The better you learn to manage your stress response the more likely you will make quality decisions in stressful situations on and off the field.
Officiating, at its core, is the ability to make quality decisions under stress. The loud environment, the passion of the players, and running up and down the field, all increase your heart rate. In fact, a lacrosse game is a perfect recipe for a heightened stress response.
Commonly known as the fight or flight response, the stress response is your brain priming your body to protect itself. Imagine your hunter-gatherer ancestors. Those that perished, were less ready to sprint away or fight off a predator. The survivors were the ones with the more refined stress response.
When you experience the stress response your brain produces cortisol and adrenaline, which:
Your body is better geared to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle than it is to modern life; lacrosse included. The fight or flight and relaxation responses are part of the operating system of the human body. If you want to officiate well under stress, or do anything well for that matter, it is valuable to read the owner’s manual.
To that end, here are three methods to reduce stress during key game situations:
1. Timeouts – Breathe Deep
2. Halftime – Mental Reset
3. When You Perceive that You Made a Mistake – Physical Tics
A lacrosse game is not life or death, but your body does not know that. You do not have a separate stress response for a game, and a different stress response if you hear your child cry out in pain from the next room. The better you learn to manage your stress response, the more likely you will make quality decisions in stressful situations on and off the field.
US Lacrosse is the sport's national governing body and provides national leadership, structure and resources to fuel the sport's growth and enrich the experience of participants. For more information on US Lacrosse, check out the links below.