A 5'7”, junior in high school, taking three AP classes, class president, all league soccer player, who is hospitalized due to high blood pressure and seizures. The senior quarterback, with tons of friends, granted a full ride scholarship to USC, and has to decline and quit football because of four F’s in his classes. A sophomore basketball player, who’s already being scouted by Division 1 schools, taking six challenging classes, and on crutches for the whole season because she continued to play basketball with a twisted ankle and an injured knee. How can such a frightening situation be taking place in these young adults lives? This awful and increasingly problematic scene is happening all over the world, all for the same reasons (Bowen). With social stress, the desire to be popular, academic pressure with the hopes of going to a four year university, and the difficult transition into adulthood, young student athletes must also balance the complicated challenge to be the best in their specialized sport, deal with unnerving parents and coaches, and the constant fear of failing, and some cannot handle it all (Mansfield).
“Playing sports three seasons per year can bring a lot of physical and mental stress, especially between balancing teachers, parents and coaches. Maintaining a 4.0 and staying active on a sports team often leads to late nights and a lot of pressure on my body, and a big struggle to push through it all!” says Emma Stanfield, a sophomore at Sonoma Valley High who plays varsity volleyball, JV basketball, and varsity track, while also taking two AP classes. The older an athlete becomes, the more pressure is put on them to succeed and the less time they have to learn new material and thrive. From a very young age, parents put extreme amounts of stress on their children to strive and outplay their competitors (Remmer). There have been a colossal amount of incidents witnessed of a parent screaming at their young and inexperienced child because they are not shooting the correct way, running fast enough, or giving 110%. Frank Smoll, a professor of sports psychology calls this: “Frustrated Jock Syndrome”. Frustrated Jock Syndrome is when parents live through their own child’s triumphs to reminisce on the glory years of their own sport or to remember what success and the competitive energy feels like, but usually results in damaging the parent-child relationship (Remmer). Some children have formed a need-to-please connection with their parents, which could conclude in more severe problems later in life. In addition to the parents who are sitting in the bleachers, young athletes also must deal with their own coaches pushing them. There is a fine line between having a skillful and kindhearted coach who wants his/her players to play their best, and a coach who has an “only winning will be acceptable” attitude and cares more about a trophy than the players. Coaches and parents are the two main people a player should be able to go to for advice, help, and any problems, but if that bond is broken, the young athlete is on the road of no return. By age thirteen, 70% of young athletes will quit their specialized sports, with the top three reasons being adults, coaches, and parents (Weisenberger). Another deciding factor that an athlete faces is other players, whether it be competing against one’s own team to be number one, or going head-to-head against a player on another team. Practicing everyday with their team forces players to push harder and harder to be the best, which is why 62% of sports-related injuries take place at practice (Weisenberger). Despite all of these pressure-filled people in an athlete’s life, one of the most intimidating and nerveracking stages of an athlete’s career is college and scholarships. Depending on the age and skill-level of the player, full-ride athletic scholarships become more of a reality everyday (Mansfield). The frightening truth is that only 2% of high school athletes get full-ride...
Cited: 1. "Athletic Scholarships." Athletic Scholarships. National Letter of Intent, 8 July 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.
2. Bowen, Daniel H. “The Atlantic.” The Atlantic. High School Sports Aren 't Killing Academics, 2 Oct. 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.
3. Mansfield, Matthew S. “Pressure On Students Athletes.” Teen Ink. N.p., 1 Sept. 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.
4. Pavlovich, Lou. "Value Of Proper Sleep For Athletes Explored 0." Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. Collegiate Baseball, 10 Apr. 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.
5. Remmer, Wesley. “When Parents Put Too Much Pressure on Their Young Athletes to Succeed.” Central Kitsap Reporter. Central Kitsap Reporter, 17 June 2010. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.
6. Stanfield, Emma. "Student Athlete Quotes." Personal interview. 7 Nov. 2013.
7. Von Gober, Sami. "Student Athlete Quotes." Personal interview. 7 Nov. 2013.
8. Weisenberger, Lisa. “Youth Sports Injuries Statistics.” Statistics. Stop Sports Injuries, 6 July 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document