It’s much more than just the specific sport; it’s about reinforcing positive attitude and lessons for life.


Sometimes anger can lead to serious problems in our life.

Signs that Anger is a Problem

Too frequent

Sometimes anger is appropriate and useful in pushing us to solve problems. However, if you are coping with lots of anger on a daily basis, it may be reducing the quality of your life, your relationships and your health. Even if your anger is justified, you will feel better if you pick only your most important battles and let go of the rest.

Too intense

Very intense anger is rarely a good thing. Anger triggers an adrenalin response and all kinds of physiological reactions (e.g., heart pumps faster, breathing increases, etc.). When we become
very angry, we are also much more likely to act on impulse and do or say something we later regret.

Lasts too long

When angry feelings last for a long time, they are hard on your mood and on your body. When you stay angry, the littlest thing can really set you off.

Leads to aggression

We are more likely to become aggressive when our anger is very intense. Lashing out at others either verbally or physically is an ineffective way to deal with conflict. When anger leads to aggression, no one benefits.

Disrupts work or relationships

Intense and frequent anger can lead to problems in your relationships with co-workers, family members and friends. At its worst, anger can lead to the loss of employment and damage or destroy important relationships.

When to get help

Your athlete may be in need of help if anger is damaging their life in any of the following ways:

  • Anger interferes with their family life, sport performance or school performance.
  • Anger leads them to lose control of their actions or what they say.
  • Anger prevents them and their loved ones from enjoying life.
  • Anger leads them to act in a threatening or violent manner towards themselves, other people, animals or property.


Anger is a sign that constructive action needs to take place. Anger is a source of energy to get things done and to solve problems.



An individual cannot be relaxed and angry at the same time. If you think of anger as reaching the boiling point, turning down the temperature is a good way of keeping from boiling over. Learning to relax can help lower a person’s daily arousal level. This way, when provoked, they have a much greater distance to travel before they get extremely mad.


A person also can’t be angry when they are laughing. It is easy to take life’s annoyances too seriously. Making an effort to see the humour in our frustrations and aggravations can help to combat a knee-jerk angry reaction.


Anger can be caused by thinking that the other person’s behaviour was intended to hurt us in some way. Often, other people’s behaviour has nothing to do with us personally and instead reflects how they are coping with things in their own lives. To make empathy work, your athletes need to routinely ask: “what does this situation feel like for the other person? Manage Their Thoughts: A good way to lower anger is for them to manage hostile thoughts about the situation.

Take the following steps:

Examine the evidence

What actual evidence do they have to support their view of the situation?

Look for alternatives

What are some alternative ways they could view the situation or conflict? Can they think of some other explanations for why this has happened? What evidence is there for the alternative explanations?


Anger management is strategic and calculated confrontation aimed at solving a problem. The trick to managing anger well is to have a problem-solving goal. This means making sure that their response to their angry feelings is directed at solving the problem. Encourage them not to take their feelings out on everyone around them. Instead, use them in a directed way to solve the problem.

Being Assertive Without Being Aggressive

How we communicate depends on our goals. Goals (even when angry) may include improving to be in the top third, maintaining your self-respect, solving a problem, healthier eating, communicating your feelings, showing understanding, and more. Assertive communication is a skill that can be learned by anyone. Being assertive does not mean behaving aggressively to get their own way. Genuine self-assertion is about respecting themselves, respecting others, and learning how to communicate their feelings honestly and with care.

Negative Reactions to Anger: The 3 Don’ts!

How athletes behave once they have experienced an anger-provoking situation can have a big impact on how much anger they experience and how long the feeling lasts.

They will increase their angry feelings if they respond to anger-provoking situations with any of the three don’ts: bottling it up, getting defensive or lashing out.

Bottling It Up

One way to deal with anger is to avoid saying anything and walking away mad. This way of coping with anger is usually ineffective as a) the problem doesn’t go away, b) when they think about what happened, they get angrier, c) over time, their anger turns into resentment, and d) because they haven’t tried to solve the problem, they may feel discouraged and worse about themself.

Getting Defensive

If they react too quickly to feeling angry, they are more likely to express unhelpful hostility towards others. When they come across as bitter or antagonistic, it is more likely the other person will act hostile in return.

Lashing Out

Physical or verbal aggression is rarely the best response to an anger-provoking situation. Aggressive acts are usually impulsive acts that are later regretted. Aggression leads to negative consequences for everyone involved and doesn’t solve anything in the long run.

Expand the Reach is a web based resource for coaches, athletes of all levels, parents and community organizations to support Mental Wellness, and early intervention for better performance in sport & life. 

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