What is emotional stress?
It is a feeling of emotional tension and it is produced when someone feels that their psychological well-being is threatened.
What causes emotional stress in sports?
Wrongly many parents and coaches consider winning the most important aspect in youth athlete life. The pressure to win can cause significant emotional stress for a child leading to a decrease in performance, enjoyment and involvement in football.
By adding additional stress to their lives we ignorantly increase the chances of them making rush decisions and getting injured thus turning our well-thought intentions into counter-productive results which negatively affect the young athlete.
The main goal should be daily improvement of their skills and focus on long term learning and development as well as enjoying the process.
How can you tell if your youth athlete is stressed?
There are few potential warning signs:
- Loss of appetite
- Poor sleep and loss of energy
- Regular headaches, upset stomach
- Consistent inability to perform at his or her best level
- Willingness to miss training sessions or quit sport
How to deal with and prevent emotional stress in youth athlete?
The most obvious and at the same time most practical solution is to talk and establish an environment for an open conversation with the child to ensure he or she feels safe to share the thoughts and feelings without being judged. Some other ways to deal with emotional stress:
- Ensure the athletes diet is balanced and healthy
- Pay more attention to sleeping conditions and quality of sleep
- Remember to have fun and take a break from training and competing
- Share your own experiences of dealing with anxiety and stress to acknowledge that it is normal to experience such emotions
- Keep the spirits up by remaining positive and leading by example