Sports Psychololgy And Violence Is Sports

     I have written several articles on violence in sports and been interviewed about this topic my major media outlets on a number of occasions.

      This recent video caused me to think about it once again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvEobeNfGcc&feature=player_embedded

        It seems like the athlete and the school have done some of  the right things in this case.

Here is a copy of one of my articles on violence and sports and what can be done about it.

 

Why Do Some Athletes Snap?

 

      Last Saturday, I appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America.  A producer

 

asked me to comment on the the recent violent act in the Ranger vs. Islander hockey

 

game.

 

    I have written on violence in sports in the past and I have been interviewed

 

by the British Broadcasting Company on this subject.  However, this most recent

 

act caused me think a bit more  about what causes this kind of vicious behavior and

 

what can be done to prevent it from happening again.

 

      I believe that some of the athletes who behave violently are people who

 

were raised in dysfunctional families where they were exposed to violence, cruelty,

 

substance abuse and chaos.  These kinds of environments do little to foster

 

the development of qualities like kindness and empathy.

 

      To make matters worse, some violent athletes are currently abusing drugs,

 

alcohol and/or steroids which can intensify their internal rage.

 

      Some of the violence can be attributed to the fact that many athletes have failed to

 

learn how to control their emotions because they have devoted so much of their time to

 

mastering their craft, which is their sport.  In short, they are physically quite talented, but

 

they are emotional quite undeveloped and quite immature.

 

       Many of the sports we love like football and hockey have a violent component to

 

them, and athletes are, in some instances, rewarded for being tough and very physical

 

competitors.  It is sometimes difficult to control one’s aggressiveness once some of it

 

is allowed, appreciated and rewarded.

 

        Top athletes are held in high regard in our society and sometimes get special

 

 treatment, special favors and special attention during  their formative years.  This

 

“special treatment” can give rise to a feeling of grandiosity which can lead some athletes

 

to feel as if they are “above the law” and not susceptible to punishment.  Consequently,

 

they have difficulty thinking about the consequences of their actions.

 

      Some athletes may suffer from one of several a psychiatric illnesses

 

 like intermittent explosive, oppositional defiant disorder, depression or narcissistic

 

personality disorder.  People with these kinds of illnesses can have trouble controlling

 

their rage and have difficulty being concerned about other people’s feelings.  Harming

 

others may not bother them the way it is apt to disturb most of us.  Players with these

 

kinds of conditions can be quite dangerous on and off the field.

 

        It is also important to remember that athletes are human and a violent act on

 

the playing field may be related to some frustration that they are experiencing in

 

another aspect of their life.  A conflict with a wife or lover can cause an athlete to

 

have a bad day at “their office” which is a court or a playing field. 

 

      Some athletes get fired up by crowds and the fans.  Like rock stars and entertainers,

 

some sports stars thrive on the attention and the adoration they get from large numbers of

 

people.  Top athletes may get caught up the fans’ enthusiasm and lose control of their

 

emotions and their behavior.

 

       Leagues can help to minimize violence in sports by having clear and strict

 

penalties for violent acts.  I have helped many athletes to manage by teaching them

 

anger management technique, meditation, visualization and self-hypnosis.  These

 

kinds of programs should be included in many organized sports programs.  And  it is

 

probably a good idea to start this kind of  training with young athletes while athletes

 

are in their formative years. 

 

     Athletes who demonstrate a pattern of violent behavior need to be evaluated and

 

referred for the  appropriate kind of mental health  counseling.  Some leagues may

 

resist these kind of interventions, but I believe these kinds of programs are essential if violence in sport is to be minimized.

 

Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. is a Psychotherapist and the Founder of www.StayInTheZone.com

Dr. Granat

About Dr. Granat

Since 1978, Dr. Granat has counseled thousands of highly competitive athletes from many different sports. His clients have included golfers, tennis players, bowlers, runners, boxers, baseball players, basketball players, pool players, hockey players, ice skaters, wrestlers, fencers and martial artists. (Satisfied Clients) on this site. Now athletes who are struggling with choking, nervousness, lack of confidence, negative thoughts, self-doubt, lack of energy or concentration problems can get the help they need to excel in their respective sport by phone.
Twitter Facebook LinkedIn YouTube RSS Feed Skype Email