Four Tricks for Dealing with Stress in Sport and Soccer
As an athlete, you’re no stranger to stress – it is a huge part of the adrenaline that races through you as you step up to the field and prepare to give it your all. For athletes coping with stress, that adrenaline will, in many cases, be a make-or-break factor in every game, regardless of how good you are without it. Dealing with stress in the sport you love is an important part of enjoying yourself while you’re on the field, and the soccer field in particular demands that you keep up your focus without anything getting in the way.
As athletes, coping with stress is important because of the many implications stress has for the average game. For one thing, as you’re dealing with stress in-game, you’re actually lowering your risk of injury, according to a 2014 study in the Journal of Science and Medicine in sport; researchers found that “a steep decrease in uplift [positive life events] was positively related to injury risk.”1 In other studies, some as recent as 2020, soccer players who participated in stress prevention workshops for 90 minutes per week performed better, over the course of eight weeks, than a control group at the same level.2
Our Four Tips for Dealing with Stress in Sport:
- Think about what your stress means. If you’re stressing about the result of a game, it probably means the game is important to you. You have an opportunity to channel your passion into enjoyment instead of fear. Take it! Remember why you enjoy the game before you begin every match.
- Ask yourself what you can and cannot control. The only thing completely in your control is your own lifestyle and your own performance. Maximize them both! Take a few minutes to meditate before a game, use positive visualization techniques to feel more prepared for the big moment, and be sure that your stress isn’t contributing to unhealthy habits. For example, a literature review from 2015 found that a lack of sleep is common among competitive soccer players, owing to caffeine use and erratic sleeping patterns from travel fatigue.3 Be sure to take care of yourself when you start to feel stressed!
- Only compare you to you. One of the best ways of dealing with stress in sports is to avoid comparing yourself to anyone except yourself. Your opponents’ performances, even your teammates’ performances, are largely out of your control. If you see an improvement in yourself, however, that is something worth being proud of.
Control your emotions; don’t let them control you. During a game, a bad shift in momentum can be the turning point between success and regret. When bad things happen, the game goes on! Even just taking a few deep breaths after a frustrating call or missed play can make all the difference. An eSmartr x Umbro smart compression sleeve can also help you to keep your focus in these heated moments.
eSmartr and Umbro are here to help you to control your emotions and find your focus on the soccer field. Whether through taking a few moments to meditate before the game, or a second to catch your breath during, how you’re dealing with stress in sport events will contribute heavily to your success. Stay focused on what’s important – and play the best game you can every time.
1. Ivarsson, A., Johnson, U., Lindwall, M., Gustafsson, H., & Altemyr, M. (2014). Psychosocial stress as a predictor of injury in elite junior soccer: A latent growth curve analysis. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 17(4), 366-70.
2. Belz, J., Kleinert, J., & Anderten, M. (2020). One Shot—No Hit? Evaluation of a Stress-Prevention Workshop for Adolescent Soccer Players in a Randomized Controlled Trial. Sport Psychologist, 34(2), 132–142.
3. Nédélec, M., Halson, S., Abaidia, A., Ahmaidi, S., & Dupont, G. (2015). Stress, sleep and recovery in elite soccer: A critical review of the literature. Sports Medicine, 45(10), 1387-1400. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.library.sheridanc.on.ca/docview/1746922398?accountid=3455