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Individual Coaching for Athletes

Many young people today grapple with mental health problems, most commonly anxiety and depression. It appears that most, if not all, struggle with confidence as well as personal and team accountability. Many young people themselves know they have a problem. However, almost everyone is at a loss as to why this has happened or how to fix it.

It’s no one’s fault. The causes are societal and global, which not only affect children directly, they cause parents to parent differently, which exacerbates the problem. As a result, many children and adolescents today miss emotional/psychological “lessons” crucial to normal child development and so lack emotional skills that previous generations used to learn by osmosis. This is stressful, and a vicious cycle, because some of the psychological lessons kids don’t learn today are the very coping mechanisms needed to deal with this stress.

“Outcome Fever” is rampant and probably affects almost every player today—in certain cases, it is superimposed on family issues and trauma. These issues often play out in the locker room,  in practice, and on game day and thus hamper many student athletes’ abilities to play to their full potential or even enjoy themselves playing the sport they used to love. Additionally, creating the kinds of close, lifelong bonds of joy and accountability we enjoyed in athletics (and still enjoy) has become very challenging. And many parents are at a loss as to help their child or even in some cases contribute to the problem.

Fortunately, children today are hard-wired for connection and growth the same way they have always been. In fact, they crave these things. Therefore, we can remedially teach these psychological lessons and thus dramatically improve the mental health of many of today’s student-athletes. And, just as athletics throw the problems into high relief, it, with its shared goals and built-in group dynamics, also is the perfect venue to teach the lessons and thus help players both with their sport and in life.

To do this, we need to remove the mental/emotional obstacles that are holding the athlete back. What does the player do well? What do they need to work on to perform better, be a better teammate, and contribute more fully in the weight room, in practice, on game day, and in the locker room? What leadership skills do they bring to the team (going on the premise that EVERY player needs to lead, in some shape or form, at some point)? How do they FEEL when in the thick of a game?

I work with the athlete to help them discover what’s holding them back mentally/emotionally and what steps they can take to remove those obstacles. Ideally, we have a conversation with a coach they trust who can describe the player’s physical strengths and weaknesses so the player and I can tie their performance to those emotional strengths and weaknesses. Now the player has a concrete Personalized Performance Plan on mechanics and mental skills and their relationship to each other.

In addition to one-on-one work, I also have a series of Connect-the-Dots videos that covers individual emotional lessons so players can keep working in between meetings.

Some players need only a couple of sessions to feel better; others decide that their athletic performance is a springboard for working on bigger issues.. Please feel free to contact me for a brief, free consultation to see whether I am a good fit.