Fitness of the Mind: Mental Health On & Off The Field of Play

  • May 13, 2020

Enhance your understanding of common adolescent struggles, and the signs and symptoms of issues as they arise, both on and off the field. This workshop will help you recognize early warning signs of difficulties such as anxiety, depression, attention and learning issues, social difficulties and the therapeutic interventions that can help in managing these difficulties your athletes may be facing.

See what Coach-2-Coach is all about!

Coach Responses

What support methods have you used to help athletes struggling with mental health?

Share your tips and best practices!

Allan Singh – Soccer – Mississauga – 5 Years

“As part of our team’s official Player Development Strategy, we have worked with mental skills coaches to develop a customized Mental Strength Training Program for our team. This Program is tailored to the specific needs of our age group (Girls U13) and will be enhanced as the girls age. Examples and activities (to practice the skills being taught) are always related to real-life scenarios – both on and off the field. This did take quite a bit of work to do. But, we have have already developed the Program and all activities available on-line for the girls to review and reference at any time…..on demand, when they need it, wherever they need it.”

Connie Groom – Gymnastics – Ottawa – 40+ Years

“Be attentive, acknowledge, don’t try to solve the problem , just listen, then I ask “how can I help?”

Stephanie Sutton – Softball – Hamilton – 25 Years

“We host a Mental Health Awareness Game – this lets the athletes dedicate their game to someone who has suffered from mental health issues.”

Siu On Wong – Volleyball – Richmond Hill – 10 Years

“Have an open honest discussion with athletes and parents. The only way I can help as a coach is when the families are open and honest with the coaching staff.”

Babila Mohanarajan – Hockey – Toronto – 1 Year

“Talking to other health professionals who can deal with athletes struggling with mental health after they disclosed what they are dealing with to myself as they trusted me.”

Angele Caporicci – Biathlon – Timmons – 15+ Years

“I often do the mental check-in with athletes, stick to a routine, structure in training and practices, debriefs.”

Mike Stinson – Hockey – Chatham – 5 Years

“I think that presence and connection with your athletes is most important. Being there for them constantly, and keeping an open door and open dialogue helps to keep athletes on task.”

Martin Cavanagh – Curling – Hawkesbury – 20+ Years

“Positive bidirectional coaching presence & programing, I try to maintain a safe and nurturing environment and I refer to professionals.”

Tim Louks – Football – Waterdown – 40 Years

“Mental Health supports on campus (University), Psychiatrist by referral from Doctor, performance psychologist, etc.”

Jason Rice – Curling – Guelph – 15 Years

“Sport programs that I’ve been involved with have brought in sport psychology / mental training professionals to work with coaches, athletes and even parents of athletes.”

Lindsay Jackson – Ringette – Oshawa – 5 Years

“Using one on one interaction with players who display symptoms of anxiety, or of ADHD – giving personalized coaching for players who are displaying symptoms to help their confidence on and off the ice.”

Rick Collins – Curling – Nepean – 25 Years

“I personally have been treated for severe depression. I have been open with many people, helping them understand what is happening. I talk to the team, then have had athletes (or their parents) come talk to me quietly.”

Paul Youldon – Ringette – Nepean – 25 Years

“Refer to professionals; team meetings and open dialogue about social media bullying and sharing. Listening and being supportive.”

Gabriela Palomeque – Figure Skating – Greely – 2 Years

“Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, helping athletes to label their emotions and describing what is happening to them so they can find a solution to a problem.”

Andras Switzer – Swimming – Kingston – 5 Years

“I’m open about my own mental health struggles and share my experiences and what I’ve learned from them when they are appropriate for situations. I also tell all my athletes that I am available to talk if they need someone to talk to, and use active listening techniques to help them feel heard and supported.”

Joni McPhail – Figure Skting – Oakville – 33 Years

“As a resource person my team of coaches come to me for support or direction. I have built a team of resource people and sport psychologists that we use as preferred practitioners that we can reach out to for support. We have worked on a model of Best Practices and resources in several different areas.”

Mary Jo Fletcher – Athletics – Windsor – 5 Years

“Recognizing the emotional state and then discussing it directly with the athlete – validates their emotional state and gives them an outlet. Also, encouraging journaling about their experiences for two reasons: to keep track of workouts and then to keep track of emotional states. This allows them to take an objective assessment if a pattern develops.”

Kristina Anagnosti – Artistic Swimming – Burlington – 9 Years

“Offering them a safe space to be able to talk about issues with you. Relaying some of your experiences with mental health when you were an athlete.”

Holly Jones – Cross-Country Skiing – NWT – 11 Years

“Having regular “non-sport” practices, such as goal-setting or mindfulness workshops with the group have helped some athletes connect with and learn about their own mental health. Plus, they’re awesome team-building opportunities!”

Pam Lumb Collett – Gymnastics – Toronto – 40+ Years

“Initial Parent Meeting, being proactive and discussing if your child has issues (physical – local physio), (mental – come to us and we can refer sport experts from our federation) etc. make a list of resources and encourage parents to address issues and open dialogue with coaches to resolve and collaborate.”

See the new issue