure of outcome goals (Woods, 2001). 


To conclude there are 3 main theories of aggression; Instinct, Frustration-aggression and Social Learning Theories with the later revised Frustration-aggression theory to Cue Arousal Theory. These all have extensive research as to why aggression occurs in sport however the Cue Arousal Theory is probably the most accurate as it combined both aspects of innate aggression and learnt aggression. Coaches and athletes need to recognise the distinction between aggressive behaviour and the more valued assertive behaviour. Finally all of the current research supports that aggression in sport always causes a negative correlation with performance so it is vital that any coach or athlete that wants to be successful follows the suggested strategies put forward within the relevant academia.  


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