Importance of Mental Health as an Athlete


Michael Dixon, Staff Writer

It has been said that stress and anxiety may trigger physiological reactions, including an increase in muscle tension, physical exhaustion, and a decline in cognition and perceptual processes, which can result in bodily harm. Athletes that over train physically get to a point where it hurts them more than it helps. Without an opportunity to recover, muscles will break down, putting the athlete at danger for injury.

Similar to this, players need to take care of their mental health in order to perform at their best. Both athletes and coaches need to be on the lookout for symptoms of mental distress, such as anxiety, depression, exhaustion, emotions of dread during practice, and a hate for the sport they once loved. Athletes must take care of their mental health, which can involve taking time off, engaging in activities unrelated to their sport, taking breaks during training sessions, consulting a sports psychologist or mental performance coach, preserving strong social and familial ties, and many other forms of self-care.

One of the best things to do if a person faces a mental health issue while participating in athletics is to take a break. High-level sports, in particular, can be demanding and take up a lot of your leisure time. While striving to rehearse and perform every day, it might be challenging to concentrate on mental health recovery. When someone sprains an ankle, they stop practicing for a while to let the ankle heal. It is important to treat mental health issues the same way as physical ones.

A good coach can have a significant and positive impact on an athlete’s career and overall quality of life. However, a poor coach might make an athlete lose interest in their activity or, even worse, start having mental health problems. We’ve all heard or experienced stories of coaches who use profanity and physical contact with athletes to “motivate” them to perform. Simply put, this is wrong and ineffective. Athletes should be encouraged internally by their coaches, who should also highlight the good parts of their work and performance. Coaches can help de-stigmatize mental health issues by actively discussing them with athletes. An important part of effective coaching is making athletes feel comfortable sharing their physical and psychological injuries with the coaching staff. You run the risk of serious injury, but you will not be able to perform at your best, both physically and mentally.