Posted on: March 21st, 2024

Beyond the Madness of March: Mental Wellness Tips for Athletes

By: Dr. Ashley michalski

It’s bracket time! March Madness is here and the excitement of collegiate basketball fans builds. Fans are geared up eager to watch their favorite teams – not knowing the outcome but holding onto hope that this will be the year. Whether your team is ranked 16 or the number 1 seed – anything can happen during March Madness and that’s the best part – underdogs winning. Among the excitement of basketball games and last-minute shots, it’s important to pause and think about the wellbeing of the athletes who bring much excitement to the tournament. Beyond every slam dunk and three-point shot lies a layered human story that goes beyond the basketball court.

By prioritizing mental wellness alongside physical training, athletes can enhance their performance and lead healthier, more fulfilling lives both on and off the court. So as we cheer for our teams, remember these athletes are more than just their shooting average. Caring for our athletes involves more than their wins or losses, and more than just their physical health; it’s also about looking after their mental wellness. Athletes experience pressure to perform well, often juggling demanding training routines with commitments. Some common struggles/pressures include:

  • Performance Expectations
  • Injuries and Health Concerns
  • Balancing Training and Rest
  • Time Management
  • Financial Pressures
  • Media and Public Scrutiny
  • Competition and Rivalry
  • Mental Health Challenges
  • Maintaining Relationships
  • Transitioning Out of a Sport

Ignoring their wellbeing can have repercussions impacting both their game performance and overall happiness. Here are some tips to help athletes enhance their health:

  1. Making Self Care a Priority – Engaging in activities that recharge their batteries like spending time with loved ones, pursuing hobbies, or taking breaks from training can greatly benefit their wellness.
  2. Embracing Mindfulness – Introducing mindfulness practices such as breathing exercises or meditation, into life can help manage stress levels and improve concentration.
  3. Setting Achievable Goals – Breaking down academic goals into realistic steps and celebrating progress along the way can boost confidence and lessen feelings of being overwhelmed.
  4. Seeking Support – Encouraging athletes to seek support, from coaches, teammates or mental health professionals shows that they don’t have to tackle problems on their own.

It’s important to remind athletes that they are not defined solely by their abilities. While being an athlete is a part of one’s identity – it’s important to remember there is more to the human experience than winning or losing on the court.
If you or someone you know needs support to improve their mental wellness, contact us today!