1 Baron (1977) defined aggression as any form of behaviour
directed toward the goal of harming or injuring another living
being who is motivated to avoid such treatment.
2 Gill (1986) identified key features
for an act to be aggressive. It
must actually happen, either
physically or verbally. It must
harm another person either
physically or emotionally. It must
3 Sporting actions which possess the characteristics can
be classified as hostile or reactive aggression. Terms
used to describe aggression which is seen as
acceptable is channelled aggression or instrumental
aggression and assertive behaviour.
3.1 Channelled aggression involves
behaviour that is within the rules
of the game, which has the aim to
successfully complete the skill but
has the side effect of inflicting
harm or physical pain. e.g. rugby.
4 Husman and Silva (1984) suggested that
assertive behaviour isn't intended to cause
harm nor injury, are goal directed, are
within the rules, laws and spirit of the
game, only use legitimate force.
5 Causes of Aggression
5.1 Can depend on a number of things, not all will
apply to all performers; it depends on the
5.2 Nature of the sport
5.3 Rivalry between teams
5.4 High arousal levels
5.5 Importance of the event/ Expectations
5.6 Nature and proximity of the crowd
5.8 Frustration at personal performance
5.9 Score line
5.10 Poor Officiating
5.11 Copying role models
5.12 Extrinsic Rewards
6 Reducing and Controlling Aggressive Behaviour
6.1 Not all strategies will be suitable for all performers but
must be applied differently depending on the situation.
The responsibility for eliminating aggressive behaviour
should be shared between the player, teammates, peer
group, coaches, spectators and the media and sponsors.
6.2 Punish aggressive acts using penalties, sin bins, fines etc.
6.3 Increase peer group pressure, highlight responsibility to the team.
6.4 Remove the offending player from the situation
6.5 High quality officials who
interpretation of the laws
6.7 Lower levels of arousal via
6.8 Positive reinforcement
and rewards for
6.9 Highlight non aggressive role models
6.10 Reduce the importance of the event and emphasis on winning
6.11 Increase personal fitness levels
to delay the effects of fatigue
6.12 Set performance goals
rather than outcome goals
6.13 Educate players on the
aggression and assertion
7 Theories of Aggression
7.1 Instinct Theory
7.1.1 Fraud believed it was due to our evolutionary
development - our need to dominate and our
death instinct. This energy which is built up
has to be released at some point to maintain
our wellbeing - its a cathartic release.
7.1.2 Aggressive Behaviour is innate - Nature Approach,
genetically inherited and inevitable.
7.1.3 Rather than displaying aggression in
an inappropriate situation the
individual will wait for a more
7.1.4 This has been criticised because; human aggression usually isn't spontaneous, its often
learnt due to culture, levels of aggression increase during sporting participation, no
biological innate characteristics have been identified, and lastly rather than being warriors,
humans were hunter gatherers.
7.2 Frustration - Aggression Hypothesis
7.2.1 Dollard (1939) suggested an
interactionist approach. He argued
that individuals display aggressive
behaviour due to innate
characteristics and learning from
others, becoming aggressive when
their goal is blocked - leading to
7.2.2 Aggression always leads to frustration, and frustration is always
caused by aggression. If they are able to release their frustration it
has a cathartic effect, if they are punished however they get more
frustrated. Their drive may increase due to a number of factors, e.g.
an opponent doing well, this would increase their frustration and a
bad tackle could result, they then feel satisfied, but if they are
punished further aggressive cats may follow.
7.2.3 This has been criticised because; not all frustration
leads to aggression, not all aggression is caused by
frustration - could be learned, it doesn't account for
situational factors or individual differences.
7.3 Cue Arousal Theory
7.3.1 Berkowitz (1969) This approach incorporates arousal into
this explanation for aggressive behaviour. The Theory
suggests that frustration will cause arousal to increase but
aggression will only occur if their are socially acceptable
cues present, e.g. they may commit an act if they think the
official isn't watching or their coach reinforces such
7.3.2 Some sports related cues
are more likely to lead to
aggression that others. For
example; People associated
with aggressive acts (coach,
player, fans), Sports
associated with aggression
(contact sports), Places
associated with aggression
(venue linked to previous
experience of violence),
Objects associated with
aggression (bats, boxing
7.3.3 This may be able to explain why some players are able to maintain
their composure, control their arousal levels and not act aggressively.
This is a more valuable explanation for aggression. Rather than it being
simply an innate response to an external stimulus, aggression is
actually linked to learning, and will only occur when suitable
environmental cues are present.
7.4 Social Learning Theory
7.4.1 Bandura (1966) Adopts the nurture
approach. Proposes that aggressive
behaviour is learned through observing
others and copying their actions. If
reinforced the copied actions are
repeated in similar situations - Vicarious
7.4.2 Due to the media many people watch elite performers competing in their sport,
sometimes they will be aggressive and they aren't punished, others then copy
their actions believing its acceptable to act in that manner. They may receive
many forms of reinforcement that encourage such behaviours from team
players, parents, coaches etc. If players are taught unacceptable behaviours then
ultimately we should be able to teach them acceptable behaviours to control
arousal levels and modify behaviour if the correct type of reinforcement is
7.4.3 While its clear that many aggressive acts are copied from significant others and are more likely to be repeated if reinforced. It doesn't explain how
some people can be aggressive without observing others if placed in a particular situation.