High school athlete stress can indeed be a good thing. It’s all about perspective.
It’s gameday about 10am on a cloudy day and you’re seated under florescent lights in geography class. Your teacher, as moody as she can be, gives you a homework assignment and it’s due tomorrow.
You grumble underneath your breath as you recall promising your girlfriend to a post-game dinner date that you will likely have to postpone since you know you will not only be simply exhausted, but under the gun to fulfill your academic duties before 10am the following day.
Are you feeling the pressure yet?
Being a student athlete is tough and can be very stressful.
Don’t believe me? Here are the stats:
- About 10-15% of student athletes are at risk of developing mental health issues due to the increased stress and anxiety of participating in a sport.
- About 55% of high school students are athletes, and between 23% and 40% of all high school students report feelings of stress, depression or anxiety.
- Participation in 3 or more team sports and/or investing 7 or more hours per week to sport did not have the same benefits as moderate exercise. Some increased scores for depression and anxiety.
And if getting to College or University at the next level is your goal, nearly 95% of collegiate athlete males and 86% of females admit they feel overwhelmed.
Learning to deal with stress is a necessity.
Whether it’s during crunch time of a pivotal game, persevering through team drama, or writing out that algebra answer to a math exam, you should get used to performing under pressure. Love it or not, learning to deal with stress is a life-long objective, even as the stakes get higher.
But when does stress become too much?
When it hits a boiling point, here are some key indicators you are in murky waters when it comes to managing stress:
- Eating Disorders – You don’t care to eat
- Mood Swings – You have an intolerable attitude
- Isolation – You don’t care to be around anyone
- Poor Performance – Minimal effort or unable to perform
- Poor Academic Performance – You can’t get a break
- Poor Sleep – Changing sleeping patterns due to exhaustion
I remember when I was playing rep league football after winning 2 consecutive championships in the previous years. I was now supposed to be the only leader left on a now young team and after kicking off the season with a spring mini-camp, during an already stressful school year, I was exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally. As the premiere wide receiver for the offense, I couldn’t catch a pass during drills or scrimmage nor picked up on any of my blocking assignments.
I just mentally checked out due to the stress of it all.
So be sure to check yourself against the above list to ensure you are at your best.
So what do you do if you are feeling down and out?
Talk to someone
Whether it be a coach, mentor, parent, counselor, pastor, or role model, help is willing and readily available. My coach, after realizing that yelling at me didn’t do any good, became an outlet to vent and a sounding board for many of the frustrations that I had succumbed to at the time. His insight was invaluable and provided a different outlook, which helped get me back on track.
Review your priorities and re-prioritize
What worked last year may not work this year. So taking inventory on what is working vs. what is not, and making simple adjustments with a new priority set of objectives can help provide the desired outcome. Note – that this must be done with a counselor, parent, pastor or coach to help set the right priorities and objectives.
Try something else
Not to be confused with giving up, sometimes trying something else (i.e. joining the school council, learning a new skill, etc) will allow you to rub shoulders with others who will allow you to learn other methods of managing stress.
Focus and Turn Up
Once you have a different perspective – either from speaking to an adult or understanding how a peer handles stress in a positive way – hone in and focus on solving each challenge, task or priority one item at a time. This will help you to more accurately aim your resources towards the situation with more intention, vigor and resolve.
High School Athlete Stress Can Be A Good Thing
So whether in academics, athletics or social life, dealing with stress head on can yield great results and strengthen your ability to conquer stress effectively. However, if your stress levels are causing detrimental effects on your body, mind or others, seek the help you need to overcome in order to be above your class both on and off the field of play.
Next time, we will look at Why High School Sports Is 90% Mental and How To Use It To Dominate the Competition.
So to start, if you have not done so already, be sure to create your profile on Classlete.com for more access and begin your journey to balancing school, sports, and your social life today.
Tell us, how else do you handle stress and balance it all? What area causes you the most pressure as a high school student athlete (academics, athletics or social life)?
Because after all, we all have stress.
Join us on this journey as we are committed to supporting and helping the next generation of student athletes become the top of their class both on and off the field.
-The Classlete Team