Sports & Aggression In Kids

Aggression is linked to harder play.

While aggression isn’t a necessity for kids playing recreational sports, it certainly helps. For kids who are trying to make higher-level, more competitive teams, being aggressive is a must, as it is linked to competitive drive and work ethic.

Aggressive Kids

Aggression comes from the will to win.

Dr. Tom Johnson, a Professor of Exercise Science at Emory University in Atlanta, says the general makeup of a child determines how aggressive they will be in sports. It’s difficult to teach kids to be aggressive. In most cases, they either have it or they don’t.

Positive Aggression

Healthy aggression

Dr. Johnson reinforces the notion of positive aggressiveness. “I always felt when I was coaching that kids needed to be aggressive when playing sports, and that there is a direct link between success and aggressive behavior on the sports field.”

Negative Aggression

Aggression can be negative.

There is such a thing as being too aggressive. Taking unnecessary penalties that cost your team points or games are generally frowned upon when kids are playing sports. Dr. Johnson says aggression can be controlled and that the good players can do that.

Managing Aggression

Riding the pine is an effective discipline tool in sports.

Overly aggressive play can be harnessed by coaches. One way to get the message across that losing control or hurting other players on purpose will not be tolerated is to bench the offending players.

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Promoting Aggression

Passive play unwelcome in competitive sports.

A passive approach to sports is disappointing to many coaches trying to get the best out of their players. Dr. Johnson says a lack of confidence in executing the sport, or a lack of support from teammates, can all contribute to passive play in kids.