Athletes Competing with Themselves

The constant stress and crazy schedules for an athlete vary, and it does become very consuming to an extent.

About 30-50% of athletes, according to the Athletic Administration of Ohio University, experience burnout even before becoming fully developed mentally and physically.

Athletes start out at a young age, and throughout the process there’s failure, injury, and both public and self criticism.

At first, it’s supposed to be fun and to get kids active, but eventually there’s a bond developed, and once you commit, it begins to not be so fun with the overwhelming amount of responsibility.

Maggie Mendelson, a volleyball and basketball player for Fremont, talks about her biggest stresses that come from playing sports. She says, “The most stressful thing is just all of the time that I have sacrificed for sports. I am practicing, playing and traveling a lot, so I have to give up time for homework and friends. It is super hard to leave my friends all of the time. School work sometimes gets put on the back burner and is stressful to get it done sometimes.”

Because of how much stress can come with just a single sport along with potential injuries, interscholastic studies have suggested that even playing one sport is more than enough. 

The Athletic Administration of Ohio University states, “Student-athletes are as vulnerable to injuries and pain as…professional athletes. In fact, there are 2.6 million cases of visits to emergency hospitals for athletes aged 5 to 24 each year.”

Multisport athletes do have more opportunities though. It just takes a lot more self-discipline, time, sacrifice, and added stress to do it all.

There are so many expectations from sports as well. It all really comes down to performance and how well an athlete can do it.

Christian Blanch, a linebacker for Fremont’s football team, tells of his stresses of playing sports as well. He says, “I feel like the most stressful thing about sports is playing with expectations. Such as everyone expecting you to perform your best in big-time moments. With those expectations, you also have expectations for yourself.”

Coaches and parents do play a part in this. Most expectations come from the two groups, and it can be difficult to reach those expectations day-in and day-out.

The National Library of Medicine states, “Continual pressure on a young athlete resulting from expectations of parents, coaches, and teammates can generate much anxiety; coaches can have the main and most influential role in this respect in youth sports.”

The stress of an athlete can be excessive, but it’s important to acknowledge it and become familiar with it before it becomes too detrimental. Whether you’re a player or a bystander, athlete mental health matters.

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