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Mind Health: Coaches

Positive team culture makes a difference. 

Teams who are close and look out for each other are more likely to win & bring out the best in each player on and off the court.  

Coaches play an important role in player’s life. Being involved with organized sports helps youth build resilience, increase their confidence, learn communication skillspractice teamwork, improve their strength and may even help prevent some types of emotional health challengesAs a coach, you play an integral role in establishing a culture of belonging, kindness and respect. 

  • Emphasize the importance of being a good teammate  
  • Make sure your players know you are a resource if they are worried about themselves or one another  
    • Often athletes fear they will be disappointing their teammates, coaches, or parents by speaking up if they have concerns about their mental health, viewing it as a weakness. By demonstrating that mental health is something that is safe to talk about and can be addressed, like a physical injury, coaches can set an example for young athletes. 
  • Checking in can make a huge difference, even if there isn’t a present cause for concern.  It helps youth feel connected and cared for and makes it easier for them to ask for help if they need it. 
  • Encourage wellness and self-care for all of your players. 

Coaching Through Developmental Stages 

Given the amount of time you spend with your players, you will be well positioned to notice anyone who may be struggling and to take steps to support them. 

  • Know what to notice: Educate yourself about warning signs that will let you know that one of your players may be struggling 
  • “Just being there” is really important. If you’re concerned about one of your players, asking something as simple as “How are things going?” can be enough to open a conversation. If there’s an issue that needs further discussion, you should loop in the parents or guardians to help the young athlete get the help they need. 

If one of your player needs help immediately, visit here to get help now. You can also text TEAM to 741741 for 24/7, free, confidential support.  

Content provided in partnership with Messina Leadership Advising, The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds, and The Jed Foundation.