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The Key to Stress-Free Tryouts

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

As tryouts heat up and the school year winds down, anxiety and stress can be at an all-time high for many players. And while stress is positive in small doses, left unchecked it can cause lack of focus, difficulty sleeping, a weakened immune system, high blood pressure, fatigue, depression and even injury.

Spotting signs of stress can be tricky, but here are a few things to look out for if you think one of your players and/or children may be experiencing stress:

  • Sudden weight loss

  • Change in sleep patterns

  • Headaches

  • Lack of energy

  • Decrease in social activity

Managing stress is important for the overall wellness of players, but the path to achieving that is not one-size-fits-all. The key is finding what works in the moment and going from there, building a stress-management “tool kit” that can be pulled from and added to as needed. Ideas to start with include:

  • Deep breathing exercises - breathe in through the nose while slowly counting to five, then out through the mouth while slowly counting to five.

  • Yoga - create a go-to practice of several poses to run through in times of stress.

  • Time management - avoid self-sabotage and allow plenty of time to keep everything in balance by making to-do lists and prioritizing tasks.

  • Take breaks - go for a walk, listen to music, take a bath, draw, or write in a journal to allow for a mental reset and reduce stress.

  • Talk to someone you trust - whether it be a parent, friend, or certified therapist, sometimes just venting about what is causing stress can provide relief.

  • Meditation - simple and inexpensive, just a few minutes of meditation and mindfulness can restore calm and inner peace.

Be proactive - add one or more of the techniques mentioned above to daily routines to keep stress at bay before it becomes a problem.

During tryouts and beyond, stress management is a critical part of ensuring mental health and physical wellness for student athletes and like many other aspects of sports, consistency is key.

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