Violence In Sports: What Causes It?

This recent example of violence and sports and poor sportsmanship caused me to think about this issue once again. 

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

Here is another article I wrote on this subject.

How To Really Stop Violence In Sports

 

Jay P. Granat, Ph.D.

 

 

    Violence in many sports has had a strong presence in the

 

media for quite some time.  Brawls in baseball games

 

and players and fans acting in disorderly manners in sporting

 

arenas are quite commonplace today.

 

     Because I am a psychotherapist who has worked with many

 

athletes and parents of athletes with anger management issues,

 

 I would like to outline several strategies for ending the alarming

 

behaviors we see all too often in and around athletic contests.

 

         Players, coaches and managers at all levels of competition

 

 should be required to shake hands at the start and

 

 end of each contest.

 

   This  simple gesture  will remind athletes that they are

 

competing against fellow human beings during the heat of

 

battle.  Furthermore, this  simple act will promote

 

sportsmanship and set a good example for young athletes

 

and their parents.

 

   Second, leagues should have clear rules outlining punishments

 

for various offenses in a clear and succinct manner.  This will

 

help athletes to have an awareness of the consequences of

 

their actions.

 

     Similarly, penalties for fans who misbehave should be posted

 

and announced prior to all sporting events.  Stating these

 

guidelines clearly will help make athletes and fans accountable

 

for their actions.

 

     Some of the violence we see is related to drugs, alcohol

 

and gambling.  The roles of alcohol abuse, substance abuse

 

and compulsive gambling and their connections to violent

 

behavior need to be studied more carefully by psychologists,

 

psychiatrists, social psychologists and sociologists.

       

    Many athletes have long histories of being rewarded for being

 

aggressive.   If one has been rewarded for being aggressive, it is

 

 sometimes hard to shut down your aggressiveness when you lose

 

your temper.

 

       Consequently, there are a number of kinds of trainings

 

which could help athletes to get a better handle on managing

 

their thoughts, feelings and actions.  These courses could include

 

training in meditation, self-hypnosis, conflict resolution,

 

communication skills, sportsmanship and spirituality.

  

      Moreover, this kind of training should begin when the

 

athletes are age six or seven.  It is never to early to teach

 

the importance of treating others with kindness, respect and

 

dignity.

  

    It has been said many times that the microcosm of sports mirror

 

the problems the macrocosm of society.  There is a likelihood

 

that the violence that we find on the news, in video games,

 

on the roads, in movies, and on televison does have an

 

impact on our values, behaviors  and attitudes. 

 

       My own view is that certain people imitate what they see,

 

while others do not.  Perhaps, in time, we can identify who is at

 

risk for modeling this behavior and who is not.

 

           Some athletes remain quite immature emotionally because

 

they spend so much time and energy developing their physical

 

skills.  Also, some athletes who get an abundance of special

 

treatment develop a sense of grandiosity and feel they are above

 

the law and that laws do not apply to them.  This grandiosity can

 

contribute to their impulse control.

 

           It has also been known for some time that people from

 

violent families with a history of alcohol and substance

 

abuse are at at greater risk for behaving in a violent manner

 

than are  people who come from families without these

 

disorders.  Coaches, parents and league officials need to

 

be aware of this fact and monitor athletes whom are at risk

 

and intervene before an incident occurs.

 

             Similarly, steroid use may be contributing to some

 

of the violence we see in some sports.   The relationships

 

between steroid use and violence needs to studied and

 

monitored very careful, since this form of rage can be very

 

dangerous.

 

         

          Last, parents, educators, coaches, owners, union

 

representatives, mental health professionals and

 

law enforcement personnel need to work together to

 

 to build a more sensitive world in which we value

 

competition, but also cherish  the importance of

 

the feelings of our fellow human beings. 

 

   Some athletes need to be reminded  of the idea that, “Nothing is

 

 so strong as  gentleness.”

 

Jay P. Granat, Ph.D., is a Psychotherapist in River Edge, NJ.  He can be reached at info@stayinthezone.com or at 201 342-3663.            

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.
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