Stress in sport: The role of the organizational environment

David Fletcher, Rachel Arnold

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section

41 Citations (SciVal)


When one thinks of stress in sport one’s mind is usually drawn to the worries or nerves that are typically experienced before performing in competition. Whether it’s through personal sporting participation or via watching an Olympic or professional athlete prior to a race or a match, most people can relate in some way to competitive stress and anxiety experiences. There are probably two main reasons for this. The first is that such emotions are typically intense and therefore memorable. The second is that, given its intensity and closeness to competition, anxiety has the potential to affect the performance of athletes of all competitive standards. Notwithstanding these observations, there is another type of stress in sport that perhaps doesn’t spring to mind as readily as competitive stress, but arguably has greater potential to impact on athletes’ well-being and performance. Rather than stemming from athletes’ competitive performance experiences, this type of stress originates from the complex social and organizational environment that athletes operate within. Indeed, for athletes who perform at the highest level, sport is “more than just a game” (cf. Jones, 1995) and functions as a profession that is inextricably linked to their stress experiences and personal well-being. In his reflections on performance excellence in sport and business, Jones (2002) went as far as to conclude “that organizational issues probably have the biggest impact [of any psychosocial factor] on performance” (p. 279).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Organizational Psychology of Sport
Subtitle of host publicationKey Issues and Practical Applications
EditorsC. R. D. Wagstaff
Place of PublicationAbingdon, U. K.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781317355403
ISBN (Print)9781138955172
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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