For a large population of the student body, Fall Fair day is a busy day. Over 100 student athletes prepare themselves for home competition that day, often in front of their family and lots of friends. It’s the one time a year athletes are guaranteed student spectators, not just their parents.
For many athletes, most of the fall season is filled with game after game of limited attendance. oftentimes only immediate family. Some athletes don’t even get to have their parents watch. For athletes around the world, amateur to professional, a crowd, especially a good crowd, can affect performance. A good example would be last Saturday’s Fall Fair, where Friends went undefeated in front of large crowds of student spectators.
What goes on in an athlete’s mind when playing in front of spectators?
I’ve always enjoyed playing in front of crowds, and it gives me more positive energy. I almost always play better, and even in negative crowds, I feel like it motivates me more. Most people usually enjoy spectators, but there is a minority of people that abhor the concept of it all.
To better grasp the concept and for another perspective, I asked my good friend and tri-sport athlete Nick Hoffman (a football, basketball, and tennis player) to explain what goes on in his mind when he is playing in front of a crowd. Nick says that at first he prepares himself before everything starts to try to focus not on the crowd, but on the task at hand. He also said that when the game starts and people are cheering for him and the team, his energy always increases and his performance is raised.
Nick is part of the majority of athletes that enjoy playing in front of spectators. I’m sure countless others enjoy the few times a year they get to experience playing in front of a crowd, and I’m also sure that professionals, no matter if it’s Lebron James or a guy sitting on the bench in the minor leagues, enjoy the crowd and don’t take it for granted.