What About the High Flyers?

What About the High Flyers?
The weight of the world seems to be on every draft eligible prospect shoulders these days.
Don’t worry they hide it well.
You see that’s the problem.
What about the high flyers?
These young hockey playing perfectionists shoulder most of the load independently. One can only imagine how overwhelmed and how much pressure they are under to perform and live up to the insane expectations of their draft year.
For some those expectations are self-imposed, for others it’s just a way of life, they have been under the microscope their entire lives for one reason or another.
Hockey is a game, but in many ways the game means everything to these kids. It’s their lifelong dream to play at the next level.
They have sacrificed so much, but do parents and coaches ever ask them how they are feeling, how they coping with all of the pressure and stress?

You see people come to expect these highflyers can handle everything. The same thing can be said about highflying students.
Hockey becomes all-consuming for so many. Do these young players ever find balance in their hectic day-to-day lives?
As a teacher I have witnessed the pressure that is on high flying students. The pressure to be the best and to attain the highest marks possible can sometimes be unattainable for these students especially when obstacles arise in their lives.
What sets the high flyers apart from other students is their inner drive, willingness to please, unwavering confidence and intrinsic motivation. The same can be said about elite hockey players.
Nonetheless, that unwavering confidence and inner drive often turns into self-doubt when confronted with anxiety, stress and the pressure to perform becomes overwhelming.
High flyers increasingly internalize everything due in large part to their self-concept and an unwanted desire and self-perceptive notion to show weakness by asking for help.
What makes these students or players so successful is often what creates their worst nightmare, the feeling of failure.
We often think, “oh they can handle it.”
One would suggest that teachers and coaches alike don’t necessarily observe the subtle changes in those students or players as we would in others.
Over the past few years, I’ve interviewed a lot of draft eligible prospects both in the QMJHL and NHL. One of the last few questions I ask revolves around pressure and how they have coped with it.
It’s amazing how mature some of these players are.
It’s amazing how young they still are, we always have to remember that they are just kids. That the pressure they are under and that the pressure has a different effect on some more than others. It doesn’t matter how elite or high flying they are, we all need to check in, be observant and vigilant when it comes to their mental health.
The elite and high flyers are tremendously skilled, but we should never assume they are ok just because they are the best of the best at hockey or school.
What about the high flyers, how are they doing?

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