Hazing is any activity expected of athletes joining a sport team that humiliates or abuses them. These activities are considered hazing whether the athlete wants to participate or not.
Examples of hazing activities include:
Because hazing includes humiliating, degrading, abusive, and dangerous activities, athletes who have been hazed may have negative psychological experiences. These psychological experiences will differ based on the athlete, the hazing activity, and the environment – some psychological experiences may last a short period of time whereas others may be longer lasting.
Psychological effects of hazing includes:
These psychological experiences may result in athletes feeling like they are unable to be friends with people on the team and may even result in athletes quitting their sport. Additionally, these psychological experiences will probably affect other areas of athletes’ lives, such as school and family.
Schools and athletic programs have the responsibility to have policies in place to discourage hazing. Two ways to help deter hazing is implementing a policy and creating alternative team bonding activities. Three steps should be used when creating a policy.
Coaches and administrators should also encourage and assist team captains and team leaders to create positive, alternative team building activities. These team-building activities can establish team identity and cohesion without forcing athletes to engage in risky and dangerous behaviors.
Team-building activities may include: