Frustration can cause aggression in athletes when they are unable to make a goal, are fouled by an opponent, or other situations that interrupt the game. Some athletes may not show this aggression in the game because they are professional and respect the coach. However, these athletes may instead channel aggression into their personal lives.
2. Violent behavior and Aggression
Violent or harmful behavior is not always seen as negative in a sport. Some people may refer to it as “passion” instead of aggression. Injuries gained by an opponent may be viewed as a result of inferior ability instead of the result of an act of violence by an aggressor.
3. Hostile and Instrumental Aggression
Hostile aggression occurs when someone’s only purpose is to physically harm someone else. It is usually associated with anger. Instrumental aggression is also known as channeled aggression, and its purpose is to achieve a sports goal. It is not associated with anger.
4. Social Learning Theory
Social learning theory describes the ways people are influenced from childhood in their behavior. Fathers can be more aggressive about sports, and some children will react with aggression in response if they learn this behavior is rewarding. Media and television can also influence children to be aggressive because they want to imitate what they see.
5. Cue Theory
Cue theory means that arousal caused by frustration only leads to aggression when the environment has cues to encourage it. Cues can be violent movies, weapons, soundtracks like Rocky, or coach and fan encouragement.
6. Link between Social Learning Theory and Cue Theory
Social learning continues for athletes long after childhood. Athletes learn when they are punished for aggressive actions that it is not acceptable behavior. They learn to channel this aggression into a more useful form to become better athletes. Successful athletes who channel their aggression into useful actions in a game serve as role models to others. They also learn from friends, coaches, parents, and other sports heroes.
7. Disadvantage of Arousal
Two parts of the brain controlling arousal are the sympathetic division and the parasympathetic division. The sympathetic division releases sugar while the parasympathetic division slows breathing and heart rate. Athletes need to learn to balance these divisions, or it could result in them losing control in a situation. This could lead to injury to themselves or others.
8. Age and Experience
Young and inexperienced athletes may not know how to balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions to control their aggression. More experienced athletes gain this ability to balance themselves. Their high level of skill comes from this ability to channel aggression into useful actions which they have learned from experience.
The most interesting part of George Churchill’s psychology assessment is how important social learning theory is for the successful athlete. The other points he makes seem much more obvious. For example, all athletes will experience frustration and anger as part of the game. All athletes will react to the aggressive actions of opponents, the attitudes of a coach, music played, and the applause or disfavor of their fans. How the athlete learns to react to frustration or stimulation will make him a success or failure.
Churchill says that people begin learning social behavior from age five onwards. Children are looking for role models and examples of how to act. He gives examples of how children react to aggressive actions of their fathers when it comes to sports. He has also mentions that social learning continues throughout a person’s entire lifetime. Each child will react differently to aggression and frustration. A father must also pay close attention to the way his child reacts to aggression and frustration. A child who becomes too frustrated with a sport or a father’s aggressive actions may decide to quit the sport. Therefore, a father who wants his child to be a good athlete should not see the child as the only person who has something to learn when it comes to sports. The father must also learn what creates enthusiasm for his child about the sport as he encourages and teaches the game.
As children grow older, they will find other role models to imitate instead of their fathers. They will look to other children, coaches, and famous athletes. However, the role of the father or parents is most important in setting up the child’s future in a sport. From a father’s example, children can learn from the earliest age what type of aggression is useful and how to channel it. It must be a learning experience for both child and father in order to prepare the child to deal with future frustration, enjoy, and succeed at a sport.