Stress and Student Athletes
Intercollegiate athletics embodies a unique and demanding culture. Participation in athletics can serve as a buffer to stress by having a built in social network, additional academic supports, support of coaches and trainers and getting to play the sport you love. However, even within the athletics environment, student-athletes’ time demands are enormous. Social interactions and relationships often take a back seat to the athletic and academic related challenges and commitments.
Research suggests that athletes with high levels of life stress and low levels of social support can be at increased risk for injury. So how can parents and family members help their student athletes and provide the support they need?
Tips for parents in supporting their student athlete:
1. Keep in touch by phone from time to time
You can often discern things from a conversation (tone of voice, emotional feel and the like) that don’t always come through in a text message or email
2. Be a good listener.
When your student athlete wants to talk about the game, start by listening. When it’s your turn, point out something positive and provide encouragement. If they don’t want to talk about the game that’s okay too.
3. Let the coaches coach.
It’s your turn to sit back, relax and watch your player shine.
4. Remind your student-athlete of their strengths.
Determination, tenacity and commitment are what got your student-athlete on the team. At this higher level of competition, they need those traits more than ever, and they will come in handy off the field as well.
5. If you are concerned, ask
Most young people are reassured by their parent taking a concerned interest in their well-being (as long as you don’t overdo it).
6. Tell them it’s okay to take a break sometimes.
Student athletes often overlook the fact that social and emotional health will help them reach their peak athletic performance and avoid burnout. Remind them!
7. Use Campus support services:
Encourage your student-athlete to take advantage of the Counseling Center services to help them develop strategies to manage their stress effectively.
The Counseling Center is located in Bosch 105, and open every day till 5pm and Wednesday evenings until 7pm.
Daily Walk-in hours are from 3-4pm, no appointment necessary. Students are also able to call for an appointment at 716-888-2620.