|SPECIAL REPORT: Managing player stress important for performance|
Friday, 25 November 2016 15:36
When people speak about player choking in big games where the stakes are high, anabolics what do they really mean? How big of a role does stress play on focus, rx attention, pills decision making and thus sports performance?
With the Jacksonville Jaguars having recently completed the NFL’s International Series in London, their second home, we explored the importance of managing stress levels for sports professionals such as the Jaguars, with such hectic schedules and plenty of travel.
Hussain Naqi, Senior Vice President, Fan Engagement at the Jacksonville Jaguars, notes that managing the players’ and staff’s physical and mental stress is a big part of the performance, particularly with all the long hours of travel that they need to do, including the journey from Jacksonville to London and back. For a lot of the players, it is the first time that they have travelled outside of the country and trying to create a calm and stable atmosphere for them is particularly necessary.
“Both players and coaches are creatures of habit. If you can get them in a routine and get them to have a calm world around them, a lot of those stresses can be mitigated. We’re now in a routine where we leave on Thursday night, get in on a Friday morning, have a quick walk through of practice on Friday, a slightly heavier practice Saturday, play the game Sunday and fly out Sunday after the game and then they are back in their beds early Monday morning. Winning also helps - we’ve won two in a row here and it certainly helps the psyche in terms of being able to get your head around what you’re doing,” says Naqi.
Jim Poole, President and CEO at Solace Lifesciences Inc., a neuroscience company focused on personalised evidence-based wellness and performance, whose flagship product, NuCalm is the world’s only patented technology clinically proven to lower stress and improve sleep quality without drugs, highlighted just how important it is to keep exhaustion and stress levels down for sports professionals. NuCalm, especially helps sports players recover and restore their mind and body without drugs”
“We hold athletes in such high regard, we don’t really give them any opportunity to fail. We have to stop and reflect on the lifestyle of a kid, so to speak, as often they are around 23 or 24 and have lots of money, fame, endearment but also lots of stress. Their friends are constantly seeking their attention and money, lawyers, teams, players and fans are also quite demanding. Any mistake they make is constantly under a microscope and is televised. Their their stress levels are exceptionally high and constant,” said Poole. “If you are stressed, it will undoubtedly compromise your performance levels. A lot of sport performance comes down to what is in your mind.”
Naqi emphasised the role of routine in stress management. It is important to minimise disruptions to players’ schedules and ensuring travel and changes in environment do not impact player performances, especially when there are so many fixtures around the world for players to keep track of.
Providing a stable and calm environment, without chemicals is thus especially key for ensuring stress does not get in the way of sports performance.