Pressure to Perform

athlete performance pressureAthletes endure an incredible amount of psychological pressure to perform well. Every working professional does, of course, but when an athlete reaches a celebrity status and they are earning a sizable salary, the pressure to perform becomes immense. They are expected to outdo themselves endlessly. They are expected to have never ending stamina for their athletic performance and for their press appearances. They are expected to overcome injuries, aches and pains for the sake of their sport and still have energy at the end of the day for good publicity. Some of the sources of pressure an athlete may encounter are as follows:

  • Coaches, managers and owners. The authority figures over a professional athlete are of course their coaches, managers and owners. These are the people in the athlete’s life who invest training, coaching, managing and employment into the athlete, making the athlete their personal investment. This is typically where the heaviest pressure to perform comes from. Coaches, managers and owners can sometimes apply pressure militantly on the athlete, causing a great deal of mental stress.
  • Fellow athletes. An athlete’s peers or teammates also play a role in putting pressure and expectations on them. If the athlete’s performance is declining, often their teammates will hold them accountable for their poor performance. To a degree, this can be healthy, but it often becomes malicious and highly critical, which puts a mental strain on the athlete.
  • Fans. An athlete’s fans, though well meaning, can sometimes put undo pressure on an athlete by expecting super human abilities out of them. Every professional has bad days sometimes, but a professional athlete’s are much more public. Fans can be very vocal and critical of an athlete when they feel that they have let their team or their locality down. An athlete who is also a people-pleaser can take this very hard.
  • Family. Surprisingly, even family can apply undue pressure to athletes. Sometimes parents are the original source of pressure in an athlete’s life. When parents discover a talent that their child has, sometimes they push their child too hard to excel at it, which includes athletics. Some athletes feel pressured to perform well by family members their whole lives long.

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