THE pressures of sporting success are a lot to live up to, says long-time Rockhampton boxing coach Des Upton.

In the wake of the tragic death of 20-year-old Olympian Billy Ward on Sunday, Upton said the expectations athletes faced was a lot to handle, and needed to be managed by coaches, support staff, family and friends.

"It does put a lot of pressure on them," the Rockhampton PCYC boxing coach said.

"I see the nerves and the way they (the boxers) are before they get into the ring, but once they get into the ring the nerves all go out the window.

"Whether they're releasing all this that's built up in them I don't know.

"It's sad what happened. I didn't know the kid too well so you don't know where it came from."

In his 27 years as a boxing coach, Upton said he'd made an effort to become more than just a coach.

Despite the age gap between the 74-year-old coach and his teenage troops, he said he'd been able to forge a crucial bond.

"You get to the stage where some of the boys can talk to you and say they've got problems with this and that at school and at home," Upton said.

"You talk it through with them and you find that it's mainly social problems or they might be playing up at school and you help them sort them out.

"Sometimes they just need someone to talk to."


Who can I turn to?

If you or someone you know may be at risk of suicide contact Lifeline (131114), beyondblue (1300 224 636) or the Salvo Care Line (1300 363 622).