So I found this article that hit home for me.
“In sport, aggression is a characteristic that can have many negative as well as positive effects on performance. Aggression is defined as “any form of behaviour directed toward the goal of harming of injuring another live being who is motivated to avoid such treatment” (Baron & Richardson, 1994). Most people view aggression as a negative psychological characteristic, however some sport psychologists agree that aggression can improve performance (Widmeyer & Birch, 1984). This is called an assertive behaviour (Bredemeier, 1994), where a player will play within the rules of the sport at a very high intensity, but will have no intention to harm an opponent. In sport, aggression has been defined into two categories: hostile aggression and instrumental aggression (Silva, 1983). Hostile aggression is when the main aim is to cause harm or injury to your opponent. Instrumental aggression is when the main aim is achieve a goal by using aggression. For example a rugby player using aggression to tackle his opponent to win the ball. “
My style is all out, all the time, full intensity.
I’ve been told a thousand different times and in different ways that I am an aggressive player. Yeah, I will be the first to admit; I am intense, hardcore, aggressive or assertive however you may view it. I am not a perfect player, never will be. However, my strength and weakness in water polo is my aggression. Every athlete has their weaknesses that leads to their flaws. My weakness is competive edge leading to an aggressive type of play. My flaws follow this type of play due to me playing with emotion, not passion. I am competitive. But so many times, my aggression has been viewed as malicious or me intending to hurt someone. I have never and will never want to intentionally hurt someone. Will I play to test my boundaries and my opponents? Yeah, that’s how winning works. If you want to find out how competitive I am, read a previous post. What fuels my play is my competitiveness.
Obviously, I am now in college. But high school water polo brought me both great and not so great things. I learned a lot of lessons along the way and I have grown tremendously as a player. I spent my fair share of 20 second penalties in the ejection box. My freshman year was about five inches from an absolute disaster. I didn’t know how to play the game, all I knew is that I wanted that ball. As the years went on however, my aggression followed in my shadow. Whether I played a light game or an intense one, I always had someone saying I was dirty or mean or uncalled for. Sure, I had my moments I’m disappointed in how I acted or played. The moments I talked back to the ref, rolled my eyes, or pushed someone, I understand what I have done is wrong. I have reflected on these moments more than I should have, accepted them, learned from them and moved on. Sometimes I see through my aggression, but it is my weakness. I was known as an aggressive person to a lot of people, and kind of making me out to be this bad guy of some sort. I promise you, I’m not mean outside of the water. Get to know me, I’m actually normal. People who know me, know I am not a mean or cold hearted witch. I definitely grew as a player and left off where I wanted to at Curtis with my type of play.
At the end of the day, I am an aggressive player, I will fight for the win. But I am not malicious. To an average high school girl, I was on the stronger side. Yeah, stronger people seem aggressive because they can move you easier than throwing a penny in a fountain. I have seen that in college, but that does not make them a dirty player. I am proud of how I play now, aggressiveness and all. I believe that it is how I got to be the polo player I am today. I am assertive and use instrumental aggression in my sport, which is a high contact sport. To the people who have coined me as mean, malicious, etc. I am more than that. I am working on controlling my emotions, I am not proud of the times I have played with too much emotion. But I do understand that it is a part of my game and I just need control it. Keep your rude comments and sarcastic remarks to yourself, I’ve heard most of it by now and I’m tired of hearing people besides my coaches and teammates criticize my game. As said above, I realize I was no where near a perfect player then or now. But I have reflected and learned from my mistakes I have made and moved forward. As Thumper would say, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I’m glad I found this article, it shed some light on my situation as a player and I wanted to share it because I know I am known for aggression. To other athletes in my same boat, (I know they are out there) know your style of play, know your weakness and control it. I figured it out my senior year for the most part, and I wish I had earlier. Don’t let your aggression be a negative reputation towards you, let it be positive and define you as a great player. Enjoy 🙂