Beyond Athletics

How Stress Can Actually Help Athletes

girl works through how stress can help athletes

“I’m so stressed!”

When was the last time you said it?

I think the last time I said I’m stressed was about an hour ago.

It’s so common to feel stressed — and to mention it. Even if you’re feeling pretty good, I bet you’ve heard a friend or someone you’re passing in the hall at school say it recenty. Today?

Between papers due and tests to take, with a practice and game schedule on top of it, high school is stressful – nobody is arguing that. A recent article, however, highlights another way to look at stress – as a motivator.

So this may sound confusing. But bear with me: A little stress might actually be a good thing.

Stress can help athletes to prioritize.

Being under stress usually means there are many things to get done and a tight window of time to do them in. Conversely, that same stress can motivate us to face the facts and figure out what needs to get done.

Instead of stopping and letting worries and anxiety get the best of you, it makes more sense to buckle down and start to check things off the list.

The most important and most pressing items to start, and so on from there.

Stress can help athletes hunker down and get to work.

Once we’ve been pushed to get our priorities in line, stress gives a sense of urgency to begin actually getting things done. While it’s no fun to feel “stressed out” the way it does actually make us apply ourselves and produce is pretty profound.

Take a minute to think about why you’re stressed, and begin to set a determination that it’s not going to get the best of you. Let’s say you have a rapidly approaching deadline. Turn the negative thought: “How will I ever get this done?” into a positive: “I’ll use the next three hours in the library to finish this paper.”

Stress can help athletes connect with friends, family, and teammates.

If you’re feeling stressed out by school, your sport, your job, or maybe even friends or family, there is a silver lining to remember. It means you are getting an education, or have the ability to play a sport you love, or have a job that brings you income or money for essentials, or have people surrounding you that want to be in your life.

Being stressed is a great reminder of all that we should be grateful for. And asking for help, or even taking a moment to commiserate with a friend or teammate, will bring you closer and can even forge a connection or a bond.

So next time you feel like you’re “completely stressing out,” don’t let it shut you down. Harness that emotion. Let it take you to greater heights.


Sometimes feeling stressed can come from confronting complex or confusing situations like the college recruiting process. In that case, the best solution is to turn to our scouts and digital platform. Get started with a recruiting profile today.

Photo credit: (Flickr – Ashley Campbell)

About the author
Laura Chmiel

Laura Chmiel is a marketing coordinator and a lead writer for NCSA Athletic Recruiting. As someone with a passion for athletics and education, she graduated from Indiana university with a B.S. in Elementary Education. After school, she gained first-hand experience helping student-athletes and their families get to college.