Championships add pressure on players

Humber's varsity volleyball team practices for nationals after winning the OCAA championships. (Jessica Reyes) Humber's varsity volleyball team practices for nationals after winning the OCAA championships. (Jessica Reyes)
Jessica Reyes

Sports Reporter

There’s three minutes left in the final game and all eyes are on Humber Hawk athletes to bring home the gold medal.

While some won and some lost, the pressure for athletes to succeed rises before each game.

Chris Wilkins, coach of the women’s varsity volleyball team, recently broke a record by winning their eighth consecutive OCAA championship title.

Shawn Collins, coach of men’s varsity basketball, had to settle for a silver medal during the OCAA championships at Durham on Saturday after losing to Mohawk.

“All these girls know it’s a great accomplishment here in Ontario, and we just want to continue having the success in the rest of Canada,” Wilkins said.

Elizabeth Deakin-Poot, who plays middle for varsity volleyball at Humber and is a first year Early Childhood Education student at Guelph-Humber, said balancing time for homework, practice and tournaments is stressful and adds a lot of extra pressure on her performance.

“I really feel a lot more stress around midterms or exams. Right now I’m entering Nationals this week and I have a bunch of major assignments due,” Deakin-Poot said.

For many athletes like Deakin-Poot, their biggest fear is disappointing their coach, teammates and fans.

But Wilkins tells the team there is no pressure in winning or losing.

“I say give us your best and whatever happens after that, happens, but we’ll enjoy it and we’ll have fun with it,” Wilkins said.

Deakin-Poot said she reassures herself that volleyball is for fun and having a positive mindset calms her nerves going into the game.

“The reality is that in life there’s going to be a lot more stressful events and more pressure events that mean so much more than a volleyball provincials,” she said.

Humber’s men’s basketball team weren’t able to match the success of some of the school’s other teams, but the first thing coach Collins was thinking about was getting ready for Nationals.

“Every game is its own entity, you’re playing somebody for the third time… I just felt that they played better than us on that day and they deserve to win. We prepare to battle back for Nationals and hopefully get another opportunity,” Collins said.

Collins said the team did not perform well during free throw shots, which were contributing factors to the outcome of the game.

“When the ball doesn’t go in the hole for an athlete, we don’t get relaxed…I try not to big up any game. You should treat every game the same, prepare it the same way and your thought process shouldn’t change,” he said.

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