Violent situations in sport are less frequent, but this does not mean that they have completely disappeared. Preventing these behaviors effectively is essential.

Despite being few cases, unfortunately violence is still present in sports. On several occasions, cases of competitions that are marred by behaviors inappropriate to the values ​​of sport appear on the news. Skirmishes are the order of the day and, unfortunately, they ceased to be a surprise.

There is no single reason that explains violence in sport. It may be, for example, that an athlete feels a lot of frustration in a competition and ends up paying for it with the referee or against his competitor. On the other hand, an athlete can also have the same behavior due to public pressure that pushes him to react recklessly and viscerally.

Be that as it may, no violent behavior is justified , but knowing the causes will allow us to prevent its appearance in the future. Therefore, below we will address why violence occurs in sports.

Not knowing how to handle frustration

Emotions become very intense during a competition. This is not bad per se , but it will turn against the athlete if he does not know how to handle his feelings.

The increased activation produced by emotions can be transformed into something positive, such as an impulse to do your best, or something negative, such as frustration and aggression that need to be channeled sooner rather than later.

The frustration that the athlete feels at a specific moment can lead him to have aggressive behavior . However, the relationship is not so direct, but depends on the environment. This is the main principle of the Signal-Activation Theory. According to this, excessive frustration produces an unpleasant situation for the person that is likely to end in aggression if there are factors in the environment that approve violent behavior.

Excess hormones circulating in the blood

In a competition, changes are produced in the body to adapt to a situation as stressful as it is to push the body to the limit. Among these physiological changes, all the hormones that are released and circulate through the blood stand out.

Among all these hormones, adrenaline and testosterone stand out . The first is responsible for activating the entire body to carry out a behavior, in this case the physical effort of a competition. For its part, testosterone is necessary for muscle growth, but in excess it causes hostile behavior towards others as a result of innate aggressiveness.

This does not mean that hormonal changes alone are responsible for violence in sports. Rather, the activation produced by hormones increases the probability of having violent behavior.

Lack of understanding or communication

On many occasions, conflicts are caused by misunderstandings and failures in communication. The lack of clarity when giving a message or misinterpreting it can cause more problems than direct confrontations. It is already common for a soccer player to argue over a referee ruling, or a tennis player to get angry with a tennis umpire.

As we mentioned earlier, this is more likely to happen in group sports. For example, the discussions that occur between players of the same team when they cannot understand each other during the field.

Conflicts that occur within the team must be resolved as soon as possible as they negatively affect the performance, group cohesion and personal satisfaction of each athlete.

Eradicating violence in sports is a fundamental task

When a violent situation occurs in sport, no one should be indifferent. They are situations that cause a lot of rejection, and that despite the fact that most people condemn, unfortunately, they continue to occur more frequently than we wish.

The best intervention will always be prevention to be able to prevent such behaviors from occurring. In addition, the most effective intervention is the one that is carried out on the little ones, so that they do not reproduce negative behaviors in the future.

This is what a study carried out by the University of the Basque Country affirms. Also, it is very important that prevention is done involving all people within the sports field.

It is the coaches, athletes, families and health professionals who have an equally important role in preventing aggression within sport. Taking all this into account, all that remains is to take action to eradicate sports violence once and for all.

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