Student athletes face increasing pressure to perform - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Student athletes face increasing pressure to perform

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- From the ice, to the court, to the field, student athletes face more pressure than ever.

"I know in practice, everyday it's a challenge to just impress coaches and be the best you can be," said athlete Danielle Bittner.

Many students play multiple sports, making them hometown heroes, putting their athletic performance under the microscope.

"If you make a mistake on the performance court, everybody sees it and we want them to realize they're going to make mistakes, they're going to make high-profile mistakes but what are they learning from it," said Mark Kuisle, Century High School's athletics director.

While younger athletes may look up to them, for high schoolers, the pros are setting the bar.

"I look up to many offensive linemen because I play offensive line," said athlete Luke Wilson. "I really do look up to those guys."

But those athletes are also facing great pressure, pressure they sometimes give in to.

"You always want to assume that they're doing it all from their hard work," said athlete Jon Dicke.

Athletes like Bittner, who is recovering from an injury, said while she doesn't know anyone turning to performance enhancing drugs she can understand the appeal.

"You can see why people would," Bittner said. "You can see that there's so much pressure and so much, if there's an easier way, why not take it?"

Wilson said being banned from sports would be worse than dealing with his own limitations.

"That's my incentive not to do it because I couldn't live without football in my life," he said.

Kuisle said while it's OK to look up to the pros, he emphasizes to athletes that family and friends make better role models.

"Role models are great but you have to keep them in perspective," he said.

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