Back to School and Back On the Field

Back to School and Back On the Field

As children and teens head back to the classroom, many are also heading back to the field, the gridiron, the court or the rink.

It is important for parents and coaches to familiarize themselves with the difference between helpful and unhelpful stress and anxiety as it relates to performance in sport.

Student athletes feel tremendous pressure both in and out of the classroom.  Awareness and open, positive engagement is key in helping kids manage their anxiety in a variety of competitive situations.

Here are a handful of categories of psychological stress as it relates to performance:

  • Fear of failure (e.g. making a mistake)
  • Feelings of inadequacy (e.g. getting tired)
  • Loss of internal control (e.g. unfair officials or referees)
  • Concern about the expectations of others (e.g. disappointing coach or parent)
  • Poor preparatory training and physical state (e.g. illness or injury)

At CBT Westport, we help student athletes recognize those pesky self-defeating attitudes and behaviors that may impact their performance but more importantly, their view of self as a human being.

A few things we may focus on with a student athlete may include:

  • Identify negative thoughts, feelings and behaviors that might sabotage his/her/their success
  • Knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses and strategize a plan to change what is not working as well as recognize the positives
  • Learning how perfectionism sets athletes up to feel overwhelmed and unhappy
  • Advocating for yourself and your team when necessary
  • Understanding how the mental game is just as important as the physical game
  • Remembering the importance of having fun

CBT Westport clinician, Carrie Potoff, LCSW has specific expertise in working with student athletes and their families.  Click here for her bio.