Slip under pressure, no more!


Christina Kowalski

Jarrett Taneyhill prepares for a pressure-filled foul shot.

Ethan McGee, Staff Writer

The time has come: it’s tied 1-1 in your soccer game against the cross town rival. Time expired and you are on the line with a penalty kick to earn your team the victory.

The feeling of overcoming the pressure was amazing. It was do or die time.

— Caroline Showalter

The pressure is on, and now you have to make your move.

Under Pressure/Queen/YouTube

Sports pressure will either get you in the zone, or have you losing your mind in seconds. Big shots, big games, and last second scores make for crazy games.

Think about it. You’re playing basketball, championship on the line with no time left on the clock, and you are on the foul line. How much pressure would you feel?

If you are the type of person who overthinks the situation, research might have the solution you are looking for! One Australian study suggests first realizing that pressure is an illusion that is created inside the head of the athlete.

Another study suggests handling pressure with things ranging from pregame music to stretching and breathing.

Kids Health also offers many tips for dealing with pressure, like deep breathing and positive visualization.

Staying calm, and  feeling positive that you are going to do what you need to is all you have to do.

Senior basketball player Nathan has had a lot of success while under pressure.  He is an Elks national free throw champ, winning local, district, state, and regional, championships before finally winning the national champ in 2012.

On the national stage in outside of Springfield, Mass., he was tied with another shooter, and had to go to a shoot-off.

Nathan, feeling pressured at the moment said, “Relaxation was very key. I kept my cool and was able to hit five of five to win.”

That wasn’t the only pressure-filled moment for Nathan. When he was a freshman he knocked down a clutch three in the final seconds of the Blair County Kiwanis Christmas Tournament to defeat arch-rival Tyrone.

“It was another great feeling, especially being kind of the new kid.  It helped me prove myself.” said Nathan.

Another senior, Caroline Showalter, who is a big time softball player, was under pressure just last year.  In the District 6-AAA championship game the team was tied 1-1 with Bellefonte when Caroline stepped to the plate and said tie no more.

A booming triple for the story book ending gave the girls a 4-1 lead, and left Caroline a star.

“The feeling of overcoming the pressure was amazing. My college coach was there scouting me so it made it extra sweet.  It was do or die time,” Caroline said.

These are definitely very good moments when people have shined under the spotlight, but what about the feeling of slipping under the pressure?

Nathan Davis had one slip up when he was a young buck, missing one free throw that would have tied a game against Williamsburg his sophomore year.

“The feeling before the shots made me very nervous, but the feeling after only making one of two was even worse,” said Nathan. “I definitely wasn’t mentally ready to take those shots, but I’ve grown from it.”

Feeling pressured is something no one really wants to be under, but being able to stay calm and know you will be successful, is what you want to be clutch.

Even if you happen to slip under pressure, you can mimic Naathan’s approach: don’t let it drag you down.  Let it be an experience you can grow from and work harder.