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The West Wind

The Student News Site of West Brunswick High School

The West Wind

The Student News Site of West Brunswick High School

The West Wind

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Does Competeing Against Bigger Schools Impact How We Play?

How you play in a game can be impacted positively or negatively by your mental state and your physical ability, but do bigger schools add to the pressure?
The+womens+varsity+volleyball+team+taking+a+moment+in+the+center+of+the+court+before+their+game+begins.
Photo by jenn
The womens varsity volleyball team taking a moment in the center of the court before their game begins.

High school sports are a big deal, and when smaller 1A-2A schools compete against larger 3A-4A schools, the stakes can feel even higher. Competing against bigger schools can add extra pressure and stress to the team when the size of the school doesn’t affect how well you can play.

“I’ve learned that over my years of wrestling competing against schools who have better programs and more coaching can make a slight difference,” said Austin Hill. “But I dont let it bother me because we both can preform in similar ways.”

The first thing to note is the sheer difference in size. Larger schools have a bigger pool of athletes to choose from, which can lead to more competitive teams. These bigger schools might also have better training programs that help their athletes improve their skills faster. This can put smaller schools, which might not have these opportunities for their athletes, at a disadvantage and add pressure on their athletes to perform at a higher level than what they might have prepared for in practice.

“When I compete against bigger schools or people who have had more training than me, I like to watch how they do everything,” said senior Riley Davis. “It’s a great learning experience for any sport.”

Some athletes may use the opportunity of playing at a bigger school to learn how they perform. Senior Riley Davis off of the swim team has been swimming since she was 4, taking part in high school teams and her rec team. Davis said that competing against better teams in rec is a lot different than what regular high school meets are like. She talked about how, when she is at swim meets with various schools or other teams, she likes watching and learning how the girls from different places compete. Davis says that it’s a great learning experience and likes to try to use what she sees in her next practices. She claims that although competing against girls who have had higher training and more opportunities can be scary, you don’t need to up your game to their level and potentially harm yourself.

“Whenever I’m at a match and I’m going against someone from a different school that has better training, I try not to get in my head before the match,” said senior Austin Hill. “The training helps, but the outcome can be anything.”

The pressure isn’t just on the field or court, either. There’s also the mental aspect. Athletes from smaller schools may feel like they have something to prove, which can add to the stress. They may also feel the weight of their school’s pride on their shoulders, knowing they’re up against a bigger opponent. This can lead to the players committing to a high level during their game or match that they are not used to, which can result in any type of injury or getting frustrated with your other teammates. But this isn’t to say that smaller schools can’t hold their own. These games can offer a unique opportunity for athletes to show off their skills and how well they can perform, and they can often surprise many people. After all, it’s in challenging situations that we often see the most growth.

“I try not to feel pressured because, even though I’ve competed for years, I like using meets as a learning experience,” said Riley Davis.

Remember, the pressure isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can be a powerful motivator, pushing athletes to train harder and perform better. It’s all about channeling that pressure into positive energy on game day.

Ultimately, it’s not just about the size of the school but also the heart of the athletes. Whether you’re from a small 1A-2A school or a larger 3A-4A school, it’s the passion, dedication, and teamwork that truly make a difference.

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About the Contributor
Jenna Williams, Staff Writer
Jenna Williams  Favorite movie: The Notebook Hobbies: Playing volleyball, taking walks, reading on the beach Favorite food: Fruit Sophomore, Jenna Williams was born and raised in Summersville, West Virginia along with her older sister and parents. Williams is entering her seventh year of track as well as fifth year of volleyball. She has been a part of the junior varsity volleyball team for two years now.  “I feel that volleyball and getting a job really helped me meet new people and step out of my comfort zone,” said Williams. “I now feel a lot more comfortable here than I used to when I first moved.”  After growing up in the mountains, Williams experienced a huge change of scenery when moving to the beach last year. She has always loved the beach, and since she lives so close, now compares her home to a forever vacation. In March of 2023, Williams got a job on the Holden Beach Island that allows her to take advantage of the beach nearby during her breaks. “In the evenings after practice I really enjoy going to sit on the beach to have quiet time,” said Williams. “But if I can't go in the evenings I usually just take time for myself and do reflection.”  Williams states that she has already learned useful and beneficial information about journalism that she implements within the work she does and the responsibilities she upholds in this class. Williams is now familiar with things including how to write papers in a more professional and informative manner, learn how to use a camera for sporting and school events, and has learned insight on many different topics. “Since this is my second year in journalism, I still really hope to further my photography skills, and be more active in the school community,” said Williams. “I really enjoyed the positive environment in the class and all the people in it.” 
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