About Athletic Stress
With all stress there are both physical and mental health risks; symptoms to look for are headaches, lack of sleep, depressed mood, anger and irritability. Continued exposure to stressors can lead to other health problems such as depression, anxiety, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Three Types of Stress:
Traumatic stress is when a major event occurs. An unexpected death or a major accident. In sports it could mean a loss of position on the team or a major injury interrupting playing.
Stress that is brought on by a sudden negative change. A divorce, job loss or a move. In sports it could be a change of position, losing a starting position or getting a starting position.
Routine Stress or Sports Stress is related to the pressure of daily responsibilities. Some stressors could be the balancing act of school and sport, high intense practices, game day situations, parents over involvement or coaches win at any cost attitude.
Athletic Stress Management Tips:
*Seek a qualified mental health professional that understands athlete related issues.
*Get treatment for physical health problems.
*Recognize signs of stress in the body, such as changes in sleeping, low energy, mood changes, easily irritated or angry, behavior problems in school and use or increased use of alcohol and other substances.
*Have some family time when you do not talk about sports. Being an athlete can encompass a lot of a young person’s time. Make an effort to have other conversations other than sports.
*Focus on positives in the game not mistakes.
*When mistakes happen during a game parents should to be supportive not critical.
*Create a supportive environment on and off the field.
*Parents must manage their own behavior and attitude before, during and after the game.
*Remember to laugh and have fun.
*Stay encouraging and positive.
Often times we overlook the effects athletics can have on athletes of all ages. Parents have a responsibility to make sure they are caring for both the physical and mental needs of their children who play sports. Adults must make sure they are taking care of their own needs.