Is “What happens on the pitch stays on the pitch” appropriate sporting behavior?

(I asked this question on IPS.SE however I have altered the question to get a different insight from more sport minded people)

3 Answers

My question is: is it okay to be overly passionate/borderline aggressive when on the pitch playing a team sport without it carrying over to off the pitch interactions?


Simple answer: Unless everybody on the team thinks that’s okay (or they are paid to accept it), that’s simply not okay.

Being on the pitch reveals the worst of a person’s character. In your case that’s apparently “borderline aggressive” behavior. Clearly there is somebody on the team who isn’t simply accepting/ignoring that behavior, so now it’s up to you how you want to handle this.

Sportsmanship and abusive behavior

Sportsmanship – named after sports itself – is all about one upping normal daily behavior. During normal interactions shouting abusively isn’t accepted, so on the pitch you should one-up that. Yes, you will be under stress and it can be hard, but sports is typically about a whole lot more than just winning.

Honestly, there are a lot of bad role models in sports. We often see professional coaches losing their cool on TV. We have all heard about abusive high school coaches. So in that sense it’s not surprising that such behavior will feel acceptable, especially if you had such a coach at some point. The simple reality however, is that outside of very ‘serious’ contexts this behavior is simply considered abusive. If it’s not okay in the office, nor in the bar, why would it be acceptable on the pitch?

Do you even achieve what you want?

Outside of sports a lot of research has been done into this type of leadership and it turns out that all it does is demotivate the large majority of people causing most companies with such leadership do well short term and then burn up quickly and completely. If your goal is to win, think about what will motivate each individual player. Maybe there are players who will get motivated by being shouted at and actually enjoy it (who knows, there are a lot of weird kinks out there and shouting at each other might get the adrenaline flowing), but for most there are different far better ways to motivate them.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published.