An athlete at any level—whether it's a local recreational soccer player, a college basketball guard, or the World's No. 1 ranked tennis player—has felt the desire to win. This burning passion to succeed is a great mindset to possess, but it can also bring about negative thoughts.
Easily put, being successful brings about pressure.
What kind of pressure do you believe the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft feels each year once the season is about to begin?
What kind of pressure does the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys have to deal with entering each season?
How about the point guard at Duke, the ace of the New York Yankees pitching staff, or even the face of the WNBA Diana Taurasi herself? What kind of stress are each of these put under once they step foot on their respective court, field, etc?
Never before has the NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL, men's and women's tennis, college basketball and football, golf, and even NASCAR been promoted through advertisements at the rate each is today.
Tune in to ESPN on a daily basis. In this day and age sports are being promoted at a rapid pace.
LeBron James and Kobe Bryant have become two of the most popularized athletes on the planet. Through the NBA Playoffs campaign, US Olympic Team interviews, and appearances on some of the most highly watched television shows in America, both LeBron and Kobe have become stars.
Both highly rated prospects coming out of high school, LeBron and Kobe bypassed college and made the leap to the NBA. Although they each had the talent and natural ability to succeed at the next level, they both had to feel pressure making the announcement of their intentions for the future.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski is one of the most successful coaches in the history of college basketball. Coach K, as he is better known in Durham, has spent the majority of his coaching career building the basketball powerhouse that is Duke University.
Throughout his legendary career, he has had to deal with recruiting struggles, building a fan base, and otherwise changing the atmosphere on campus revolving around basketball. He has had to compete with UNC, NC State, Wake Forest, and other local schools for recruits, and has built the program with the the expectations to succeed.
Now Duke is a consistent Top-10 team year in and year out. The program is built on success; the success of teams in the past and the success of Coach K at the helm. Duke basketball has the pressure to win every year, and has thrived with the role to succeed.
The New York Yankee organization has been the most successful MLB team in the history of baseball. Years ago, the Yankees were a shoo-in to advance to the World Series each and every season. That pressure to succeed weighed heavily on the shoulders of the players and the managers, and thus the empire fell. (For the time being, of course.)
Although the New York Yankee Empire fell just a few seasons ago, the team has resurrected its name and legacy and is the over-whelming favorite to win the World Series this year.
Each athlete feels the pressure to win in their respective sport.
Every team deals with the pressure to succeed once the season begins.
The individual leagues must deal with the pressure of handling every situation in the correct manner. (Such as penalties, fines, etc. for players who do not follow the rules)
Pressure plays a huge part in sports. Many people may not realize the stress that athletes undergo on a daily basis, the expectations that they must live up to, their desire to be the best.
Can you handle the pressure? Do you have what it takes to win?
This is Part 1 of a 3 part series Entitled: "Pressure and Sports: The Pressure To Win, Succeed, And To Be The Best"