Anger In Sport And Competition Essay, Research Paper
Name your sport. As long as it involves competition there will always be a winner and loser. And with winning and losing, there will always be some kind of disappointment, frustration, rage conflict (both internal and external) and anger from the losing party and even the winning party. I would like to discuss the mental aspects of anger in sport, this involves attitude control, self-confidence, attention control as well as other psychological aspects. Realization, determination, available choices, and actual decisions are some specific techniques to control anger and will also be discussed. As I mentioned above, both the winning and the losing party usually experience some kind of anger throughout competition. It just so happens that the winning party will resolve their frustrations and anger faster than the losing party. Anger involving a sport does not necessarily have to occur during competition. You may find it during practice before competition. Anger may be experienced through mental images or even a simple thought. At any rate, anger can be very destructive the you as an athlete. The more that you let anger get the best of you, the more it becomes a detriment to you mentally as well as physically. According to a recent college study, [athletes] going through stressful and anger prone events do not concentrate as well and as a result they are more prone to sports related injuries (Wartik). One of the first consequences that occur from anger when not channeled properly is that your self-confidence suffers. This happens especially when anger is a result of a personal struggle. Your level of self-confidence is one of the best predictors of competitive success that you can point to. (Profiling) So, when you lose your self-confidence, your athletic competitiveness suffers in a downward spiral. You begin to lose focus, letting your anger and frustrations do all of your seeing. Nothing can undermine confidence levels more quickly than an accumulation of perceived failures (Profiling). Next, all of your positive energy gets overwhelmed with negative energy.Negative energy is controlling your negative emotions like fear, anger, frustration, envy, resentment, rage and temper. Having too much negative energy allows for you to begin perceiving situations as threats and frustration rather than challenges. The simplest things begin to seem like large tasks that are impossible to do. That easy free throw shot that you practiced countless times the night before the big game becomes such a huge burden that you can barely lift the ball out of your hands to shoot it during the game! At this point you have completely lost control of your emotions and have let anger and frustration get the best of you. The coach of the Benidji State University Football team gives a great synopsis of how he expects his players to control their emotions as one of his guidelines for emotional control:In control of one s emotions: Every competitor understands all too well the unfortunate performance consequences of poor emotional control. Bad refereeing, stupid mistakes, obnoxious opponents, poor playing conditions, etc., represent powerful triggers of negative emotion. Anger, frustration, and fear must be controlled, or they will most certainly control you. The tough competitor has tamed the aim inside. Calm and relaxed under fire: One doesn t avoid pressure; he s challenged by it. One who is at his best when the pressure is on, and the odds are against him. Being put to the test is not a threat. It s an opportunity to explore the outer limits of his potential. The next area of anger that has an affect on is your attention control. This is the ability to sustain a continuous focus on the task at hand….it is the ability to tune in and tune out what is important and what is not. (Profiling) This is the moment in the football game when it is tied in the fourth quarter with no time left and you the kicker must kick the 52 yard field goal to win the bowl game. No pressure right?! The crowd is screaming and there is that one fan screaming at the top of their lungs sitting in the bleachers but sound like their right next to you. This is when attention control is very necessary. If you let that fan bother you and become angry, you will eventually loose your attention and miss that very valuable goal.
One of the last mental effects that anger has on the body is your control of Imagery and Visualization. Being able to control your mental pictures and in a positive and constructive directions is what is meant by these terms. Athletes loose this learned ability usually after longer periods of unsuccessful bouts with anger.Anger and frustration are usually very unavoidable phenomenon. When there is competition, whether from opposing teams or even internally from personal conflicts you will most likely acquire these phenomenon. In order to effectively control and manage your anger you must develop some form of anger management.An excellent and easy method of doing so is the ABCD method of anger management as suggested by Remboldt & Zinman (1996). This method follows a simple four-step outline of how follow your A-B-C-D s of anger management. With this method, you will be able to A, be AWARE; B, BACK off; C, CHECK out the Choices and Consequences; and D, DECIDE and DO.The first step (AWARE) in controlling anger is to realize and to know when you are becoming angry. More times than none athletes do not acknowledge or understand some of their bodys warning signals when they become upset. Athletes actually try to control themselves well after they have become upset. By this time, it is already too late and their self-confidence deteriorates and negative energy has already begun to sink in. At this point full blown anger has run rampant and is very hard to control. Some warning signs are increased heart rate, clenched teeth, sweat, heat and even tears. So, before anger hits, first become aware of it.The next step is to BACK off from the situation that is causing the anger. You can be in the height an argument or frustration during competition, and say or react with the first thing that comes to mind. At this point, your frustration has become too overwhelming and your negative energy is now calling the shots. Some good advice would be to count to ten, or call a time-out and take a few deep breaths on the sideline. This helps to keep from responding immediately to the situation, to prevent losing your concentration attention and focus. The third step in this method is to Check out the Choices and Consequences. This involves thinking the situation through and developing your options on how to react in a responsible, constructive way. So, instead of reacting to what ever comes to mind, think about the range of behavior choices available to you and the consequences of those choices. Now the negative energy will be flushed out completely and in result, realigning your attention. A simple way to develop this technique is to put your self in a pseudo-situation with a buddy or even by your self. Suggest a scenario that commonly leads to an exchange of reactory words, but think of some positive and constructive words that will help to totally regain all focus and attention. Finally, in the ABCD method is the DECIDE and DO step. At this point you have successfully acknowledged, backed off, and checked out your choices and consequences. Now all that needs to be done is to decide which choice is most appropriate and act upon it. But it is very important that the chosen response respects your right as well as the right of the other party conflict. When all four steps have been successfully completed, your overall mental state during competition will be positive and constructive. The more these steps are practiced and preached, the easier it will become for you to handle the pressures, frustrations and anger that result from sport and competition.