Pain In Football
- 1 Is it painful to play football?
- 2 What do football players do for pain?
- 3 Which sport gets the most injuries?
- 4 What is the number 1 injury in football?
- 5 What percentage of football players get injured?
- 6 How do football players heal so fast?
- 7 What is the hardest thing to do in football?
- 8 Why do I get injured so much in soccer?
Is it painful to play football?
Football is hugely popular sport. Whether you play competitively or just for fun, it helps keep you fit and brings you the health benefits of other aerobic activities as well as some strengthening exercises. Football is popular with children and adults alike.
It can be played in an amateur or professional team or just casually at home in the garden or local park. Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played by 250 million people in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world’s most popular sport. Football is an impact sport which, when played frequently, can be harsh on your joints compared to other non-weight bearing activities like swimming or cycling.
Be sure to seek medical advice if you’re unsure if football is right for you or if you experience any ongoing pain during or after playing. If you would prefer a slower version then joining your local walking football group may be the answer.
What do football players do for pain?
January 11, 2017 – They didn’t ask questions. If something hurt, NFL players simply stepped in line behind dozens of others waiting for the same drug. One by one, for years, players have taken a shot of Toradol to the rear or swallowed the drug in pill form to play football on Sunday.
The game-day ritual was commonplace, but not without consequence. “I’ve hurt myself,” one veteran AFC offensive lineman tells B/R Mag, “and they’d be shoving pills in my mouth while they’re taping my ankle—that was the culture. The culture was, ‘We’re going to play no matter what. You might as well make yourself comfortable.'” The NFL’s culture around the use of this non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug is shifting.
Slowly. Team to team, Toradol’s use has become more measured. But according to an unprecedented survey by B/R Mag, it remains the drug of choice for powering professional football players through the violence of the sport. B/R Mag spent the NFL season interviewing 50 active players who said they have taken Toradol—rookies and vets, fantasy picks and Pro Bowlers, free agents, superstars, journeymen—and granted anonymity to allow them to speak openly about their medical treatment without fear of repercussion from their employers or the league.
- And they did open up: about the blood and the cracked ribs, the twisted fingers and the mangled knees, all pushed aside by a needle or a pill.
- Eight teams now remain with Super Bowl aspirations.
- You can count on Toradol—a brand name for the drug ketorolac that a doctor compares to a stronger and faster-acting version of Advil or Aleve—to serve as a quick fix for many of the injuries their players incur.
“Look at Tony Romo. He lost his starting job and can’t get it back. Guys see that.”
Is it easy to get hurt in football?
Football players are prone to injuries due to the amount of contact and sudden movements involved in the sport. Some of the most common injuries football players suffer from include knee injuries, shoulder injuries, concussions, and overuse injuries. Although there are many things you can do to prevent injury, these are the top 5 tips we have for football players.
Is it OK to cry in football?
But a sports psychologist says that it’s okay to cry — as long as it doesn’t happen in the middle of the game and threaten to break your focus on the competition.
Is football the most difficult sport?
What Is the Hardest Sport In the World? – Athletes and sports enthusiasts alike have long attempted to rank sports based on their difficulty in an attempt to crown one sport as the hardest in the world. What makes one sport tougher than another? Although different people or sports organizations may use alternative criteria or a different working definition of “difficulty” as it pertains to a sporting endeavor, usually, sports that are harder require more energy, power, level of fitness, strength, endurance, body involvement, and skill.
As can be seen, it becomes extremely challenging to rank the difficulty of sports because there are so many factors to consider simultaneously. Even sites that try to take a scientific approach—assigning a numerical score for each factor for each sport and then ranking them based on their composite scores—is really just a glorified subjective assessment masquerading as an objective science.
After all, assigning a number for how much “skill” is required for water polo or how much “endurance” is required for soccer is subjective, especially when you consider different positions and even the fact that there are additional factors you could also probably include in the rating system. With that said, these types of organized approaches that make as much of a scientific approach as possible by trying to quantify qualitative characteristics are certainly head and shoulders above picking and ranking the toughest sports in the world out of the ether.
One of the more widely-accepted “definitive” lists of the hardest sports in the world is an analysis ESPN released several years ago. The ESPN rankings of the most physically demanding sports in the world are based on ratings of 1-10 for 10 attributes, or skills, that go into the athleticism required for a sport.
Eight panelists each scored the 60 sports, and then the totals were averaged to decide upon a definitive ranking of the hardest sports in the world. Based on their rankings, the top 10 hardest sports in the world are as follows: Boxing (hardest), ice hockey, football, basketball, wrestling, mixed martial arts, tennis, gymnastics, baseball/softball, and soccer. According to Sports Virsa, the top 10 hardest sports in the world to play in 2022 are as follows: Boxing (hardest), American football, mixed martial arts, ice hockey, gymnastics, basketball, soccer, wrestling, rugby, and water polo. Another super comprehensive and quantitative approach to ranking the hardest sports in the world was Bleacher Report’s take on the seemingly impossible task.
They chose six different attributes of each sport (speed, endurance, strength, agility, skill level, and physicality), assigned each of these attributes a score out of 10, and then ranked the summed scores using these final “toughness ratings” out of 60. The higher the toughness rating, the harder the sport.
As per their ratings of the attributes for each sport, their rankings of the hardest sports in the world came out as follows (from hardest): Water polo, Aussie rules, boxing, rugby, ice hockey, American football, hurling, gymnastics, basketball, Gaelic football.
Finally, according to Top End Sports, the top 10 hardest sports in the world in reverse order are freestyle wrestling, horseback riding, bull riding, water polo, figure skating, motocross, swimming, gymnastics, boxing, and rugby, landing at number one. Although this list is quite different from most of the others, it has some good entries and brings to light sports we often overlook.
As can be seen, there’s no agreed-upon list of the hardest sports in the world, but let’s take a look at some of the toughest sports in the world and what makes them so hard. Related: Game-Changing Wisdom: All-Time 30 Greatest Sports Quotes
Why is football so hard on the body?
Bracing for Impact – According to, OrthoCarolina Monroe Physical Therapy, human bodies were not designed to take the physical stress that occurs in many sports. Football can be especially difficult on joints because of the recurrent collisions. Also, football is a running sport which can be particularly difficult on our lower extremity joints and help to hasten the natural, age-related changes of our joint surfaces.
- These joint surfaces are covered with a protective lining called articular cartilage.
- As we age, there is a normal amount of wear on these protective coatings.
- Running can transmit up to seven to ten times our body weight in impact on these joint surfaces and hasten the wear.
- This is where most athletes suffer as they age.
Wear and tear on the joints can be seen in the early thirties but sometimes happens as early as the late twenties. With the added wear and tear of a college sport like football, where athletes typically play through sometimes moderate to severe injury, the pain from this breakdown can happen even sooner in life.
The nearly year-round training, repetitive heavy weight lifting and collisions that are required for footall are likely the main ingredients that increased wear and tear on Matt’s joints and led to post-football pain and dysfunction. Riney adds that because of these factors it’s not surprising that Matt has pain at the age of 32.
Riney says that chronic weight lifters, like football players, typically have difficulty with shoulder, elbow and wrist pain. The weight that they lift contributes to the effect. Despite the bad news, Riney says there is a light at the end of the tunnel for ex-football players.
The pain of this deteriorative process can often be allayed through reasonable strength training – particularly quadriceps strengthening in the lower extremity and rotator cuff strengthening in the upper extremity. Riney often tells people that the pain from the arthritic process usually begins when they became weaker and may return if they do not stay strong after finishing physical therapy (PT).
Avoiding impact-loading activities like running and climbing by substituting elliptical machines, Stairmaster and Nordic track (non-impact activities) also helps. Add in weight control, core strengthening and you can create a recipe for a healthy post-athletic participation lifestyle with less back pain.
Which sport gets the most injuries?
Believe it or not, basketball actually has more injuries than any other sport, followed by football, soccer and baseball. Common sports injuries include hamstring strains, groin pulls, shin splints, ACL tears and concussions.
What are the top 3 worst sports injuries?
FIVE OF THE WORST SPORTS INJURIES – Some of the worst injuries include a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), concussion, hamstring injury, fracture and patellar tendon tear. Torn ACL ACL injuries are prevalent in all sports; however, basketball, soccer and football are the leading sports that can expose you to ACL injuries.
ACL tears can occur if you land wrong or change directions abruptly. The ACL refers to one of the major ligaments that provides stability by holding the knee joint together. One usually experiences swelling and pain around the affected knee and may not be able to walk. A torn ACL is a significant injury that requires evaluation by our orthopedic specialists.
To read about the frequently asked questions about ACL reconstruction, click here, Concussion Football and soccer players are more likely to suffer from a concussion than any other sport. A concussion can be referred to as an injury to the brain. The injury occurs when the brain shifts swiftly within the skull after being hit directly on the head.
The injury is traumatic and can lead to memory loss, nausea, loss of consciousness, headache and sensitivity to light and dizziness. After a concussion has occurred, the player needs to be examined immediately to fully understand the extent of the injury. A concussion should not be taken lightly as it is dangerous to play while the player has not fully recovered.
Recovery time differs from one athlete to another depending on the extent of the injury. Players should consult their doctor who can issue clearance before returning to the field. Hamstring Hamstring injuries are common for those who play a sport with sudden stopping and starting, such as soccer, football, running and basketball.
Hamstrings are a group of three muscles: the semitendinosus, the semimembranosus and the biceps femoris. The three muscles run from the bottom of the pelvis to the knee joint, helping you bend your knees and extend your hips. Muscle overload is the primary cause of strain to a hamstring muscle. Hamstring injuries can be a simple pull, small tear or a complete tear.
Hamstring strains are graded based on their severity:
Grade 1 strains are mild and will heal without much intervention. Grade 2 strains are partial muscle tears that take longer to heal. Grade 3 strains are complete muscle tears. They can take months to heal.
Surgery is usually only needed when the hamstring strain is more severe. If your tendon has completely pulled away from the bone or the muscle is completely torn, then your doctor may discuss surgery. Fracture A fracture occurs when a bone becomes cracked or broken; this can happen to any bone in the body. Many athletes forgo the warning signs such as:
Experiencing pain in the injured area that gets worse when the area is moved or pressure is applied Having difficulty using or moving the injured area Showing signs of swelling, bruising, redness or warmth around the injured area
Once you recognize the symptoms, a doctor can determine the type of fracture you have such as:
Transverse fracture: A fracture at a right angle to the bone’s axis. Greenstick fracture: An incomplete fracture in which the bone is bent. This fracture often occurs in children. Oblique fracture: A fracture in which the break is at an angle to the bone’s axis. Comminuted fracture: A fracture in which the bone fragments into many pieces. Impacted fracture: A fracture whose ends are driven into each other. This type is commonly known as a buckle fracture.
A doctor will carefully examine the injured area to determine the extent of the injury. Your doctor will likely use an x-ray to verify the diagnosis. X-rays can show whether a bone is intact or broken and determine the severity of the injury to help guide treatment.
- Once the diagnosis is confirmed, they can prescribe you the proper treatment to heal your fracture.
- Patellar Tendon Tear Tendons are strong cords of fibrous tissue that attach muscles to bones.
- The patellar tendon works with the muscles in the front of your thigh to straighten your thigh.
- You could experience a partial or complete tear.
A partial tear may not completely disrupt the soft tissue. A complete tear disrupts the soft tissue into two pieces. When the patellar tendon is completely torn, the tendon is separated from the kneecap. Without attachment, you cannot straighten your knee.
- A complete tear is a disabling injury.
- It usually requires surgery to regain full knee function.
- To reattach the tendon, sutures are placed in the tendon and threaded through drill holes in the kneecap.
- The sutures are tied at the top of the kneecap.
- Your surgeon will carefully tie the sutures to get the correct tension in the tendon.
This will make sure the position of the kneecap matches that of your uninjured kneecap.
What is the number 1 injury in football?
The 3 Big Football Injuries You Should Know About | Orthopedic Blog Injuries happen. Unfortunately, they are an all-too-common scenario in football. Despite the countless hours of dedicated training, it can take milliseconds for an injury to sideline a player, sometimes for the rest of the season.
- Given the size and speed of these athletes, it should be no surprise that football has the highest rate of injury of any other American sport.
- Most football injuries occur in the knee.
- The three most common types of injury are the MCL sprain, the meniscus tear and the ACL tear.
- Luckily, sports medicine-trained orthopedic surgeons like those at the have developed various techniques to help our players get back on the field as soon as possible.
Here’s a closer look at these three big injuries, how they are treated, and their potential impact to return-to-play. THE MCL SPRAIN The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is a strong ligament located on the “inside” portion of the knee. It is made up of two bands and connects the femur and tibia bones.
- The primary job of this ligament is to prevent side-to-side motion of the knee, along with the lateral collateral ligament and other structures.
- This is the most common knee injury in football players at the high school, collegiate and professional level, typically in offensive and defensive linemen.
These injuries are graded from minor (grade I) to severe (grade III). Grades I and II injuries are typically treated non-surgically with physical therapy, activity modifications and sometimes bracing. Anti-inflammatories and icing can help with pain and swelling.
Typical return-to-play occurs anywhere from several weeks to two months, whenever symptoms improve. Grade III injuries typically occur with other injuries, such as an ACL tear, and so treatment of these injuries varies. THE MENISCUS TEAR Almost everyone has a friend or relative that has had a “knee cleanout” because of a torn meniscus.
These are common injuries in the general population and are also common in football players. The meniscus is a crescent-shaped piece of cartilage located between the tibia and femur bones. There are two crescents, one on the inside (medial) and one on the outside (lateral) parts of the joint.
These injuries typically occur when the knee is flexed and twisted, which puts the greatest amount of stress on the meniscus. They can be relatively minor, causing discomfort and swelling, to relatively major, causing mechanical knee problems such as locking on instability. Treatment is based on symptoms but often includes surgery.
Meniscus tears often occur with other knee injuries, so treatment must be tailored to the circumstances. Surgery is done by arthroscopy (a “scope”), where small tools are used through two small poke holes in front of the knee to trim away the damaged meniscus.
Following surgery players can gradually return to play when symptoms improve, usually after three to four weeks. THE ACL TEAR Last but certainly not least, ACL tears occur often in both football players and other athletes. The most common major knee injury to occur in football is a rupture of the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament).
The ACL is the most important structure preventing the tibia bone from moving too far forward of the femur bone. These ruptures are the result of both contact and non-contact injuries. Running backs and linebackers are the highest risk positions. When these injuries make the news, we know a player will be out for the season.
- That’s because ACL tears are usually reconstructed with surgery and the rehab from these surgeries is lengthy.
- Return to play make take anywhere from six to nine months, sometimes up to a full year.
- Surgery itself involves reconstructing the ligament with another ligament either harvested from somewhere else in the body, from a cadaver donor or a combination of both.
As mentioned these injuries often occur with other injuries, so treatments are tailored to the individual. When players do go back, a brace may be worn to help protect the new ACL. In some locations, bracing may be required for certain positions to help prevent ACL injuries.
Do linebackers get hurt?
Defense – On the other side of the ball, linebackers suffered 14.9 % of all injuries. Linebackers experience almost an equal number of head, shoulder, and knee injuries. The second most commonly injured position is a defensive tackle with about 9 % of all defensive injuries.
What percentage of football players get injured?
It shows that, on average, 15% of NFL players miss games due to injury each year, highlighting the importance of injury prevention and management in the league. On average, 1 in every 4 players will suffer an in-game injury during an NFL season.
Do footballers use pain killers?
Evidence that the professional football environment is conducive to painkiller use is demonstrated by World Cup data. For example, at the 2010 men’s World Cup, 39% of players took some form of painkiller before every game (Tscholl and Dvorak, 2012).
Why do football players heal so fast?
Why Do Football Players Heal Faster Than Us? In case you missed it, Dwight Freeney, the All-Pro defensive end for the Indianapolis Colts had a very good game during the Superbowl, despite a torn ligament in his right ankle. But wait, he only injured his ankle 2 weeks ago.how is he playing football when my doctor told me that my ankle sprain would sideline me for 3-6 weeks? In short, why do football players heal faster than regular people like you and me? The answer is that they don’t heal faster than we do.
- Ligaments take 3-6 weeks to heal in anyone.
- Elite athletes just so happen to be in incredible physical shape as well as an ability to tolerate pain that is beyond the average person.
- Dwight Freeney is a professional football player.
- He has played countless games in high school, college and the pro’s.
- He has played through pain.On Sunday you can bet that his ankle was heavily braced with tape and strappings to limit the motion of his injured ankle.
He was also most likely injected with a drug called Marcaine which is very similar to the Novacaine used in a dental office. This type of medicine causes a few hours of painless numbness, but it does not repair or heal tendons or ligaments.Dwight Freeney had a great game.
He even sacked New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees in the second quarter. He is not a superhuman. He is a professional athlete with the best medical care at his disposal and he may have made it through the game, but his ankle is not healed. He does not heal faster than you or me. He just knows that Superbowls are once in a lifetime and he can heal in the offseason.
If you sprain your ankle, don’t expect to get back to full activity for 3-6 weeks. You will need to ice, elevate and rest your ankle as well as taking anti-inflammatory pills and wearing a brace. But don’t worry, if by some chance you need to play in the Superbowl in 2 weeks.we could get you ready.
Committed to your health,Dr. Craig ContiSarasota Foot Care Center
http://www.sarasotafootcarecenter.com As a podiatrist, one of the most dangerous and scary conditions I deal with is a diabetic foot ulcer. There are around 30 million Americans with diabetes and every one of them has a 25% chance of developing a foot ulcer in their lifetime.
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I always tell myself that is makes me a more empathetic foot doctor, but I promise I am not doing this stuff on purpose. Do you or someone you care about have swollen, discolored legs? If you answered yes, you may be dealing with chronic venous insufficiency. Sarasota Foot Care Center, Sarasota, FL Phone (appointments): 941-917-6232 | Phone (general inquiries): 941-917-6232 Address: 2000 Webber, Suite 110, Sarasota, FL 34239 Sarasota Foot Care Center, Sarasota, FL Phone (appointments): 941-921-1458 | Phone (general inquiries): 941-921-1458 Address: 7246 South Beneva Road, Sarasota, FL 34238 : Why Do Football Players Heal Faster Than Us?
How do football players heal so fast?
How NFL Players Recover – My journey in the NFL is no different than most players–we strive to compete at the highest level for as long as possible. To be able to perform week in and week out, recovery is critical. Recovery protocols differ widely from player to player.
We each create our own ecosystems of people and processes that we believe make us feel and play better. When rookies enter the league, the smart ones go around to the veterans and ask for tips on what they do take care of their bodies. Saunas, steam rooms, hot/cold tubs, cryotherapy, acupuncture, massage, shock therapy, neurofeedback, electro-stimulation, cranial sacral therapy, chiropractic, and transcranial photobiomodulation are just a few of the less crazy recovery techniques you might observe in an NFL locker room.
Learn More: Patrick Mahomes’ WHOOP Data – Quantifying the Strain of an NFL Season
What is the hardest thing to do in football?
Messi and Ronaldo make scoring look easy but is it the hardest thing in football? – ESPN Feb 19, 2015, 08:38 AM ET “What is the hardest thing to do on the football pitch?” Everything in football is constructed on there being one answer to this question.
- It is the answer we would all give, when asked, something we have learned by rote from a young age.
- It even comes in a ready-made, prepackaged, accepted form.
- Its beat is soothing, familiar, comfortable: “Put the ball in the back of the net.” This counts as an article of faith for many, for most, of us who love football.
If ever all of the truisms that swirl around the sport were gathered and codified into some form of credo, it would be up there competing for the top spot. It would be the first commandment, above even Thou Shalt Not Dive and Nobody Wants To See A Red Card.
Individual prizes – player of the year awards, the Ballon D’Or – are given to those who score the most goals, or at least to those who have the capacity to score a considerable number of goals.It is strikers who attract the most lavish, most exorbitant transfer fees and always have, right back to the days of Alf Common, a prolific scorer in the early years of the 20th century who is famous for having been the first player to be transferred for 1,000 pounds.It is strikers, as Paul Tomkins and Graeme Riley showed in “Pay As You Play,” who have always been given the bumper wages, paid on average half as much again as their defensive colleagues.It is strikers who are turned to in days of desperation; witness all of those sides battling relegation in the Premier League who spend the last few hours of the transfer window chasing a handful of forwards on the grounds that what they need, what they really need, is goals, even if their defences have been so bad that bringing in a Labrador would have been a considerable improvement.
It is forwards who are thrown on, traditionally, as substitutes in search of victory; it is forwards who are included in squads for tournaments in greater numbers than players in any other positions – most countries these days play with one up front yet most still have five strikers in their lists – because it is forwards who make the difference.
- Football is about goals.
- If you do not have goals, you have nothing.
- Scoring them is the most important skill you can have, the one that must be acquired at all costs and then protected and cocooned and nurtured and indulged.
- And all because of the answer to that question: What is the hardest thing to do on the pitch? Put the ball in the back of the net.
Contradicting this counts, almost, as heresy. Certainly, should you happen to suggest as much to anyone who has ever played professionally as a striker, they will look simultaneously offended and enraged. The thing is, though, that perhaps it is not true.
- Perhaps the hardest thing to do in football is not to put the ball in the back of the net.
- Perhaps, instead, the truth is one step removed.
- Perhaps the hardest thing to do in football is to create the opportunity for someone – whether that is a teammate or yourself – to put the ball in the back of the net.
About 18 months ago, at the launch of Dennis Bergkamp’s critically acclaimed memoir, “Stillness and Speed,” the Arsenal and Netherlands great captivated those of us present as he covered vast tracts of ground about his career. One thing he said, though, struck a particular chord. Dennis Bergkamp’s famous goal vs. Argentina won a World Cup quarterfinal for the Netherlands in 1998. Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images What was most telling was that Bergkamp did not really care that they were goals. “I am proud of the control,” said the Dutchman, when asked to reflect on them.
“Definitely the control. They were all great goals because of the first touch. It is only highlighted because it a goal, of course, but if I miscontrol the ball, it is gone. There is no goal. “What is the football I find beautiful? A nice pass through the lines. Or a good control. A quick first touch. I really enjoy that.
The main thing for me is how football is played. I like watching Barcelona, Germany, Bayern Munich. That sort of football is really of interest to me. Those players make me sit up in my chair. ‘Woah, what is happening now?’ “As a young player, scoring goals is fantastic.
- But it has never been my main aim.
- At some point it is part of your job as a player.
- They expect you to score goals and I was able to do that.
- If you look at my whole career, though, I got a lot of pleasure out of control, assists, passes.
- The same as scoring goals.” This is probably a matter of personal taste, but there is something in there that is very appealing.
Yes, the goal is the purpose of football. It is what everything is for. But the beauty, the real beauty, lies in how that goal is manufactured. The goal is the crescendo, and it has a value and a merit of its own, but it is the work put in to build to that point that is where the genius resides.
That is why there is something so special, in so many places across the world, about the No.10 shirt. The No.10 is not the player who scores the most goals – with some notable exceptions, such as Lionel Messi – and it is even more rarely the player who is tasked with finishing off moves. No, the No.10 is the creator, the artist, the conductor.
It is his job to find the holes, to play the passes, to change the game. Strikers, the No.9s, need ruthlessness and poise and grace under pressure. They are all incredibly valuable skills, but No.10s need another array of talents still: they need imagination and vision and daring.
They have to break down the massed ranks of the opposition. They have to see the possibilities. They have, hardest of all, to lift us off our seats. So maybe there is a different answer to that question. Maybe the hardest thing in football is not putting the ball in the back of the net. Maybe the hardest thing in football is dreaming how it can be done.
: Messi and Ronaldo make scoring look easy but is it the hardest thing in football? – ESPN
Is football stressful for players?
Competitive sport is a high demand environment, with the potential of creating stress for those that chose to partake. There is a massive demand placed on athletes across the sporting world, regardless of level or sport, and stress and anxiety can play a crucial role in determining an athlete’s performance. STRESS AND ANXIETY Stress is not only found in sports performance, but across many aspects of life; however in sport, stress refers to the relationship between an individual and the environmental demands that are associated with the individual’s sporting performance,
- The individual and the environmental demands should be balanced in order for the athlete to perform at their optimum level, otherwise there could be negative effects on the athlete’s performance.
- Anxiety is a response that an athlete can have to these stressors and it has been found that many athletes have reported feeling anxiety as a result of sport related stress,
Anxiety is “an unpleasant psychological state in reaction to perceived stress concerning the performance of a task under pressure” and is common among athletes at all levels. Anxiety is characterised by feelings of worry, apprehension and nervousness and responses such sweating, worry and doubt have reportedly been felt by athletes in response to sport related stressors,
There are many factors that can cause or contribute to an athlete’s anxiety, and this can, in turn, affect the athlete’s performance. What types of anxiety are there and how can this affect your performance? TYPES OF ANXIETY Anxiety can be characterised by the following three components; somatic (sweating, increased heart rate), behavioural (fidgeting, biting of the lip), and cognitive (feeling of apprehension, negative thoughts).
One type of anxiety can be referred to as “trait anxiety”, this type usually manifests itself as a part of an individual’s personality and is a constant state of being for the individual regardless of the situation. Individual’s with trait anxiety will constantly feel worry as a behavioural tendency.
Athlete’s with trait anxiety are more likely to perceive situations as threatening, and their responses may be more extreme than those that do not experience trait anxiety and their reactions could be classed as disproportionate, For example, if two players were asked to take penalties under the exact same circumstances; one may not find this task overly-threatening, as they are more laid-back.
This means he is experiencing low-trait anxiety and does not have more anxiety than would be expected in this situation. However, the other player may experience high trait anxiety, and so would find the opportunity to score a penalty (or more than likely, an opportunity to miss a penalty in their eyes) as incredibly threatening, meaning this player is experiencing more anxiety than expected in this situation, which could affect their performance more than the player experiencing low level trait anxiety.
The second type of anxiety is “state anxiety” and is a situation specific type of anxiety, therefore it changes, and is only activated in certain situations. State anxiety is also characterised by individual’s being aware of when they are experiencing it and is heavily linked to an individual’s arousal levels.
For example, a player’s level of state anxiety can change from moment to moment in a game of football, and a player may experience a slightly higher level of state anxiety (noticing heart rate increasing, feeling apprehensive) when defending a corner than when running with the ball in the middle of the field, and may experience an extremely high level of state anxiety (feeling nervous, heart racing) when experiencing a clear run onto goal.
Arousal levels are an athlete’s state of alertness and excitement surrounding a particular situation,, aroused individuals will experience increases in heart rate, respiration and sweating. Arousal is not positive or negative, but neutral. You can be aroused just after having scored a goal but be equally as aroused after missing a penalty.
Arousal is on a continuum from not arousal at all to completely aroused. Is it important to note that trait anxiety is a behavioural state that makes the athlete perceive situations as threatening that may not be, and to then respond with disproportionate state anxiety.
- Athlete’s with high trait anxiety usually have more state anxiety in competitive situations compared to those with lower trait anxiety,
- WHAT TYPES OF STRESSOR COULD YOU EXPERIENCE? Stressors are factors that can cause stress to an individual.
- These stressors are environmental demands that could be encountered by an individual such as yourself and could even be a daily challenge.
There are many factors that can cause stress and lead to anxiety in a sporting environment. Researchers have investigated several types of sporting stressors and each type has the ability to have an effect on footballer’s performances, for example: Competitive Stressors Competitive stressors are those that you may associate primarily with your competitive sporting environment.
- The most common competitive stressors experienced by athlete’s are injury, preparation and performance expectations.
- For footballers, competitive stressors could include: · The risk of injury, not just from the playing of the game, but from the opponent; this could lead to missing competitions, losing fitness and competing while injured,
· Not having the time/energy to prepare “enough” for competitions, not only based on the individual’s own beliefs but on the beliefs of the captain/coach/manager, · Pressure to perform well by constantly being able to beat others and perform with minimal mistakes; performing under demand is a constant in a football season.
This can include wanting to beat opponents as well as wanting to beat those on your team to a spot in the starting eleven. · Performance expectations; an individual will always expect a certain level of performance from themselves, but this is not the only stress that footballers have to deal with, as they must cope with the expectations of the team, the coach, the captain, the fans and the manager too,
Organisational Stressors These are stressors that are associated with the organisation in which you play. This includes the team, coaches and managers, inter-personal issues, and the behaviour of the officials and spectators, Organisational stressors for footballers could include: · Team cohesion and communications (how well the team gets along and communicates with each other) · Teammates’ personalities and attitudes and how they differ from your own · The knowledge of roles within the team; how the captain and vice-captain behave, how the goalkeeper behaves, how do you all interact with each other and does this work for you · The facilities and equipment used by your team, are they of a good standard? Are they clean and well-kept or are they in disrepair? · Coaches/managers behaviours and expectations; how do they treat the team? Are you happy with the way they coach and interact with you during games and training? · Referee and spectator behaviours; Is the referee fair? Are the spectators supportive? Personal Stressors These stressors are connected to your non-sporting life and events.
- Stressors from this category include issues such as work-life balance and family problems,
- Personal stressors can include: · Death of a family member or significant other · Academic/work commitments; Do you have a good balance between academia/work and your sporting life? · Personal relationships; are they healthy for you? Do they affect your sport? Do you have a good balance with your sporting life? It is important to note that each of these different types of stressor could vary in; intensity (how demanding the stressor is for the individual), frequency (how often the stressor occurs for the individual), and duration (how long the individual experiences the stressor),
HOW CAN THESE STRESSORS AFFECT PERFORMANCE? There are many theories surrounding the topic of stress and anxiety affecting athlete’s performance as it is a topic that has been extensively researched. Many theories have focused on the negative effects that stress and anxiety can have on performance, however some researchers have found that athletes can interpret anxiety positively,
Research has suggested that anxiety felt an hour prior to and during performances can be facilitative to performance if the individual experiencing the anxiety interprets the cause of anxiety as “under control”. For example, if a player is feeling concerned about the match they are about to play and are feeling nervous or experiencing doubt, but they associate this feeling with prior performances that have gone well then this can cause the player to feel increased focus and motivation towards the match.
It is important to note that this theory focuses on perceived control, and anxiety can only lead to increased performance if the individual believes the cause of the anxiety (the stressor) to be under control. This perceived control is what affects how the symptoms of anxiety are directed.
However, if individual’s do not feel that the cause of anxiety is under control then they may find this to be debilitative to performance. For example, if the player feels under-prepared for a match, this could lead to the player overthinking, which inhibits performance as it does not let the body perform autonomously,
If a player does not perceive their anxiety to be under control, there are many theories about how this can affect a player’s performance. Inverted-U Hypothesis This theory states that at low arousal levels performance will be poor, and performance will increase with arousal up to a certain point.
This point is referred to as the optimal arousal level, and if arousal levels continue to increase after this point the player will see a decline in performance. According to this theory, the optimum arousal point is the point at which a player performs at their best, encouraging footballers to perform with moderate amounts of arousal/anxiety.
This theory is represented by an inverted-U, shown below. Figure 1: A graph showing the Inverted-U theory, with optimum arousal at the peak of the Inverted-U. However, researchers have questioned how well this shows the arousal-performance relationship, and ask if optimum arousal always occurs at the peak of the Inverted-U,
- Individualised Zones of Optimum Functioning (IZOF) As an answer to this question, the Individualised Zones of Optimum Functioning (IZOF) theory was presented,
- This theory differs from the Inverted-U theory in a number of ways; first of all, a performer’s optimum level of state anxiety does not occur only at one specific point, and instead the optimum level of state anxiety is shown as a zone (also known as a bandwidth) on a state anxiety continuum.
The second change is that the optimum zone of state anxiety does not always occur a the midpoint of this continuum, and is different for every individual. Some performer’s optimum zone may occur at the lower end, some at the mid-point, and some at the higher, Figure 2: A graph showing how individuals’ IZOF may differ. This brings us back to perceived control, which was mentioned earlier in this chapter, as each individual has their own amount of state anxiety and stress that they feel they are under control of, some individual’s may not be able to deal with high levels of stress, and so would find themselves on the lower end of the continuum, however others may find that they feel they are under control of many stressors, and find themselves on the upper end.
However, in any individual’s case, this theory still suggests that too much stress and state anxiety for a player is detrimental to their performance, with poor performance occurring outside of their optimal zones, meaning a player that is experiencing too much stress in their sport may still perform poorly.
STRESS MANAGEMENT AND COPING STRATEGIES Despite all of this, there are steps that performer’s can take in order to deal with the stress and anxiety that they experience in their own sporting contexts. Stress interventions have been found to be effective, with 96% of studies being able to alter performers’ experiences positively,
- It is important to deal with stress in your sport, as there could be consequences to ignoring stress that are reflected in your performance (choking, conscious control/overthinking) and in your well-being (burnout, depression),
- There are many interventions to choose from in order to cope and reduce stress in a sporting environment; this following chapter will outline some of the processes you can undergo to reduce stress in your sport.
In order to understand which interventions you will need, you will first have to go through a method of appraisal. You will firstly need to understand the relevance of the stressors you are experiencing to your goals, ask yourself how the stressors affect you and how much do you care about this.
- Secondly, you will need to ask yourself what you can do about it, and if these methods will be enough.
- Once you understand these two points you will be able to identify which interventions you will need to undertake.
- Primary Interventions Primary interventions have a preventative focus by attempting to eliminate or reduce the frequency, intensity or duration of the stressors.
This is a problem focused strategy, and studies suggest that this is an effective tool, however this method will take a long time and a lot of effort to implement, and some stressors may be out of your control within the realms of this intervention, for example there will always be competition for the starting 11, and neither you or your coach can control your opposition,
Primary interventions include: · Having discussions with your coach over things within the organisation that you are unhappy with; for example, the equipment, or the role clarification within your team · Discuss the structure of training with your coach; can they extend the training or host more sessions? Can they dedicate more time to a particular skill? · Creating and setting long term goals to help you improve on a skill or position.
You could also discuss this with your coach. Secondary Interventions Secondary interventions are those which are used if stressors cannot be completely removed from a sporting environment, and so focuses on the athlete’s reactions to the stressors. These interventions are emotion focused coping strategies and help to manage the negative emotions that can be caused by the stressor.
A study found that these techniques helped to block out the negative emotions and helped them to feel more in control of their performance (83%), Positive Thought Control is a stress management technique in which you not only are able to stop or block negative thoughts but may also be able to turn these negative thoughts into positive, therefore increasing your perceived control.
In order to carry out this technique, you should follow these steps: · Identify a trigger word or picture, for example “stop”, “no” or a red X · This method of self-talk/imagery is used to block the negative thoughts/feelings once they occur · Replace this negative thought with a positive one to create a more controlled narrative for yourself, such as “I thought this last game, and I still played well” or “I have had feelings like this before but managed to play on” It may also be useful to keep a diary of the thoughts you block and the thoughts you replace them with in order to keep track of which thoughts are reoccurring and which replacement thoughts work best for you,
- Another technique that may work for you is Applied Relaxation (AP).
- AP helps a performer to recognise the early signs of anxiety and learn how to cope with it in order to restore control.
- This stress management skill is split into 6 parts,
- · Complete AP sessions by slowly and consciously tensing and relaxing every muscle in your body, this can be done with a guide which I have attached: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nZEdqcGVzo · After a couple of weeks, begin to complete these sessions without the help of the guide · After a few sessions, remove the muscle tensing instructions from the procedure · After a few sessions, condition the word “relax” into this procedure, think about the word while you are completing the relaxation and incorporate “relax” into your breathing.
By this stage you should be focussed on your breathing and not on your muscles · After a few weeks of this, this skill should become “portable”, meaning you should be able to do this skill in any situation by focussing on the word “relax” and on your breathing.
· At this stage, you should begin to aim to use this skill while training and in matches, as much as you possibly can and whenever you feel anxiety building · You may even eventually find yourself doing this skill subconsciously, as you begin to recognise anxiety and take steps to prevent it It should be noted that positive thought control may be more effective if you experience cognitive anxiety, and applied relaxation may be more effective if you experience somatic anxiety,
It is advised that you undertake more than one of these interventions, as using a combination of these will have the greatest effects on your football performance, “It is crucial that athletes have the ability to utilise and optimise several psychological qualities to withstand the pressures that they experience within their sport”, Figure 3: An infographic for this blog Mental health is a serious problem in football, as shown by the Premier League’s partnership with Mind “Heads Up”, so please engage in conversation if you are struggling with any of the topics covered in this blog.
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Why am I so injury prone football?
APPROPRIATE TRAINING WORKLOAD: – Many people attribute footballer injuries to training overload. Many athletes begin a rigorous training program at a young age when their bodies are not yet formed to handle such demands. This causes trauma in the body, which has serious consequences for the athlete’s abilities and strength.
How do I stop getting injured so much?
How can I prevent a sports injury? – The following are some basic steps to prevent a sports injury:
Develop a fitness plan that includes cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and flexibility. This will help decrease your chance of injury. Alternate exercising different muscle groups and exercise every other day. Cooldown properly after exercise or sports. It should take 2 times as long as your warm-ups. Stay hydrated. Drink water to prevent dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke. Stretching exercises can improve the ability of muscles to contract and perform, reducing the risk of injury. Each stretch should start slowly until you reach a point of muscle tension. Stretching should not be painful. Aim to hold each stretch for up to 20 seconds. Use the right equipment or gear and wear shoes that provide support and that may correct certain foot problems that can lead to injury. Learn the right techniques to play your sport. Rest when tired, Avoid exercise when you are tired or in pain. Always take your time during strength training and go through the full range of motion with each repetition. If you do sustain a sports injury, make sure you participate in adequate rehabilitation before resuming strenuous activity.
Why do I get injured so much in soccer?
Common soccer injuries – The most common types of injuries sustained while playing soccer are bruising, sprains, strains, fractures and dislocations. Injuries to the lower body (ankle and knee) are most common, followed by the upper body and head. Common causes of injuries are player contact, falls and tackles.
To prevent injury, you should:If you or someone else is injured, remember:
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