The superstar athlete who has received every award, all the praise from fans and admirers and hangers-on now has to live up to all of the hype and produce at the college level. Many great high school players sometimes do not make the transition to college superstar status. In high school, many of these superstar athletes were the best on their teams, they showed great athletic ability, superior athletic skills and, at game time, no one could compete with them.
These athletes stood alone; they were unmatched because there was no competition for them to worry about. As these athletes compete, they gain confidence knowing that they are the best in their city and in their community. They shine head and shoulders above everyone who plays their sport. The transition to college, in their minds, will be easy because they have had it easy their entire athletic career while in high school.
These days, athletes receive so much coverage from so many places; magazines, website message boards, they are written about on blogs and talked about on TV as though they were the greatest athlete to have ever played. This type of hype can be dangerous when dealing with teenagers who have no life experience and may not be able to handle the pressure.
All of their athletic lives, they felt no pressure and they've dealt with very little adversity because, as a superior athlete, everything is given to you--everything in the sport world is easy. The transition to college can be difficult for many student athletes who have never lived away from home or dealt with the adversity because once you are at a college athletic program, all the players are good, all the players were also the best at their respective schools therefore, the competition is greater than many of these athletes has ever had to deal with--ever.
For every Lebron James who was a superstar basketball player, there are millions more who wish to be like a Lebron James but fail to achieve any level of success.
When you are successful in your sport and everyone is telling you how good you are all the time, you develop a huge ego. You feel that you can do no wrong and success is given to you because of your tremendous talent for athletics. Why is the pressure to succeed in college so great? The answer is over-exposure of high school athletes. There is more media coverage of athletes than there has ever been in the history of sports.
Athletes are given rating points, they're given ranking on their athletic abilities and skills, their college programs of interest are listed everywhere and are discussed on message boards websites and blogs. The coverage of these high school athletes is so over the top, they are treated like they are a lottery tickets that some college programs try to cash in.
The pressure on a teenager is ridiculous. Many of the fans of the game fail to realize that these are teenagers and, as fans, treat them as though they are professional athletes. Having to live up to high expectations placed on student athletes from fans who enjoy sports must be incredible to deal with for some athletes. High school sports, college sports, and professional sports is all about having the best players and winning.
If you were very good in high school, chances are that you may be a success at the college level and, there is a possibility that you may reach the professional level. But what happens if you never achieve college success? Then your name is forgotten faster than you can imagine. I often wondered how the fascination with high school athletes who play sports, reach this level of over-hypeness and overwhelming exposure? I think the answer is way back in the day when there was no coverage of prep athletes. Sure, their names appeared in the papers and maybe something was said about them on TV but that was it. Much of the information about high school players 40 to 50 years ago was passed around via word-of-mouth.
From game to game the fans would talk about their favorite high school player and this created buzz in the high school athletic community. At your school, you were the "big man on campus" so to speak; everyone knew your name, new what you did in the last game and that started a conversation about players at your school versus players at other schools.
The conversation about which players in high school were better became a fascination of fans that enjoyed high school sports. Back in those days, there were not a lot of print publications dedicated solely to prepl sports. As the fascination of sports grew, various publications started to cover these athletes because of the success many of them were having in high school and college. As there was more involvement in sports from our young men and women, there came a greater need to know who these athletes were and who was better.
The fans wanted to know where they were going to college and the hype of student athletes grew into what it is today. For many athletes, were viewed as their ticket to college success. A college scholarship carries the status of successful athlete. Keep in mind, every athlete who plays a sport in college does not receive a scholarship. The pressure to get an athletic scholarship for some is huge because if you receive a full college scholarship to a major university you're viewed as a success. If you fail to receive a college scholarship, in some communities, you were viewed as a failure.
Therefore, the pressure to succeed in high school is greater because of the expectations placed on these athletes from the hype machine that covers the high school athletes. Parents have been known to place unnecessary amounts of pressure on their kids who happen to possess superior athletic abilities and parents understand the importance of receiving a full athletic scholarship. Many parents will invest thousands of dollars into their child's athletic future if they believe they have athletic talent to reach the college level.
Parents understanding the value of a college scholarship and will put their hard-earned dollars into their kids looking for a return on their investment.
The investment is years of summer camps, specialized training camps, personal coaching, equipment, supplies, travel--all of this is a huge investment for many parents and these same parents are looking for a huge return on the money spent. Most investing parents feels that they were somehow cheated by high school coaches whose job it is to coach their sons and daughters to become better athletes so they can reach a college level and, when that is not achieved, these parents are very upset and angry.
High school athletes: just that name alone carries added responsibilities and pressure. When those expectations fall short at the college level, the added responsibilities of these athletes are quickly forgotten. These high school athletes when entering college athletics, I believe, are somewhat unaware of the vast level of talent at the college level. Many student athletes believe that high school success can translate into their college success. The commitment that is placed upon studentl athletes who enter into major college athletics is huge. In high school, you went to class every day, you practiced after school and you went home and when the season was over, that was it-the season was over and you moved on to something else.
At the college level when the season ends, it's really not over.
There are still training sessions, workout sessions, weight-lifting, studying, etc. The demands on a college athlete are enormous and there is very little free time with all the requirements and commitments that a college athlete must keep. Many college programs are practicing 20 hours a week, which is equivalent to the college athletes having a part-time job but, these athletes are not paid. During the college season, the pressures of a high school athlete who enters college can be daunting.
There is a pressure to prove that you belong in college and as an incoming high school superstar freshman, the expectations for them to perform can be overwhelming for some. Keep in mind, even at the college level these are still young people who are still learning their way in the world and may not be able to deal with certain things. We all remember their names once they become a success in college but we forget their names if they fail to reach any level of success.
Oftentimes, athletes will experience burnout. This is brought on because they were unable to live up to the high expectations placed on them by so many people. High school athletes and the college athletes who did not reach a high level of success will quit the game because of the enormous pressure placed on them their entire athletic lives.
It is not easy to be a superstar at the high school level. Any student athlete with some level of talent will, of course, want to compete at the Division I college level; anything less means they're not that good anyway and this is the mindset of most athletes who have reached some level of success. The mindset of some high school athletes is, "If I can't play D-I ball, I don't want to play at all!"
Just imagine an athlete who has the size, the ability and talent but ends up being under-recruited by college programs; just think of the embarrassment that athlete feels or how that athlete's parents, who have invested thousands of dollars, feel when that athlete does not reach the Division I level. Many college athletes will find it easier to quit and give the excuse of burnout than to play college athletics in a lower level college program. The road to big-time college athletics is littered with athletes who've never reached any level of success.