Stress and Anxiety in Sports
Sports have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I know from countless experiences how stress and anxiety can affect ones performance. Anyone involved in sports in anyway will understand the feelings that rush through you when you are in a high risk, and high pressure situations. Those final moments of a close game, or even the night before your big match or competition, are great examples of situations that would create the sudden rush of these feelings; and therefore, triggering a spike in anxiety. Whether you are in the stands, on the bench, playing or coaching, you get that “butterfly” feeling in your stomach. The difference between success and failure is how you deal with high pressure situations. If you let nervousness and anxiety overcome you, it could cost you and your team the match or that podium spot you worked so hard for. The question is, how do you control it, and how important is it that you control it? The Issue:
“Anxiety is a negative emotional state characterized by nervousness, worry, and apprehension and associated with activation or arousal of the body” (Robert S. Weinberg, Daniel Gould, 2007). When given the opportunity to shoot that final shot for the championship game, or that final at bat, most don’t take it as an opportunity but rather a curse. In these high risk, and high pressure situations, the fear of failure taints their view of these possible opportunities to excel. This is what causes their stress and anxiety levels to rise at a drastic speed. Look at athletes such as Kobe Bryant and Tiger Woods. These are two athletes who are considered to be two of, if not the most clutch players in their respective sports. Do you think that when Kobe Bryant has the ball in his hand with 10 seconds left on...