Updated: Mar 20
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
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.