Professional athletes lead remarkable lives. Sports are on the world’s oldest and yet most civilized ways of competing for glory. Unlike war, sportsmanship means testing your own abilities while doing no harm to others. Sportsmanship is a noble calling, yet it is not without its corruptions and its negative effects. The pressure on professional athletes to perform like machines and continuously improve their performance can be overwhelming. Many athletes cannot take the stress and expectations that rest on their shoulders and turn to addiction or substance abuse in order to cope. The life of an athlete is rewarding, but full of challenges.
The obvious pressure on professional athletes is to be the best. This pressure is both internal and external. People become athletes because they are inspired to strive for the personal glory of being the best in their sport. The extent they are willing to go to in order to achieve this title is remarkable. However, it is possible for an athlete to put too much pressure on themselves to be the best and push themselves beyond their means. Many athletes end up with injuries or illnesses due to their own unwillingness to rest. External pressures can come from coaches, support systems, sponsors and anyone else who is invested in the athlete’s performance. What the athlete does in their sporting arena is a reflection on the people who have invested time, energy or money into the athlete, and it is possible for them to apply undue pressure to the athlete to perform. This can cause feelings of anxiety and stress within the athlete.
In the same vein, athletes feel particularly pressured to perform from the very start of their careers because an athlete’s career peaks while they are still young. An athlete’s teens to thirties is the age range in which they are expected to perform the best, depending on the sport. In many gymnastic Olympic events, athletes are merely teenagers. Once an athlete is in their forties, the potential for injury becomes much higher, prompting athletes to push themselves the hardest while they are young.
Every athlete needs to learn to deal with hardships in a healthy manner. If you are stressed or anxious due to the pressure to perform, see a counselor. If you are in physical pain, see a specialist such as a Kelowna chiropractor. If your current coach is making stress worse, find a new one. Do whatever you have to do to deal with stress correctly and avoid substance abuse.