The Student News Site of Taipei American School




Double-edged sword of pressure


“It’s the seniors’ last IASAS at home. There won’t be a next time for us, so we’re going to go all out,” Lorraine L. (12) said.
IASAS is often viewed as one of the most important competitions for TAS athletes, and having to balance sports practices, school work and social life puts them under immense pressure, especially for our soccer players. “I do feel somewhat pressured by the upcoming matches, considering that IASAS soccer is at home,” Andrew C. (10) said. “Honestly, it’s really hard [to balance playing sports, school work and social life],” said Lorraine. How does the pressure affect their performance? Mr Maguire, AP and IB coordinator and varsity tennis coach, has some answers to share.
“When people are under pressure, they start to make mistakes that they usually won’t make,” said Mr Maguire, adding that TAS athletes often “put too much pressure on themselves” and that “they will do just fine if they relax”. His advice is to “listen to some music you like, and focus on your goals and what you can control in the game” before matches, as well as to “remember it’s just a game … the earth’s not going to stop [turning] if you don’t win.”
Sometimes, pressure coming from the desire to win can be a key factor that pushes athletes to do better and give it their all. “I am really nervous about the upcoming IASAS matches, [but] with the pressure, I feel like I need to perform better than ever, which obviously helps me do so,” Lauryn V. D. (9) said.
Having pressure to win is not only exclusive to TAS athletes; even Olympians feel it. Usain Bolt, who holds the title of the Fastest Man on Earth, also faces this kind of pressure. His method of dealing with it is performing comedic antics at the starting line right before each race. On the other hand, the most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps, deals with the pressure by sitting down and listening to music. Although these two famed Olympians have different methods of dealing with pressure, their ability to come to terms with it allows them to turn it into a driving force to win.
When it comes to sports, pressure to win is a double-edged sword; it can cause athletes to crumble, but it can also be a weapon in their armory that provides an advantage, propelling them to victory.

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