I recently heard of a young basketball player who committed suicide!
He was 17 years old!
This in itself isn’t right yet when I spoke with other people in the basketball community, I found out, suicide is much more common that I thought.
So I had to do something about it.
I have to educate using the skills and knowledge I have.
The thing is mental health in sports is an issue.
From young people dropping out of sports to suicide, the mental health of young athletes is being affected for various reasons.
Let me explain what happens…
In sports there are situations and most of the time a young person goes through the motions of being in situations. Whether it’s running sprints in training, striving to be the best or even preparing for exams, situations occur all the time.
The problem is born when a person finds themselves in a situation but things aren’t going right for them. They can’t find the solutions or answers to get through a situation. Perhaps they can’t win at sprints, or aren’t the best or worry about exams.
Expectations begin to influence their mind. These can be internal (self-talk) or external (comments from a person)
If they stay in that situation and continue not to find the answers and expectations aren’t met, pressure and anxiety quickly find their way into their psyche.
And it’s at this place where things can go horribly wrong.
They aren’t able to change their perspective and the pressure grows and they choose a way out.
So what can I do to remove these feelings of pressure and anxiety.
Well it’s not as much as what I can do differently, but what those around that young person can do differently.
We all have choices but we don’t always see those choices and it’s young people especially that aren’t made aware of the choices they have.
So before we reach that point of no return, we create a supportive, nurturing culture at the situation level where the young person is encouraged, supported and nurtured they feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings to their coach and parents and all three (player, coach and parent) are on the same page.
To demonstrate how this works I recorded a ‘live event’ demonstrating how someone who isn’t finding the answers and feeling pressure and anxiety, can quickly find the solution with the right support.
I invite you to watch and share your own experiences around mental health.
I’m setting up a charity to raise awareness of mental health in youth sports because it needs to be done. If you feel you can support please let me know.
Take it easy