Pro Athletes Today Face a Huge Challenge That Didn't Exist 20 Years Ago

What are some challenges for athletes now that didn't exist 20 years ago? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Jonathan Fader, Author of Life As Sport, sport psychologist for the New York Mets, on Quora:

One of the biggest challenges athletes face is the invention of the internet and the amount of information that is available to athletes about themselves. Often I am in a clubhouse or locker room and while speaking to an athlete about their performance, they are tweeting or receiving messages on their performance in the game that occurred just a few minutes before. Clearly radio and TV have been around for decades and have created messaging for athletes about their play, but now there is an excess of information athletes have to adjust to, which sends them messages them about who they are and how the public is perceiving them. It is one thing to get booed in a game if you play poorly, but it is another thing to be booed electronically everywhere you go on social media. This requires a new level of being able to metabolize criticism and places added stress on athletes.

A second obstacle for athletes is the improvement in the competition. Every year, the talent in professional athletics is getting better. In the past, there was a small group of players who were scouted and competed, but because of advancements in technology and accessibility, every good player is identified, and everyone has an idea of who these athletes are, even in international recruiting. The players are getting much better.

Sport and performance psychology is really important because as you get to the highest level of any sport, so much of what happens is based on confidence and mental ability. Talent equalizes at the top, and the players who are able to mentally adjust and handle adversity are the ones who are the most successful.

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