Fighting Pressure from College to Pros: How to Become a Better Athlete

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Sport is a way of life and requires maximum dedication, not only in training and matches but in all aspects of everyday life.

Coping with the pressure in the right way, take care of your own body, as well as mental and emotional health, keeping a positive spirit in difficult times, but also choosing the right role models… these are just some of the qualities that a successful athlete should possess.

Play and Hard Work

Imagine a child on the playground kicking a ball or trying to shoot hoops – it’s a completely clear picture of pure love for the game, love for sports, an expression of the natural human need for entertainment.

However, today’s sport is primarily big business, which results in the fact that children from an early age encounter a competitive environment, and numerous pressures from coaches and parents. In such circumstances, the passion that originally attracted the child to sports is quickly forgotten.

The pressure piles up when you reach the highest level of professionalism…

“When placed in front of spectators and a worldwide audience then the anxieties of the player come into play as well,” explains Richard Collinge, Head of Medical Services at English football club West Ham United. “That can affect the tissue tone. It’s all interwoven. The player needs to feel comfortable that he can play a game.”

For instance, young basketball players – from high school to college – are instilled with the idea that they have to become stars, and that can leave psychological and emotional consequences. An athlete must always look at things positively and learn to function under pressure. It’s the obligation of coaches and clubs to help these young people, but when the line is drawn – the fight against pressure mostly rests on the shoulders of athletesthemselves.

Coping With Difficult Moments

There are numerous examples of young athletes who have failed to cope with the often unrealistic ambitions of their parents. If the fun of sports disappears, there’s little in which that child can enjoy.

Even when athletes grow up and their careers develop, the initial love for sports, that “fire” in their eyes, must continue to burn. There will be difficult moments, but exactly then the athletes should put things in perspective and not let something that happens off the field disturb them.

Getting injured is one of those difficult moments…

“Going into the game knowing that you’re at a higher risk of injury or that you might blow up after 60 minutes isn’t ideal,”says West Ham defender Ryan Fredericks in a chat with Betway.

Of course, all of the above doesn’t mean that the love for sports exists at the expense of ambition – a player must be dedicated, motivated, and persistent from an early age.

Train Hardest When You’re Young

In order for athletes to play at a high level, the level of a professional, the sport they have chosen must be taken seriously very early. The point is to train and progress the strongest when an athlete is young, when he/she has the strength and when he/she is ready for everything – to understand as a teenager if they want to be professional athletes and dedicate to sports. Because, when they become pros, there isn’t so much training anymore – there are trips, matches, there isn’t so much space for individual progress.

Some sports stars don’t like the preparation period…

“I think if you calculated my average from all of the warm-up games that we played it would be terrible. I didn’t want to play in them, I had no interest in them because they never made me feel like I felt when I practiced,” reveals one of the best-ever English cricketers Kevin Pietersen.

Professionalism Off the Field

The match is just the final part of the mosaic called “career”. In order for the last piece to bear the desired fruits, the athletes must pay attention to their behavior and actions off the field. This primarily refers to quality nutrition, adequate rest, stretching, as well as a positive environment. In fact, it’s quite simple – a tidy, healthy life – without staying up late, without alcohol and cigarettes.

The importance of proper nutrition for what the athlete provides on the field is especially emphasized. The functioning of an athlete’s body largely depends on what they eat. Each person’s metabolism works differently, so athletes must find the diet that suits them best.

Learning the Lesson

The lesson that should be learned after many stories of professional athletes who didn’t take seriously what professionalism means, is that building the right work habits is crucial.

In addition to nutrition, athletes emphasize the need for regular sleep, rest time, as well as work on details that can ultimately prove to be extremely important. Also, stretching is necessary in order for the athlete to be ready for the next training and in order to prevent injuries.

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