Playing with Anger: Teaching Coping Skills to African American Boys through Athletics and Culture

Playing with Anger: Teaching Coping Skills to African American Boys through Athletics and Culture

Playing with Anger: Teaching Coping Skills to African American Boys through Athletics and Culture

Playing with Anger: Teaching Coping Skills to African American Boys through Athletics and Culture

Synopsis

"The volume presents unique, "culturally relevant" interventions that can teach coping skills to African American boys with a history of aggression. Stevenson provides the history and current events for readers to understand why these youths perceive violence as the only way to react. Interventions and preventative actions developed in the PLAAY project (Preventing Long-Term Anger and Aggression) are presented. These include teaching coping skills and anger management via athletics such as basketball and martial arts. Frustrations and strengths in those athletics illuminate the players' emotional lives, and serve as a basis for self-understanding and life skill development." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

I will never forget the bonding that was developed so richly between my brother and me as we played sports with each other in our country backyard—our own makeshift Madison Square Garden where tree limbs became screaming fans as we replayed last-second buzzer beaters in slow motion. the combination of playful competitiveness and challenge, along with caring and support frame the key liberating memories of my childhood. the game, any game, where the chance to show off our skills or just yell and release the tensions of the day, would hold so many possibilities for healing that doing anything else to pass the time would have been unthinkable. When I became a psychologist in training I realized that getting children and youth to talk about their problems was often much easier when we walked together, or played together, or were engaged in some seemingly competitive movement activity. I would often sneak in questions and comments to my clients while they were preoccupied with the athletic demand at the time, and their resistance would seem to be lessened and often less necessary.

Eventually, the combination of play and “work” in a clinical sense was a great fit for me although I was aware that play increased the avenues for instantaneous resistance and influence; for frustration and the tolerance of frustration; for failure and success. Besides the fact that I am addicted to sports activities, I felt there was much more therapeutic promise in the integration of athletic movement with clinical intervention. This integration was not a hypothesis as much as an appreciation of my own experiences as an athlete and as a coach of children and adolescents. Since my son was four, I have been coaching him and other youth in soccer and bas-

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