Sports Psychology
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Response to Stressors

What is a Stressor?
       There are three general types of stressors that we respond to:
  • Physical Stressors - are the things that directly affect us through our physical senses of sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell.
  • Emotional Stressors - are the so-far unmeasurable energies of other people's emotions and the energetic effects of our own emotions.
  • Mental Stressors - Mental stressors are the thoughts and ideas of others as well as the ones we produce ourselves.
       It is our personal perception that establishes the strength of a stressor. Depending on the current stress state of the system, the more stress a system currently experiences, the more likely we may respond to any additional experience as a stressor. In other words, "The straw that broke the camel's back!", causes us to experience a grand meltdown.

       It is important to understand that stressors, regardless of their origin, always effect both our physical and our mental dynamic systems. The response depends on the degree that we resist them.

       Our body and mind responds in very similar ways to stressors . The four responses to stressors  include:
  • fight - is a stress response of trying to push away a stressor, trying to forcibly change it, or trying to destroy it.
  • flight - is a response of running away from a stressor, avoiding it, or attempting to suppress it.
  • peace - is a response of tolerating the stressor to the point where it ceases to be a stressor, or of integrating it into the system for the same effect.
  • play - is a temporarily or permanently response using the stressor to benefit the system, in which case it also ceases to be a stressor to any measurable degree.
        Each of these are natural responses that can be applied in positive ways, and each one of them also has negative potential.


  • Psychology: Stress Response Theories  Stress may be defined as a nonspecific response to perceived environmental threats (called stressors ). But a particular environmental change (a demand or an event) or may be perceived by one person as stressful and by another as benign.
  • The Stress Response  The Stress Response. Stress can be physical, such as a loud noise, cold temperature, and strenuous activities. It can also be psychological, such as anxiety,
  • Stress - The Body's Response  The Body's Response: The best way to envision the effect of acute stress is to imagine yourself in a primitive situation, such as being chased by a bear.

The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

Flow/Peak Performance
Focus & Concentration
Goals and Objectives
Goal Setting
Personal Sabotage
Self Fulfilling Prophecy

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The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.

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