Sports Psychology is a new aspect of the sports realm but arguably growing in importance every year due to the mental aspects of sport. Here the article talks about the effects of stress on sports as it pertains to athletic performance. It quotes the legendary golfer Arnold Palmer by referencing his take on the mental game of golf. Saying that the game is 90% mental and 10% physical.
Stress is defined as a physical, emotional, or mental demand of the body that disrupts homeostasis. As the article refers, it is a part of everyday life. In the world of sport, it has both all the mental and some of the physiological factors that athletes must overcome to come out on top in competition. This is episodic. Meaning that the stress happens on occasions.
Stress Response Curve
Not only athletes, but ever individual has a stress response curve when it comes to performance. Whether it be on the field or in an office. The curve is referred as an inverted U-shape because as stress increases so does performance. A person’s performance can reach a peak if the right amount of stress is applied. However, if the stress perceived by said person begins to feel overwhelming then performance will decrease. Leading to exhaustion, unhappiness, or even burnout.
Noticing the Signs
This article continues by referencing some emotions that associated with the feelings of stress and when it gets to be too much. The first is anxiety. In short, it is an unpleasant or disturbed state of mind. The other to that kind of go hand in hand is fear and aggression. Also called in biology the fight or flight mode. When people tend to feel stressed out for multitude of reasons, people tend see this within teammates or co-workers. They are overly nervous or explode at the drop of a hat. These are the times where they need help the most. The article goes over some relaxation techniques and mental exercises to help people divert their attention. Sometimes it is just as simple as listening to the person to help get weight off their shoulders.
Psychology has been around for some time and sport psychology is just now coming onto the scene. It is important to push our athletes to increase their performance and strive for the best outcome. However, coaches, and even co-workers, should be mindful when the push is going for greatness is going too far. We need to educate ourselves more on the responses to stress and take the appropriate actions to help with high levels of stress so that high levels of performance can be maintained.