As an athlete, pressure is one of the hardest things to manage. There are three major ways pressure can affect an athlete’s performance, parent pressure, peer pressure(friends, spectators, coaches and media) and self pressure, does pressure ever become too much? Being an athlete I have experienced pressure, my father being an Olympic coach and the expectations I put on myself every time I step on the ice or the field can be hard to manage.
Parents put too much pressure on their children at young age because they want their children to be a top athlete and sometimes that fine line between good pressure and bad pressure gets blurred. Pressure can sometimes become too much for the child and that is when they start to sub-consciously think negatively about themselves and they question their ability to perform. Their ability to become a successful overall athlete decreases because they need to have a clear optimistic sub-conscious to boost self-confidence.
Sometimes parents do not realize they put pressure on their child, which is when you get the one child who cracks, who lashes out unhealthily. I have never had parental pressure on me because my father trained to be a good coach. Having him as my mental coach, I have learned to react to pressure in a different way, but this does not mean that pressure isn’t on me. Not having that pressure from my parents is sometimes a relief, but also having friends, people and a coach trying to bring the best out of you is almost as bad as parental pressure.
I have literally had to compete with people to get the attention I wanted from a coach. In school people come to games and competitions, (also meets like a swim meet or track meet) your friends come to cheer you on. People who don’t have the pressure on them everyday don’t perform well. They don’t know how to deal with it. Even when you do have the ability to focus on that task that needs to be done and you can handle the pressure, it does not always work. For example, you’re the leader on the national gymnastics team; you need to bring your all everywhere you go.
There is no way you can slack. You’re coach begins to tell “train harder; bring new moves to your program. ” There’s that one move that you need to be 20 pounds less to achieve, what would you do? You have to start losing weight, training harder; until that move is your downfall. Most of the time this can be one of the most harmful pressures athletes face because they just want to succeed in their sport to make people happy. The most harmful of athlete pressure, is the pressure you put on yourself. You can be affected by both your subconscious and your conscious.
This pressure I have the most experience with, I have cracked under it, almost given up on the one sport that is my life. Self pressure isn’t just concentrated on the athletes; it can be anyone in any profession. This pressure may become too much for one person alone; it can lead to depression and self harm. Expectations run high when you know what you’re capable of. The point of breaking is when you can’t handle the pressure and the expectations that you are putting on yourself, come fourth in a competition and you will expect yourself to come third in the next.
All you want to do is your best, which is when you do your worst. You talk yourself down so much that you can’t focus. There are ways to overcome athlete pressure, going to see a sport psychologist or relaxation methods. It’s hard to see past the faults and the expectations, but when it happens you feel a little lighter. Pressure on an athlete is one of their biggest challenges to overcome, people – without the correct training – crack under the pressure. A certain amount of pressure is good, but the line is blurred and it’s hard to tell when the pressure becomes too much.