how to handle stress of being expected to be an all-star : LUSENET : APA Division 47 Exercise and Sport Psychology : One Thread

I'm a freshman in high school and I've played soccer all my life. I came into the H.S. team psyched up and ready to go, and made it to start center forward for varsity. For awhile everything was great, I was scoring goals, doing good and I was happy.

Everyone said I was the star of the team, everytime anyone got the ball they passed to me and anything I did I was praised for.

Then I started getting pain in my right foot. I ignored it for awhile but it got more and more persistant and started to take my mind off the game. As a result my mind wasn't in the game, and on top of that my foot was making playing difficult. my ablilities slipped away and I got down on myself more and more.I'm a perfectionist and beat myself up over this.

I saw a phsyical therapist who said I probably have a stress fracture in my foot, and I got it x-rayed Friday but don't have the results yet.

I've been thinking about quitting for the rest of the season to give myself a chance to cool down and get my mind back together nad my foot healed up. but the threat of being FORCED to take time off scares me to death!

Anyways, what I'm getting at is, does anyone have experience with being under tremedous pressure and what to do about it, and how will I handle it if I have to take time off in my season?

Thank you.

-- Anna (, September 11, 1999


Anna -

Your situation seems very similar to my experience. My arrival to high school was greatly anticipated. My older brother was going to be a senior and I was going to be a freshman. I had been running since I was eight years old and had seen much success. I felt like there were so many expectations of me. I'm not sure I was ready for that. When I arrived at my high school, I instantly became a leader on the team because of my abilities. I set the school record in the mile my freshman year, won the MVAL titles in the girls' 1600 meters and in the Cross Country league meet. My sophomore year was much more difficult. I felt like my body was changing without me. My times became progressively worse. I couldn't concentrate on making myself better again because I couldn't identify the problem. My junior year was no better. I stuck with it though. Senior year came around and I was faster than ever! I stopped making excuses for myself and just went for it. Taking time off to care for an injury is very important. Through my college career as an athlete, I had major knee problems. It was so bad that I could only run 2 - 3 days a week...all of the other athletes were running 6 days a week. Instead of thinking about the other girls getting faster than me, I concentrated on finding other activities that I could do to maintain my strength and endurance. I found swimming and cycling to be very helpful. I found strength in ME. If anyone would have told me that I would have run the fastest times of my life running two days a week, I would have called them crazy. I ran with a lot of heart and mind and less with physical ability. Anna, stay mentally tough - focus on the long term goal rather than the here-and-now. You can do it!

-- Erin Bellamy (, September 14, 1999.

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