Three…two…one…ERRRRRR! Sports are full of excitement and entertainment for both the fans and the athletes. Have you ever wondered how stressful playing a sport could be? Some might be surprised by the results. There are many different types of stressors that contribute to a player and their sports performance. Total stress load can cause athletes to be drained emotionally and at times it can be complicated for a person to deal with the stress that arises. Stress can also take a toll physically on athletes, whether it be muscle or bone related, pressure builds up and can have an effect on their performance. It’s hard to understand the amount of stress that can be put on an athlete without knowing what stress is, the types of stressors that cause stress, total stress load, and how to cope with stress physically and emotionally. Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. To put it in simple terms, stress is the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change. According to TeensHealth, “Most people play sports with others for the thrill of having fun with those that they share interests with” (Lyness, 1). On the other hand, sometimes athletes that are playing get put under a lot of pressure via their coach, school or even their own parents to go out there and get a win every single time. Winning, of course leads to the entire team having fun, but if the stress and demand is so high from a player, it might not become as enjoyable for that specific player. While stress may be the downfall for some athletes’ performance, there are also many cases where stress can become positive for a player to meet the challenge. To understand how stress can be a positive factor in sports, it is crucial to know the difference between distress and eustress. In Jerrold Greenberg’s Comprehensive Stress Management, distress is described as bad things to which one has to adapt and that can lead to a stress reaction (Greenberg, 5). TeensHealth describes eustress as the good type of stress stemming from the challenge of taking part in something enjoyable but need to work hard for (Lyness, 1). To understand the effect that stress has on an athlete, one must understand the concept of what a stressor is. “Stressors are a stimulus with the potential for triggering the fight-or-flight response” which was defined in Comprehensive Stress Management (Greenberg, 9). A stressor is generally anything that causes the release of stress hormones. When dealing with stressors in sports, TheSportInMind states that there are three specific stressors: competitive, organizational, and personal. Competitive stressors are stressors that only arise when competing in a competitive situation. The competitive stressors that most people are familiar with in sports are pressure, injuries, opponents, technique issues, and preparation. Organizational stressors are formed when the athlete has to deal with demands in which the organization he/she is playing for. The five organizational themes are as followed: intrinsic factors (travel and train environment), roles in sports organizations (role conflict), climate and structure, interpersonal demands (lack of support) and also performance development issues. These types of organizational stressors are thought of to have the most impact on sports performance. Personal stressors are thought of as stressors that precisely have a correlation to personal life events. The two stressors that author Andrew Wood points out are lifestyle and financial issues (Wood, 1). Sometimes it is hard for a player to compete to their full potential when their mind is focused on relationships or money issues. According to Sports Psychology, total stress load is composed of a formula: Lifestyle Stress + Training Stress + Emotional Stress + Competition Stress = Total Stress Load (Tulloh, 3). If an athlete can be aware of their total stress load, he/she can have the chance to...
Cited: Greenberg, Jerrold S. Comprehensive Stress Managment. 13th ed. New York City: McGraw Hill, 2013. Print.
Lyness, D 'Arcy. "Handling Sports Pressure & Competition." Teens Health. Nemours Foundation, Sept. 2013. Web. 23 Nov. 2014. .
Singh, Arunjot. "Stress, Sports and Performance." Serendip. Serendip, 26 Feb. 2013. Web. 2 Dec. 2014. .
Tulloh, Bruce. "Sports Psychology." Sports Performance. Green Star Media, 14 Sept. 2013. Web. 4 Dec. 2014. .
Wood, Andrew. "Stress in Elite Sports." TheSportInMind. TheSportInMind, 23 May 2013. Web. 29 Nov. 2014. .
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