Athletes are judged by their physical performance in their sport. How fast they can run, how quickly they can react, and how strong their muscles can be are all factors that can be measured. But the mental health of an athlete is a different story. How does mental health affect athletic performance is difficult. This is because psychological factors cannot be measured exactly, but they can have a negative effect on the performance of an athlete.
Identifying issues affecting the mental health of an athlete is vital to determining the type of treatment needed to overcome such problems. Keep in mind that such issues may be small, large, or unrelated to the sport in which an athlete participates. Another factor is the individual who may ignore or be overly affected by relatively small issues concerning their mental state.
Effects of Mental Health
The negative effects that may be seen from an athlete with mental health issues may range from small, such as an increase in perspiration, a tightening of the muscles, or a lack of focus at a crucial moment. Then again, such issues may be substantial, such as the inability to concentrate, perform at the expected physical level, or even breaking down or quitting during the event.
While such major issues are rare, it only takes a small problem affecting the mental health of an athlete to make a big difference in their performance. This means that once an issue with the mental health of an athlete is identified, it needs to be addressed.
How to Combat Mental Health Issues in Athletes?
The first step is to identify the cause. It might be small, it might be large, and it might something that cannot be solved right away. But once the identification of the issue is known, then steps can be taken to mitigate its effects. Beyond simply addressing the issue itself, coaches and athletes can do the following.
- Set Goals
- Establish Positive Routines
- Visualize Winning or Succeeding
- Bolster Confidence through Repetition
Goal setting may be the most important aspect in addressing a mental health concern. By setting smaller, more realistic goals that can be met quickly, larger goals get more in reach. The overall effect is that it boosts the confidence of the athlete because they can see themselves overcoming what is keeping them back.
Other treatments such as mixing up exercise routines, injecting fun into practice, and taking the pressure down during preparation helps the athlete to relax and focus when it is time to compete. Combined with establishing positive routines and visualizing success, these things can help overcome obstacles and establish better mental health for the athlete.
Understanding how does mental health affect athletic performance starts with an athlete’s performance can be altered. Such factors may cause breakdowns, loss of focus, improper preparation, and even in some cases injuries. These disruptions may be small or large. But in all cases, they may cause a negative effect that would not be present if the mental health state was a healthy one.