Athletics & Mental Health
Not just fad buzzwords...Mental Health Awareness is KEY to successful performance both on and OFF the field!
"There can be moments for any of us where we are dealing with issues behind the scenes. Each of us as humans is going through something on some level. It's OK to not be OK, and it’s OK to talk about it." - Naomi Osaka.
As a four-time Grand Slam singles Champion, Naomi Osaka announced at the 2021 French Open that she would not be speaking to the press "due to the effects on her mental health." Say what now? Her declaration rocked the sports community....The media was full of opinions both for and against....but either way, the discussion about athletes' mental health is on. Before they became athletes, they were humans first. Like the rest of us, athletes' mental health need TLC too.
SoulSpring Counseling therapist Jeni Mose LMHC is a former athlete and she gets it. (Read more about her story here). With advanced training Sports and Exercise Psychology, Jeni has a passion to help athletes in all phases of their career, both on, off, and after the field.
GETTING IN THE ZONE AND HITTING PEAK PERFORMANCE
Getting in the zone and hitting peak performance has as much to do with your physical form as it does your mental health. Learn practical skills to achieve your personal best. Utilize them during practice and in play.
RECOVERY AND RETURN AFTER INJURY
Truth is – injuries occur in sports. Questioning or being hesitant about returning to play is common. It is also natural to feel lonely, purposeless, scared, or unmotivated during recovery. Recovery is a journey, but you don't have to do it alone. Learn to implement psychological skills during recovery to help you get back on the field. And normalize that anxiety of returning to sport is common. You can overcome!
COPING WITH LIFE OUTSIDE OF YOUR SPORT
Life doesn't end just because you are an athlete. Unresolved life issues can arise once work outs, practices, and games are over. So how do you cope with life outside of sports? Unhealthy behaviors correlated to being an athlete; such as eating disorders, substance/addictive disorders, anxiety and mood disorders, burnout. These don't have to sabotage your life, or your game.
THE FINAL WHISTLE
Has being an athlete defined your entire life? It can sometimes be a struggle to transition your identity from on the field to off the field. It can be a feeling of something missing or a longing for the old days. Whether you are coming out of high school, collegiate play, semi-professional or professional, your feelings are valid. Counseling can help grieve the loss of identity in sport and competition, and help you find new and satisfying life purpose where you can shine and flourish again.
“Most coaches consider sport to be at least 50% mental when competing against an opponent of similar ability and certain sports (e.g., golf, tennis, and figure skating) are consistently viewed as 80% to 90% mental." - R.S. Weinberg & D. Gould, 2015, Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology.
If you are struggling with any of the above, don't hesitate to reach out and work with SoulSpring Counselor Jeni Mose LMHC. She has advanced training to work with athletic clients and the specific issues they face.
In Loving Memory of Marc Guara, University of Miami Varsity Men's Crew 1986 -- 1990
Our teammate and lifelong friend tragically lost his life in the Surfside Condominium collapse along with his wife Ana and their 2 daughters, Lucia and Emma. Your Miami Crew love and miss you terribly.
I’m not gonna lie. Two months ago, we at SoulSpring Counseling set our content calendar in place to share with all of you about the value of mental health counseling to athletes ... You can read all about it above. Yeah, in April of this year that eblast was scheduled to go out July 6th.
Then early in the morning on Thursday, June 24, 2021, the Champlain Towers in Surfside, Florida suddenly collapsed. What a catastrophe. Just shocking. I shared a post about the event on my Facebook page in the morning, and then I went on about my day. However, by Thursday evening, my feelings catapulted into personal shock and despair. I had received the most devastating news: my college friend and teammate Marc Guara had recently moved into Champlain Towers last year with his wife and two daughters. All four of them were unaccounted for after the collapse. I felt sick to my stomach. No, not Marc Guara. No, it couldn’t be. But yes, it was. By evening of the 24th, the texts, phone calls, and Facebook messages and posts started flying. There are about 50 of us from the University of Miami’s men’s and women’s Rowing teams who remain in touch to this day. This email does not have the room to describe what makes this group of individuals who rowed for The U between 1986 to about 1994 so special. But our prayers for survival were not meant to be. On Monday June 28th our fears and suspicions were confirmed. Marc’s body was found deceased. Within days his wife and two daughters joined him. (You may read his obituary here). We have all been reeling with how to cope with this incredible and sudden loss. So I just cannot in my gut send out a post related to athletes and mental health without paying honor to my fallen teammate and friend. Marc was a BMX bike competitor as a child. He took up rowing in high school and continued on at the University of Miami. His dedication to training and to the sport is well documented. His work ethic has been cited by his teammates as a “role model” and “a mentor.” As for me, Marc always had a way of making me feel special and valued. And he was frickin funny and just fun. And so mischievous. One of my special memories with him was the trip a group of us traveled to New Orleans in 1990 to watch Miami put a hurtin on Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. National Champs! I get to include Marc in that special memory. There are many more storied memories we all share. Like many college adventures, some of the best stories are not fit for print ;-)
As this post goes out, we are planning a special reunion this fall to honor Marc on the water with a "rusty row" and a beverage of choice in his name. He would want us to enjoy life and enjoy each other. Our sport of rowing made us family for life. So if you're an athlete, you get it. And we get you. We've been there. We know what you're going through -- on, off, and after the field. So don't let any mental health issues or roadblocks get in the way of your enjoyment of your sport or your life. If you need extra "mental health conditioning", let us help. You have worked too hard and too long not to max out all phases of your life. Be a #winnerforlife