Former Kingston College standout, Akeem Bloomfield, who is now a professional track and field athlete with major sportswear brand Puma, believes that student athletes in Jamaica are placed under too much pressure. However, he reiterated that the pressure comes as a result of the athlete’s exceptional talent.
Speaking with 876Stream during an Instagram Live interview a few weeks ago, Bloomfield did admit to feeling pressured as a student athlete himself but explained that this was as a result of him breaking records and running exceptional times from a very young age.
“If I ran 44.93 in high school, obviously there’s going to be high expectations based on my performances. People are going to expect a lot of things from me.”
His point adds a different perspective to the conversation that has been taking place over the years, regarding whether student athletes are going through too much at such a young age. Select journalists, sports fans, even administrators have all argued at some point over the last decade that student athletes are placed under too much pressure in a very early stage of their career.
The high levels of expectations come as a result of performing and helping their respective schools to achieve the nation’s most coveted trophy in Track & Field, the Mortimer Geddes Trophy. Also, from an individual standpoint, many of the nation’s young stars are working hard on their performances so they can be offered scholarships to attend some of USA’s most elite colleges to further their education as well as develop their talents on the track.
It is evident though, that from a fans point of view, the demands we often place on these athletes to do well at Champs to help our favored institutions or our very own alma maters win the title is enough pressure to make them feel overwhelmed.
It is therefore understandable that many young athletes tend to fall off course by the time they finish college or have injury prone careers that stump what was a very promising future.
Bloomfield’s statements exemplify the way human nature works, we often expect great things from seemingly great talents. It is often said “To whom much is given, much will be required” and that sentiment only magnifies the expectations of a sports success hungry nation. With that said, it is the athletes that will have to develop a strong mental fortitude, perhaps a key factor in fulfilling their innate potential to meet those high expectations. Rather than trying to suppress the expectations of so many, our efforts may be best served focusing on sports psychology facilities for our athletes.