Origin of stress
Stress is being created when there is an imbalance between the size of the total burden and the weight you can carry. If the burden is bigger, you tend to snap, you lose control. The result is you suffer physically as well as mentally from this. Generalizing the situation would no be correct, because a burden can be seen as a burden, but can also be seen as a positive challenge.
When they tend to feel the imbalance within your body, people first would look for other possibilities to release some of the total burden. They try to find solutions such as working a bit faster, or spreading the burden over time. But when the pressure keeps rising and you don’t know which button to push, you run out of options. This is the moment stress really catches on you, and stress gets bad for your body as well as your health.
The stress related to sport usually is not the really aggressive negative stress. Referring to snooker we can not ignore the fact that pillars in this sport are concentration and precision. Every millimeter counts, sometimes one is too much. So dealing with a shot automatically generates pressure. And sometimes a player can not deal with it, thus stress has the upper hand.
THINGS THAT TRIGGER STRESS
- trying to do things perfect ... the ‘hardcore’ perfectionist will not and must not fail. Playing the ‘perfect frame’; how we all like to achieve this, but in reality for most of us is an illusion. ‘Not good enough’ means you can always do better. If you want to play like the best, you have got to be a perfectionist. But more important are qualities like dealing with things in the right proportion and perception. If you ignore these things, your eagerness to perfection might be the reason for not being perfect at all.
- A-factors ... these are related to things like ambition, focus on result, a competitive mind. All these things not necessarily generate negative stress. In a positive way they can generate positive stress. But should a player leave no margin for error these A-factors can be very exhausting and drag you down.
- the destructive impulse of ‘to have to’ / ‘to must’ ... it is quite normal that we impose ourselves certain demands. Playing a low level of snooker, stakes are usually not that high. But playing on a high level stakes can get really high; certainly on a professional level. The saying ‘no pain, no gain’ is implied here. So far so good. But you have to stay in control. Yes, there are moments when you look at yourself and say ‘this is not good enough, I can do better’, or ‘this has be better next time’ or ‘I need to work harder’. But you have to find a balance between focusing and working hard, and relativize and relax. It would be much easier if you can say to yourself ‘I can fail also’ or ‘I may fail’. That is why it is much healthier for the mind not to say ‘have to or must’, but once in a while ‘may’ or ‘I allow myself to’.
- the outer world ... sometimes a player is focusing on the outer world; focusing on what is happening around him/her and not on the person that is performing. Usually a players seeks recognition or appreciation. You start to worry that people might think or see differently. Sometimes parents, your coach or friends are watching and you push yourself because you ‘need’ to show’ how good you are. These are all mistakes players make. May I remind you there is only person you should be doing all this for … that is you!
- pessimism and a negative insight ... always lead to bad results. A negative attitude will never lead to a good performance. You have to be attentive because of the spiral effect … negativeness leads to bad results, lead to negativeness lead to bad results … and so on.
The way you look at things and behave is partially based on character. But there is also playing experience and adaptive strength that are important. Do you feel like working on this, then there is a way out. But I remind you this can only be achieve through hard work with the mind. It all depends on your eagerness to succeed.
SPORTING AT A YOUNG AGE ...
To my believe parents are there to motivate and to support. But without even knowing many parents put their children under a lot of pressure by saying ‘we are watching you so do your best’. Of course a child wants to perform well, but parents may not over emphasize. At a very young age enjoying to play should be much more important than being the best. It is important your kid learns how to deal with loss and failure. If not, this can create problems in later stages when they are competing, doing a job and working in a company or even when they are interacting socially.