Aggression in sports can be looked at from different perspectives like hostile aggression or violence which is intended to harm someone or psychologically, or instrumental aggression with a goal twin and not to harm and assertive aggression which is a legitimate force with no intent to harm.
In some cases sports and exercises are seen as means of controlling aggression in the society. Some argue that sport allows someone to pen up their aggression in an assertive manner. This notion however creates an argument on whether violence in the society is controlled by sports or it’s the sports that facilitate more violence (Weinberg, & Gould 2007).
Various theories can be used to explain the nature of aggression in sports and exercises: the instinct/ biological theory which is bent on people are born aggressive which is not believed anymore, the frustration drive theory where one commits an act of aggression as a release, the revised frustration concept which determines if one will repeat that behaviour for example, the reaction of a coach toward your aggressive behaviour and social learning theory which involves reinforcement and influence and repeating actions that one sees in sports (Weinberg, & Gould 2007).
There are various factors that promote aggression in sports and exercise like heat when temperature exceeds the optimal, loud noise and crowding like when riots occur. Psychological factors like low scoring sports and alcohol which can impair the judgement and induce violence.
Other key factors include sociological factors like hooliganism and the media. Sport related factors like point spread, playing at home or away, a win or a loss and the standings of the game or sport (Weinberg, & Gould 2007).
Aggressive acts are highly motivated, have tremendous release of physical energy and people not afraid of failure or getting hurt. Acts of aggression take place when official appear biased in low scoring games, fans unrealistic expectations of the team, early fouling game, player frustration, strong fan attachment to teams, where standings or records are highly different, losing, pain, embarrassment and playing poorly or unusual excitement when one cannot calm (Weinberg, & Gould 2007).
There are various recommendations to reduce aggression in sports. The management should deal with alcohol at sporting events, choose calmer colors and make sports events family oriented. The media can help people approach sports in a more humanistic way.
Coaches should promote sportsmanship while the officials need to be objective and change the rules of punishments. Players and fans should have individual responsibility (Weinberg, & Gould 2007).
On the gender aspect the tendency for men to manifest a higher level of aggressiveness than men is quite evident. In connection to that men perceive aggression in sports to be more legitimate than men. In most cases in sports that are considered male oriented men display more aggression.
Generally women tend to be less involved in violent or aggressive sports and exercises. Sports whose officials are female also tend to record less cases of aggression than those officiated by men. Again in most games gender has displayed impacts on instrumental aggression because men display more instrumental aggressive acts than females especially in those games are masculine characteristic (Weinberg, & Gould 2007).
In other studies men have displayed more stereotypes in officiating than women, for example they tend to penalize women more than men especially in the male dominated sports.
In conclusion aggression and gender greatly influence sports and exercise psychology. Gender also influences aggression in some sports.