The pressure that weighs them down: a documentary

Exploring the lives of athletes and the pressure they experience

Many+athletes+often+feel+like+most+of+the+pressure+comes+from+their+own+teams+and+themselves.
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The pressure that weighs them down: a documentary

Many athletes often feel like most of the pressure comes from their own teams and themselves.

Many athletes often feel like most of the pressure comes from their own teams and themselves.

Photographer: Stefana M

Many athletes often feel like most of the pressure comes from their own teams and themselves.

Photographer: Stefana M

Photographer: Stefana M

Many athletes often feel like most of the pressure comes from their own teams and themselves.

Aldana B., Reporter

“The process of pursuing excellence naturally comes with a range of barriers all athletes need to incorporate into their lifestyle in order to achieve. When an athlete fails to overcome or face any barrier, the standard of the individual is lowered and they are faced with the widely researched area of ‘choking under pressure,’ which is a feared phenomenon by all. Understanding the various areas of pressure athletes face within sport fall under the category of mental toughness which has been widely researched through numerous articles and psychologists, but still remains to be not very well understood,” wrote Kelly Bourne, a sports and exercise psychologist.

Sports are a huge part of the ASD community. Each team is brought together to form friendships. Friends support each other at games, and athletes bring the community together at each game they play.

However, sports participation can also bring a significant amount of stress, anger, and negativity to the lives of participants. Playing a sport brings pressure — whether self-imposed, brought on by teams, coaches, or even parents — that can affect athletic performance and mental health.

According to Monika Schloder, a performance consultant,”Many times, programs attempt to imitate professional teams or the training methods of successful Olympic athletes without reflection on or in consideration of the age group involved, the physical capacity, technical, and mental capabilities of those children and youth.”

In this documentary, former Stanford athlete and ASD varsity softball and volleyball coach, Ms. Kelli Grondahl discusses her experience as a coach, the pressure experienced by her athletes, and the pressure she faced when playing college basketball. On the other hand, S. Hekmat (’22), a Dragon varsity tennis player, discusses the pressure she has experienced through her seasons and the type of toll it has taken on her.