When it comes to sports like football, stress is a problem that affects every player differently. Whether you play the sport for fun or professionally, it’s important you take the game seriously to do well and be a team player. Naturally, after an intense match, your adrenaline will be pumping, making it hard to switch off and unwind when going home.
To keep stress levels at bay and be the best version of themselves on the pitch, here are some of the ways footballers handle stress.
While physical activity may not sound like the most appealing thing to do when stressed, many footballers swear by regular exercise in between matches. This is because physical activity pumps up the endorphins that keep you feeling positive, as well as reducing signs of anxiety and depression. Many footballers go swimming, hit the gym, and go for regular walks and runs as a way to destress and unwind.
Regardless of what level the footballer is at when on the pitch, they need to put 110% into their performance to score any chance of winning the match. Whether they’re psyching up for an upcoming game, or have just left the pitch, lots of footballers use meditation as a way to relax and zone out. Meditation not only reduces stress levels but also manages anxiety, enhances self-awareness, as well as lengthening your attention span. Taking 15 minutes in the morning and evening to meditate can change your perspective for the better.
Plenty of Sleep
If footballers aren’t getting enough sleep each night, they may wake up feeling cranky and rundown. Should they have a match that day, they’re not going to be able to perform at their best. Footballers need plenty of sleep each night for the body to repair itself. A good night’s sleep helps footballers to regulate their mood, improve concentration, and be a better problem solver. Poor sleep can not only slow down a footballer mentally but affect their physical well-being too, meaning it’s vital they prioritize sleep over anything else.
Talk to Loved Ones
Professional footballers in particular are often away from home for long periods. When under immense stress, many players find comfort in talking to their loved ones. Whether it’s via FaceTime, Zoom, or a phone call, hearing their friends and family can instantly relax and soothe them. Keeping connected with loves ones can help footballers strive for perfection, knowing they have a great support network behind them.
Listen to Music
We all love music (footballers included), so if they’re in the dressing room before a game, or in training, one of the best ways to alleviate stress is by putting on music. Upbeat music can help footballers feel more energized and positive about the match ahead, while slow-paced tunes can help players relax.
Footballers are exposed to competitive stress, which can make them worried about committing errors and letting their team down. To ensure they’re in the right frame of mind both on and off the pitch, many players do any (or all) of the above to destress.