As we watch the World Cup series, we can witness all the intense emotions these athletes are faced with. As usual, when there is a bad call or a dirty play, anger is easily triggered. Consequently, we witness poor anger management out on the field. Luis Suarez, soccer player from Uruguay, was alleged to bite opponents during a game for the third time. Most competitors (if not all) will agree that winning seems to be everything when playing a game and letting things go in the heat of the game is quite difficult to do.

So how can an athlete deal with this anger?

  1. Should they yell at the coach or team mates?
  2. Remove themselves from the game?
  3. Bite their opponents?
  4. Body slam?

Here are 5 tips on how to manage anger during a game:

1. Redirect Your Energy: Find different ways to channel your energy during the game. Focus your energy on your physical performance such as running faster, moving faster or keeping your eyes on the ball. This will allow you to improve your performance and keep your mind off your anger.

2. Use Positive Self Affirmations: Develop positive self talk to help release anger. Use examples like “I let go mistakes and focus on my next move” or “I am calm and a good player”. These phrases will help to focus our attention and trigger the ideal response.

3. Take a Deep Breath: As soon as you start feeling angry or triggered, take three deep breaths. Pay attention to your body language as you take these breaths to help you relax and calm down. Learning how to control your breathing can affect how well you manage your anger levels.

4. Role Play: According to sports psychologists and research, role playing through positive responses can be effective in formulating the right response during a game. Practice with another person on positive responses to situations that trigger anger.

5. Remember the bro-code: There are certain rules meant to be guidelines between Bro’s. One of these rules are no hitting in the groin area or biting. Keep in mind the unspoken code of ethics while playing on the field or court.

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Author Mayeling Angelastro, MA is a Bilingual Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern providing help to families, couples, children and teenagers with offices in Orlando and East Orlando.  She teaches a 6 Hour Teen Anger Management Group in Orlando Florida.  (407) 248-0030