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5 ways pressuring young athletes to perform well does them harm

By Eva V. Monsma, Professor, Developmental Sport Psychology, Department of Physical Education, University of South Carolina
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When Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin collapsed during a Jan. 3, 2022, NFL football game, much of the public attention was on the pressures athletes face to perform despite the perils they face on the field.

However, as a scholar who specializes in youth sports, I have found that this pressure often begins well before a player enters the pros – often very early in a young athlete’s life. And sometimes the biggest forces behind this pressure are coaches, peers and parents.

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