Hazing In Sport – A Briefing

Hazing in sport has been an ongoing issue, from the youth to elite levels, for many years. As Dr. John Heil says, “any and all athletes are vulnerable to hazing” (Heil, 2016), and it can be a traumatizing experience for those involved. Many athletes refer to hazing as “team-building” and “tradition”, while studies have shown that hazing can decrease team cohesion rather than improve it (Van Raalte et al., 2007). Professionals, parents, coaches, and athletes all should be informed about how to recognize and prevent hazing, and how to reduce hazing in sport.

According to Waldron (n.d.), hazing can diminish an athlete’s confidence by promoting self-doubt, depression, low self-esteem, and in the worst-case scenario, suicidal thoughts.

Some athletes think that hazing creates a group identity.

Fact: Research shows that group identity is established when the athlete joins the team (Van Raalte et al., 2007). Hazing does not build attraction to the group.

Some athletes claim that hazing is a tradition that builds character (Smith & Stellino, 2007).

Fact: New players may feel pressured into hazing if they want to be accepted by the older players on the team. This may be driven by a “sport think” phenomenon cultivated by veteran players, producing fear and persuasion. Once the new players become veterans, they often maintain the perspective of valuing hazing and create the cycle of hazing.

Why Does Hazing Happen?

When new athletes are introduced to a team, promoting a positive and constructive environment is key to a fluid transition. When this outcome is not achieved, harsh exclusion and hazing may take place. Given the inherent need for belonging and acceptance by the “in-group,” athletes may be vulnerable to hazing (Maslow, 1971). Many may succumb to the hazing ‘sport think” phenomenon and overlook potential consequences and risks. To justify these hazing behaviors to themselves, individuals frame them in a positive way through displaced responsibility, attribution of blame, and diffusion of responsibility (Heil, 2016).

What You Can Do: Strategies to Reduce Hazing in Sport

(This briefing was originally published under the American Psychological Association Division 47 on the Virginia Commonwealth Games Sport Hazing Awareness Site.  For full literature, please visit their website.  Reprinted with permission.)

References:

  • Hamilton, R., Scott, D., LaChapelle, D., & O’Sullivan L. (2016). Applying social cognitive theory to predict hazing perpetration in university athletics. Journal of Sport Behavior, 39(3), 255-277.
  • Heil, J. (2016). Sport advocacy; Challenge, controversy, ethics and action. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 5(4), 281-295.
  • Kirby, S. L., & Wintrup, G. (2002). Running the gauntlet: An examination of initiation/hazing and sexual abuse in sport, Journal of Sexual Aggression, 8(2), 29-68.
  • Maslow, A. M. (1971). The Farther reaches of human nature. New York: Viking Press.
  • Smith, H., & Stellino, M.B. (2007). Cognitive dissonance in athletic hazing: The roles of commitment and athletic identity. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 29, 169-170.
  • Van Raalte, J.L. Cornelius, A.E., Linder, D.E., & Brewer. B.W. (2007). The relationship between hazing and team cohesion. Journal of Sport Behavior, 30(4), 491-507.
  • Waldron, J. Reducing hazing in sport teams, http://www.appliedsportpsych.org/resources/resources-for-coaches/reducing-hazing-in-sport-teams/.

WHOOP: Improve your recovery skills

For coaches, its long been difficult to objectively track an athlete’s rest and recovery. Proper recovery is necessary for peak performance. The WHOOP technology tracks and analyzes a swimmer’s daily Strain, Recovery, and Sleep. Best of all, it’s validated by science.  More sleep has been shown to correlate with faster swimming performance.

“With WHOOP, I can actually score my recovery every night, so I now know the things I’m doing during the day that affects my sleep and recovery.” – Connor Jaeger

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The WHOOP Strap slips on to a swimmer’s wrist and collects data from underneath sensors 24/7. It collects over 100MB of data on an athlete per day that is displayed in the WHOOP app. The WHOOP strap collects heart rate, heart rate variability, ambient temperature, and motion.

Your swimmers aren’t just swimmers for two or three hours a day. They are swimmers 24 hours a day. Are poor sleep skills negating all the hard work in the pool? WHOOP’s Sleep Coach helps optimize an athlete’s sleep schedule.

Wondering why Chris is struggling today in practice? Coaches now have insight into each individual athlete’s recovery status. This allows coaches to make better decisions to help aid recovery and avoid injury.

After just 4 months, WHOOP athletes…

  • dedicate an additional 41 minutes of sleep per night
  • reduce resting heart rate by 4.4 beats per minute
  • increase heart rate variability by 8 milliseconds
  • reported injuries 60% less often

Start tracking, analyzing, and improving your recovery skills with WHOOP today!

TritonWear: Real Data in Real Time

“Competitive swimmers don’t do a whole lot to track their performances over time.” – Tristan Lehari

Until now.

If you haven’t seen or used the Triton unit, you are going to want to check it out. The Triton unit sits comfortably on the back of a swimmer’s head and sends real time data to a coach’s tablet.

What kind of data? Every metric possible: stroke count, stroke rate, speed, distance per stroke, turn time, and time underwater. Check out TritonWear’s race analysis of Caeleb Dressel’s 100 Fly from World Champs or Kylie Masse’s World Record 100 Backstroke.

Stroke count and stroke rate are so critically important in swimming. Here is what Bob Gillett said at least year’s clinic:

“This is what swimming’s all about. We call it the essence of swimming. For coaches and swimmer’s, it’s the essence of life. This is what it’s all about. This is the meaning of life. It’s a concept you must understand.”

TritonWear allows a coach to access the data of all their swimmers simultaneously. It puts the “essence of swimming” into the palm of your hand, allowing you to provide instant feedback to swimmers. If your goal stroke rate is 1.2 cycles per second, you’ll want to train at 1.2 cycles per second. That’s deliberate practice at its best. TritonWear easily disseminates this information throughout each and every swim practice automatically.

“Using technology like this really keeps the swimmers engaged in their day to day training and keeps them focused on their performance. We do a set of best average 50’s every Monday night. I can tag all those workouts and pull them all up and evaluate apples-to-apples on a week-to-week basis and watch their progress.” – Kevin Anderson, Head Coach of Mississauga Swimming

Take your swimmers to the next level. Visit https://tritonwear.com/ and request a demo today!

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