Football, aggression and a 17 year-old boy with a temper : LUSENET : APA Division 47 Exercise and Sport Psychology : One Thread

Hi. My son is 17, and legallay blind due to macular dystrophy. He is graduating from an 18-month program for kids with emotional problems. He and his dad think it is a good idea for him to join his new school's football team. I hesitate for two reasons: 1) protecting what vision he has left, and 2) I wonder if, as they contend, this is a good way for him to get out his aggressions or not? Any comments on my second question would be enormously appreciated.

-- Elaine S. Bacsa (, August 09, 1999


Elaine, With regards to your concern/question of whether or not football, or sports for that matter, is a "good way for him to get out his aggressions" there are a couple of issues that you must consider. First, what does the coach think about aggression? If the coach encourages his athletes to be aggressive in the violent sense, run for the hills. Aggression, which is of two types instrumental and reactive, is certainly part of sports. If you are looking for a place for your son to get out his frustrations, my recommendation is that this is not the place to do it. If he has problems with his temper and anger, he really needs to see a professional about learning anger management techniques. Anger gets in the way of performance and could lead to your son or another athlete getting hurt - this should not be a goal of sport. If, however, he is able to focus some of his pent up energy in a way that is conducive to sports success, and that would include anger management skills as well, it might be a place that he can feel competent and build self- esteem. Hope this is helpful for starters.

Mitch Abrams, Psy.D.

-- Mitch Abrams, Psy.D. (, August 18, 1999.

Thank you, Mitch. Your answer was enormously helpful. I will "check this out" at my son's new school. The administration has been alerted about my son's condition and has promised to talk to the coach. I did not know that there are two types of aggression, but of course that makes perfect sense. I will try to talk to my son about this before he leaves later this week for school. Elaine S. Bacsa

-- Elaine S. Bacsa (, August 23, 1999.

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