Definition of stress in sport – a guide to understanding how athletes deal with competitions
In this guide, we will discuss how stress affects the athletes and how they cope with it.
Definition of stress in sports
One of the most practised activities over the years has been sports. Sport unites people and nations and is a form of entertainment admired by many. Spectators enjoy sports, both watching their team win and lose, but the fun feature is always present.
The people who decide to be in the other part of sports are the athletes. Many see sport as entertainment and others as a means to develop, create a profession and get money for what they do. Sport is a discipline that involves the person having a great commitment to what they want to do to get good results.
When a person decides to start in the world of sports, it immerses itself in both physical and mental training. Depending on the type of sport, the training will have different levels of strength but in the end, it requires a great job. Sport, seen by many as a job, requires dedication and commitment.
In the sport there is competition, and at the time of competing there is a winner and a loser. Everyone wants to win and nobody wants to lose and for this to happen the one who gives the best performance is the one who wins. To win, the person needs to work hard. This work that athletes do can take them to an extreme where they develop stress.
The definition of stress in sport can be understood as the excessive concern that the athlete and the people around develop to achieve victory. As each team wants the win, many times the coaches or family members put the athlete under constant pressure to improve their performance.
The person who practices the sport suffers pressure from everyone around. They demand the limit to give their best performance. Stress in sports, at moderate levels, has positive effects, it helps the person to be motivated and worry about doing well. But when the stress in sports exceeds normal levels, it can affect the athlete’s performance and affect his physical and mental health. The stressed athlete only focuses day and night on training to win, forgetting other responsibilities that are important to its life.
Sometimes people around the athlete forget that this is a human being and it needs rest. Some coaches subject athletes to training so strong that the athlete cannot resist and could lead to serious physical problems. The family also plays an important role. Many parents and other relatives subject their children to high levels of pressure when they start in sports. They do not understand that the purpose of sport also has a fun part and that subjecting a child to such a physical and emotional load can bring negative results throughout their training.
There have been athletes who have retired from the sport due to the demands of various aspects in the field of sport. Some came to understand that the purpose of the sport is not only competitive but its also fun and should not be a cause to feel stressed or pressured.
People within the field must know the definition of stress in sport. Sometimes they get athletes to reach high levels of stress without wanting to, so here comes the importance of knowing more about what stress is and how it affects the athlete, its performance and health positively and negatively.
What is stress?
Stress can be defined as a state of physical or emotional tension, caused by any situation or thought that makes the person feel frustrated, furious or nervous.
Stress is the body’s reaction to a demand. At low levels, stress can be positive because it works as an alert call and motivates the person to continue working or helps them see danger somewhere. But when stress levels are higher and have greater durability in the person, it can cause damage to physical and mental health.
Symptoms of stress
The symptoms that can cause stress are both physical and mental, among which are:
- Bad memory
- Lack of energy
- Lack of concentration
- Chest pains
- Trouble sleeping
- Loss or gain of weight
- Diarrhoea or constipation
- Rigid neck or jaw
When it comes to stress in sport, several of these symptoms are very present. The person who practices sports is very tired due to the arduous training and its mind is exhausted by the mental effort it has to make to remain focused. It has a bad memory because it is only focused on issues related to sports and neglects other issues in its daily life.
How can a person control stress in sports?
Sport has always been taken into account as one of the most favourite activities to reduce stress, but when stress is in sport, other measures must be taken so that those who practice sports reduce their stress levels.
One of the causes for which stress in sport occurs is due to the pressure that athletes are subjected. The coach and people around should reduce the pressure so that the person can reduce their stress levels. There is a difference between wanting a person to do its best and to take the person to an extreme where his stress levels soar. People who are around the athlete should understand that it is not a machine, is a person that has feelings, needs rest and occasionally disconnects from the sport.
The person who develops stress in sports does so because of the requirement that it applies itself. It wants to be the best, give more than 100% and all this is fine. What is not right is that the person takes it to a level where they can compromise their physical and mental health. Sport should not cause negative reactions to health, but positive ones. The body and mind have their limits and the person should not wait to face a difficult situation to realize the dangers of taking things to the extreme.
Sometimes people generate stress in sports when they don’t know how to share responsibility. In sports where they play as a team, some people want to claim full responsibility and do not remember that it is everyone’s job. Assuming more responsibilities than is due can cause the person to have a higher level of stress.
The sport can cause the person to get negative emotions due to the feelings it has about won, it does not accept a loss. To reduce this characteristic that brings out stress in sport, the person must understand that in all competitions there will always be a winner and a loser. Losing is not bad at all. Looking at things more positively will help to make negative emotions less persistent.
When it comes to the definition of stress in sports, this can cause the person to lose fun for what they do. People start a sport because they like it, have fun and it is a way to release stress and practice new things. When the reason changes, stress levels increase. Regardless of the type of competition that the person is, it should never forget that the sport they practice should cause fun and satisfaction.
Other techniques that the person can perform to reduce stress in sports is to practice relaxation techniques such as meditation. Meditation helps the person to release various thoughts in his mind that have him charged. Constant thoughts that you should win can increase stress levels.
Sleeping well and eating well is part of reducing stress levels in sports. A well-maintained body with sufficient amounts of sleep will help the person stay healthy and in a better mood.
FAQs about the definition of stress in sports?
Is it right for a person to seek professional help if the sport is causing stress?
If the person feels that he cannot control stress levels on its own, the best thing he can do is seek help from a health professional.
How does stress positively affect sports?
When stress acts positively, it helps the person to worry about their performance and spend more time training to improve and be a better athlete.
What happens if a person does not reduce their stress levels in sports?
If a person fails to reduce their stress levels in sports, this will continue to affect their physical and mental health negatively. Body aches will increase, the mind will be overloaded and may take the person to a point where it develops diseases.
Is it advisable for a person to give up practising a sport if it is generating stress?
If the person feels that they cannot deal with everything that comes with practising a sport, for the sake of their physical and mental health, giving up would be an option. The resignation can occur if the person tried several methods to reduce stress levels and sought professional help, and at the end got to the conclusion that the best for its health is to stop practising the sport.
How can the person deal with the stress and pressures that come with playing a sport?
Some actions that the person can perform to deal with stress and pressures within the sport are not being consumed by the desire to just win, relax, enjoy the moment, recognize when the body says to stop and focus on the moment.
Stress in sport is very common but should not go unnoticed. Athletes have great pressures from different sources, but these should never reach the point of making the person feel bad in the physical and mental realm. The sport must be fun and the person must feel satisfaction in what it practices.