Sports anxiety and its relationship to injury risk

The world of sport has a great capacity to emotionally involve those who get into it; and if we talk about the world of professional or semi-professional sports competition, the intensity of this intense experience multiplies, for better and for worse.

Athletes have to deal with everyday situations that don’t just require technical skills; It is also essential to develop psychological self-regulation skillssomething that takes shape both subjectively (the degree of well-being or discomfort felt) and objectively (sports performance and health).

In this sense, competitive anxiety is a key phenomenon, because in addition to influencing the way the athlete behaves when trying to achieve his goals, this is one of the elements to consider in the prevention of injuries and recovering after an injury has already occurred. Fortunately, there are ways to learn how to handle it properly.

    How are the management of competitive anxiety and the risk of injury articulated?

    Next, we will see how the management of competitive anxiety influences the risk of injury or relapse, a subject of great importance for those who spend a good part of their time competing or trying to break their own records.

    1. The risk of self-sabotage increases

    Anxiety in a situation of sports competition increases the risk of self-sabotaging behaviors, those that we unconsciously practice and that go against our interests and our objectives.

    Some of these self-sabotaging behaviors stem from self-fulfilling propheciesthat is, believing that we are going to do a false move or a sequence of moves required in competition, a thought that ends up being realized in reality because our attention is divided and a part of us anticipates that this action is not going to be executed perfectly.

    That is, when we hold this type of belief about what is going to happen to us, attention is divided and the risk of loss of coordination increases and fail in exercises that we dominate under normal circumstances. And we have to forget that competitive anxiety is, basically, a form of anticipatory anxiety: we fear a hypothetical reality that, due to this feeling of panic or loss of control over what we are doing, ends up give rise to a vicious circle of intense stress and prediction of self-sabotage.

      2. Tendency not to listen to signals from own body

      Dysfunctional perfectionism is one of the greatest enemies of athletes because it pushes them to make decisions with ill-measured consequences on their bodies and to carry out reckless activities that put their physical integrity at risk.

      This perfectionism leads to ignoring the signals sent by the body itself and which in other situations would indicate when it is necessary to stop to rest or when the “machine” is forced too much.

      This is why it is so important, especially in competitive sports, to always listen to our body and always identify the signals our body is giving that are telling us to stop.

        3. Increases the risk of overwork

        Poor stress management can also cause us to try to overcompensate by trying too hard.thus increasing wear and tear on muscles and joints.

        Some athletes tend to push their bodies to the limit, both in training and competition, due to a lack of management of competition anxiety, which usually ends up causing serious injury to their body.

        4. Auto-suggestion

        Competitive anxiety leads us to autosuggestion to the point of suppose we have recovered from an injury in advancecausing these wounds to not heal completely.

        Often, an excess of self-confidence ends up having this type of counterproductive effect, since the natural times that the body needs to recover from an injury are neither respected nor taken into account.

        This has very negative psychological effects on the athlete as well directly affects their self-esteem and self-efficacy.

          5. Increases the risk of suffering from psychological problems

          Finally, poor management of stress and competitive anxiety can lead the person to develop other psychological alterations by snowball effect, even cases of insomnia. This, in turn, it makes it harder to concentrate on what you are doing due to general discomfort and lack of restso that movement coordination errors are more likely to occur.

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          In UPAD Psychology and Coaching We have many years of experience in the field of sports psychology and athlete training, and we offer our specialized services in person and online.

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