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Performance anxiety in athletes

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Performance anxiety in athletes

Athlete rests on bench

Athlete rests on bench

Photo credit to Sujay Marisetty

Athlete rests on bench

Photo credit to Sujay Marisetty

Photo credit to Sujay Marisetty

Athlete rests on bench

Sujay Marisetty, Copy Editor

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When people observe events from a distance, athletes sometimes may not seem as if they are tangled with a lot of pressure, but in reality, most of them are.

When in the spotlight, high school athletes aren’t just facing the pressure that comes along with performing, but also the pressure from their peers, family, and academic life, to name a few.

“[If] you just think of all the things that these people are involved in and then you throw practice that goes until 6:30 or 7:00 at night… and then they want good grades so they have to do their homework,” Pam Cinadr, the Pleasant Valley High School nurse, commented. “And they have to get up early because most of them are in early bird lifting… so that’s a lot of pressure.”

Senior Justin Sehlin, the captain of the varsity tennis team, has played tennis throughout his life and is no stranger when it comes to the pressure of performance.  

“When I was younger, I let expectations burden me into thinking that if I don’t do well, then I would lose a lot of opportunities and be looked down upon. It added to the stress I already had and then I had to work with that during matches. But later on, I realized that dwelling on outside expectations only made me perform worse,” Sehlin said.

The pressure of performance is universal among all athletes, and sometimes it can manifest itself in a very visible manner.

Varsity cross country runner, Gavin Smith shared his experience of dealing with a minor panic attack during one of his races. “You don’t ever expect [a panic attack]. It just happens, but when you get to a point where you’re under a lot of stress, you have to step back,” Smith explained.

Unfortunately, circumstances cannot be controlled easily, and athletes are often left to find the solution to their anxiety within themselves. However, Smith feels that this can actually empower them and make their goals more clearer.

When asked about how other athletes should approach overcoming their anxiety, Smith responded, “ My advice would be to just think about what’s going on logically and try to remove yourself from the emotions of the situation. To lessen the stress I personally think to myself ‘I can do this’.”

While anxiety can overwhelm athletes, with the right mindset, they can push through and overcome their fear.

 

 

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Performance anxiety in athletes