Anger Management in Sport:Undrstndng/Controlling Violence Athlte: Understanding and Controlling Violence in Athletes

Anger Management in Sport:Undrstndng/Controlling Violence Athlte: Understanding and Controlling Violence in Athletes

by Mitch Abrams

Anger management is becoming an increasingly significant area of study in sport. This issue affects all people involved in the sporting environment, yet few sport professionals, coaches, or administrators fully understand anger in sport and how to work with athletes to overcome the problem. Anger Management in Sport:


Anger management is becoming an increasingly significant area of study in sport. This issue affects all people involved in the sporting environment, yet few sport professionals, coaches, or administrators fully understand anger in sport and how to work with athletes to overcome the problem. Anger Management in Sport: Understanding and Controlling Violence in Athletes addresses this important topic and provides strategies and interventions for overcoming excessive anger and aggression in athletes. The provocative book challenges long-held assumptions and points the way to further research and discussion.

With its accessible format and proactive approach, Anger Management in Sport is an ideal resource for practitioners at all levels of sport who work with athletes and anger, both on and off the field. The author draws on his unique background and clinical experiences creating and implementing anger management skills for a variety of populations—from high school athletes to prison inmates. His unique insight will stimulate discussion on a range of issues associated with anger in sport, including mental illness, drugs, and differences and similarities in amateur and professional athletes. Readers will understand not only how to approach an anger problem but also how to help an athlete work to manage emotions.

Rather than eliminate old explanations, the book paves the way to a new understanding of issues vital to the health of sport. Chapters 1 and 2 help readers better understand anger and violence and how to assess anger in sport. Anger, aggression, violence, and hostility are defined so that readers will understand the conceptual differences between each. Chapter 3 discusses the athletic culture and how anger is uniquely considered in sports. Readers will recognize some instances of anger in sport through the discussion of such high-profile events as the Baylor University basketball scandal, the O.J. Simpson trial, and the infamous 2004 Pacers-Pistons NBA melee in Detroit involving crowd aggression. Chapters 5 and 6 examine mental illness and drugs in sport. Chapters 7 through 9 tackle anger management programs, systematic interventions for athletes, and prevention of sexual violence.

Real-world situations presented in the text will engage readers and help them picture how to use anger management skills in their own lives and careers. By considering the various stakeholders involved and the preventive measures that can be taken, researchers and professionals will step closer to discovering best practices and strategies for anger management in today’s sport society.

Although helping athletes deal with anger is an important part of sport, there is little research to address the key issues regarding this difficult subject. Anger Management in Sport will help readers understand the causes for anger in sport and how to help athletes who demonstrate aggressive behavior. It will shed light on an uncharted issue and provide direction for future research in the area.

Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Michael C Hawthorne, PhD (The Northshore Group)
Description: With this book, the author puts the topics of anger and violence in athletes and athletics in a comprehensive sociological, psychological, and physiological context. This book seeks to provide an understanding of excessive anger and violence within the special culture of sport while challenging biases and myths that pervade the societal view and contaminate what little research previously has been conducted on these topics. Based on his clinical experience in a variety of settings, the author also provides outlines for related intervention programs he has developed and delivered.
Purpose: Both the title and preface promise a practical handbook of strategies and programs for teaching anger management skills and advancing the emerging best practices in sports psychology. However, the strength of this book is the wide-ranging and comprehensive context in which the author sets anger and violence in sports; more than half the book is devoted to this mission. Dealing effectively with anger management in sports is of growing importance and there isn't a great deal written on the special challenges of learning and applying anger and impulse management techniques in the competitive and high stakes world of sports, for actions both on and off the field. Coaches, trainers, psychologists, physicians, and drug and alcohol counselors all are involved in assisting athletes with this and they all could benefit from a resource book rich in practical applications. This book disappoints, though, by devoting only one chapter to anger management techniques per se and one to the prevention of sexual violence.
Audience: The book is aimed at treating professionals who will be working directly with athletes referred for anger management and/or violent incidents. It also would make a suitable textbook for students in the field. The author clearly is an expert in this area. He knows both psychology and sports, so he has "street cred" with both other professionals and the athletes with whom he works.
Features: Most of the book aims for a systematic understanding of anger and violence in sports by way of reviewing psychological theories of aggression and learning, psychopathology, and topics such as the influence of drugs in problems of impulse control. The author develops this context while citing numerous stories of aggression and violence in sports over the decades, from the belligerence of Ty Cobb to the punch that realigned the facial bones of Rudy Tomjanovich. When the author shifts more to intervention than understanding, he includes a helpful list of techniques that help athletes and nonathletes alike. The book also includes an excellent discussion of sexual violence and a program for its prevention among athletes.
Assessment: This is an important topic to all involved in sports — from athletes and their loved ones to coaches, university deans, and team owners. This book will help treatment professionals understand the topic in a broad context as they help athletes learn to deal with their anger and aggression. Perhaps the author will follow up this strong development of the topic's background with another book that is more practically focused. Treating professionals also would benefit from the author's experience and resource kit of techniques that promote experiential learning and developmental growth with a clinical population who are always busy, often entitled, and frequently resistant to intervention.

Product Details

Human Kinetics Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
7.20(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Mitch Abrams, PsyD, is a clinician administrator for University Correctional HealthCare/UMDNJ, where he is responsible for the delivery of mental health services for 6 of the state’s 13 state prisons. Dr. Abrams co-coordinates the forensic track of UMDNJ’s predoctoral psychology internship and has been involved with several aspects of advancing the quality of mental health services in prison systems. He is a clinical assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at UMDNJ/Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and has held adjunct faculty positions at Brooklyn College, C.W. Post, and Fairleigh Dickinson University. Since 2000, he has been in private practice providing sport, clinical, and forensic psychology services.

Dr. Abrams began consulting with athletes in 1997 while developing the only comprehensive anger management program for athletes. He has created a niche in using anger management training to assist athletes in reaching peak performance on the field and in life. He has consulted with thousands of athletes and has developed programs for athletic organizations at the youth sport, high school, and college levels. He is the founder and president of Learned Excellence for Athletes, a sport psychology consulting company located in Fords, New Jersey.

Raised in Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Abrams received a bachelor of science degree from Brooklyn College and earned a master of science degree in applied psychology and a doctorate of psychology (PsyD) in clinical psychology from C.W. Post/Long Island University. He also received specialized training in family violence and anger management. He is a full member of the American Psychological Association as well as its Division 47 (Exercise and Sport Psychology) and Division 41 (American Psychology-Law Society). Further, he holds membership in the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP), where he is also the chair of the Anger and Violence in Sport Special Interest Group (SIG), and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT).

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