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Introduction about sports essay

This is hostile aggression at its worse. The post-match rampage was another example of hostile aggression as the only thought in Tysons head must have been to cause harm. Smith argued, however, that all aggressive acts in sport are instrumental and carried out with some end in mind. Smith, therefore, concludes that the distinction between instrumental and hostile aggression is not a useful and it is difficult to separate empirically where a particular aggressive act may have a variety of different outcomes. Therefore, both aggressive acts are the same.

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In contrast to smiths argument Husman and Silva , and Martens argue that although both hostile and instrumental aggression include intent to injure, the relatively common incidents of angry retaliation which occur as the result of provocation in team contact sports can be seen as hostile aggression.

The so called professional foul which occurs especially in soccer where a player is tackled and usually brought down to prevent him from scoring can be seen as an ac of instrumental aggression. Assertive behaviour shows when an athlete becomes more energetic, robust and forcefully with every movement they make. They may also raise their voice and speak in a more forceful manor to team mates and opposition, but the difference between hostile and instrumental aggression is that there is no intention to harm your opponent and break the rules.

Assertion was described y Parens as nonhostile self-protective mastery behaviour. A prime example of an assertive athlete is English footballer Rio Ferdinand. Rio has a low red card and yellow card count, yet is still known for his tough tackling defensive style.

He is also very vocal on the pitch, he is known for barking orders to his defensive team mates and often voicing his opinion on referee decisions. The opposing player may get hurt, but as long as the player got the ball first and the defender had no intention what-so-ever to harm the other player it cannot be classed as aggression. During a match a boxer will try to physically harm another boxer through jabs and other punching techniques. This however, is required in the sport and is therefore assertion rather than aggression. If however, said boxer hit his opponent with his elbow after failing to land a punch, or occasionally throwing a rabbit punch to gain an advantage it becomes instrumental aggression.

Bakker et al found that aggression increased when a team is losing, particularly in a game of great importance.


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The Beckham- Simone incident discussed earlier in this report is an example of this. It was the world cup quarter-final and tensions were high. Another example is that of the world cup final between the eventual winners Spain and Holland. Though they were not losing, Holland were unable to make significant breaks.

Holland played aggressively and committed 28 fouls, receiving 8 yellow cards and 1 second yellow; meaning a red card was given to John Hetitinga. Arjen Robben showed significant signs of aggression, throwing the match ball away from play when a offside went against him. He had previously had 2 clean runs, but the Spanish keeper Iker Casillas, which must have frustrated him. A number of theories are still in competition as to why we are aggressive; however, I am going to concentrate on three of the most popular theories; the instinct theory, Frustration Aggression theory, and the social learning theory.

Instinct theory An instinct is an innate tendency to behave in a certain way. Basically this theory suggests that we as the human race are aggressive in sporting environments because it is in are genetic makeup, and therefore inevitable.

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Sigmund Freud was responsible for much of the psychoanalytical work of the instinct theory. Freud proposed that we are motivated towards two opposing instincts the life drive Eros and the death Drive Thanatos. Freud believe people are motivated towards self- destruction through the death instinct. Therefore, Eros and Thanatos are always in conflict and to resolve the conflict the aggression must be turned outwards, towards other.

However, Freud also proposed that although aggression is always with us, we maintain the ability to exert some control over it. Thus it is not always inevitable. Richards looked at sport as a healthy way to release our death instinct. He studied the importance we attach to kicking in our aggressive tendencies and applied this to sports like football and rugby and termed them civilising influences.

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Sport Psychology: a students handbook, Matt Jarvis, Routledge, A similar take on the instinct theory is that of ethology. Konrad Lorenz was responsible for much of the work on the ethological approach to this theory. Lorenz proposed that the human race have evolved to have a fighting instinct which is trigger by certain environmental stimuli.

Lorenz believed that accumulated aggressive energy and the presents of aggression-releasing environmental stimuli would lead to a display of aggression, such as in a sporting environment. Advanced Studies in Physical. So how does this relate to sport, for example imagine a linebacker in American football player who has had a rather frustrating game.

He has thus far been truly able to get involved for a number of games. However he has been able to maintain his frustration and not lash out in a hostile way. Suddenly a player on the opposite side breaks through and is running to scour a touchdown.

The line backer gives chase and takes him down with a legal tackle. This cathartis through assertiveness. Many have refuted the idea that sport enables aggressive catharsis, one such research case being Zillman, Day and Johnson They compared the aggressive tendencies of athletes competing in aggressive sports athletes competing in non-aggressive sports and non athletes.

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The study found there was no difference between the three groups, which contradict the aggression-cathartis theory. In accordance with this theory those participating in aggressive sports would be expected to be less aggressive as they had the opportunity to release there aggression through sport. However I do not believe this argument is broad enough to disprove this theory. Why, in an aggressive sport, while you may have more opportunity to release your aggression through catharsis, so does your opponent.

If one team is being constantly bested by the other instead of becoming less aggressive they will become more aggressive. This argument is supported by Dollards the Frustration- Aggression theory which I will discuss later. Psychology and sport, Sally Gadsdon, Heinemann, Whether aggression is innate or learned remains an ongoing argument in psychology. The Instincts involved in these theorys are difficult to identify and thus forth difficult to test.

The main problem is that is aggression was instinctive and not learnt then every being on earth would display the same aggressiveness. However Baron ; Richardson have said that cross-cultural studies have found wide variation in human aggression. Smaller rural cultures such as the arapesh of new guinea have shown very little aggression in contrast to European and American standards, which suggests Morden life increases aggression, which is a environmental factor.

There is lack of direct evidence to disprove this theory though it is obvious that different people have different levels of aggression, and if aggression is an instinct we all share then are aggressiveness would be the same. Fustration-Aggresion Theory These theories, closely linked to instinct theorys due to aggression being innate, propose that although we all have an innate aggressive drive, aggressive behaviour is elicited by frustration.

Anderson ; Dill, describe frustration as an interference blocking someone from obtaining a goal; aggression is a behavior in response to frustration, intended to harm the person blocking the goal.

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The main belief behind these theorys is that an aggressive act stems from an aggressive drive, drive being a state of inner tension. The First of these theories was the drive reduction theory put forward by Dollard el al This stated that frustration is caused by an inability to obtain a goal. The frustration triggers an aggressive drive which leads to aggressive acts.

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Dollard put forward a particular model which showed his hypothesis: Above is Dollard et als frustration-aggression model It shows how a blockade to an athletes causes frustration which leads to aggression. Then the athlete can deal with his anger successfully within the rules of a the game; Cathartis. For example a rugby player who has been tackled a number of times whilst trying to score a try, not all of those tackles legal, uses his aggression to legally barge his way past some backs and outruns the fullback to score a try.

According to Dollards model this would cut out the obstacle the backs causing to frustration and aggression to subside. However the aggression could be released unsuccessfully. This would mean that the player would break the rules of the game and act overly aggressive, leading to punishment. This causes the cycle to continue. The punishment would cause the player to become even more frustrated which again would lead to further aggression. Then, again they can release it unsuccessfully causing the cycle to continue or release it successfully, breaking the cycle.

He became more and more frustrated at the outside centre who continuously tackles him. Ones he breaks through the defensive line again the outside centre charges him. His frustration leads to aggression and he gives the outside centre an elbow as he passes.

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The referee may see this and give the player a yellow card, causing the player to spend time in the sin bin. This will lead to further frustration.