During a match, a tennis player may harness adrenaline and nervous energy to increase focus, speed, and power so that they can track the ball, get to it in time, and hit a winner. This is an example of stress being a good thing. But a little too much stress can cause muscle tension that interferes with the mechanics of technique, resulting in “choking” and a miss.
As with competition stress, too much life stress can hurt a tennis player’s performance. When bombarded with continuous emotional and psychological stress, the same small dose of hormones that initially was beneficial in helping the tennis player smack a winner can be overproduced and hurt performance and the body. Substantial stress over time, in fact, can lead to a host of issues that could devastate athletes, including:
- Suppressed immune system leading to interruptions in training
- Increased susceptibility to injury
- Slower repair of damaged muscle and tissue leading to poor recovery
- Reduction in sleep quality leading to a decline in performance
- Increased appetite and incidence of emotional binging in some athletes, leading to overeating, weight gain, and possibly reduced performance
Stress from everyday life, training, and competition isn’t going to disappear, so what’s an athlete to do? Aside from developing (over time) better coping techniques to deal with stress, there may be a more immediate solution in the form of natural, plant-based adaptogens.
Adaptogens like rhodiola rosea, schisandra chinensis and eleutherococcus senticosus actually decrease the sensitivity of the body to stress, helping tennis players and other athletes become less susceptible. In addition, adaptogens can improve resistance in the face of stress and fatigue during competition. As a result, they not only gain from stress protection, but may also improve physical performance, mental alertness, and ability to perform under pressure.
Undeniably stress management is often an overlooked problem, and adaptogens offer a convenient way for us tennis players to gain an edge over the competition. The enhanced ability to perform both mentally and physically under stress can prove indispensable in the competitive world of sports and fitness, where the difference between winning and losing often comes down to who handles stress the best.
If stress is taking a toll on your on-court performance? As a wellness coach, I help people every day to find the best ways for them to “de-stress” and get the most out of their game. If this sounds like you, I’m a wellness coach, and I’ve got the tools to help!! Please contact me here, or through my Facebook page.