Sports psychologists don’t only work with athletes and their coaches. They also often do trainings for business professionals interested in bringing an athletic mindset to partnerships and high-stakes negotiations.
People assume that the streets are paved with gold for a 7-foot-tall basketball player — that at that height, achieving the pinnacle of athletic success should be as easy as a slam dunk. But the truth is that participation in competitive athletics, while offering many benefits, can also cause stress, anxiety and even bouts of depression for young participants.
That’s just what Minneapolis resident Sara Kietzmann observed in her son Will last year as the 7-footer struggled under what felt like the unrelenting pressure of coaches, fans and well-meaning observers when his high school graduation approached and he pondered the next steps in his athletic career.
Even when basketball isn’t part of the picture, Kietzmann explained, “there is an extreme amount of pressure that comes with being 7-feet-tall. Basically people want to come up and talk to him all the time, want their picture taken with him.” Add basketball to the mix, she added, and the pressure is even higher.