Mental health issues were already prevalent among the youth. However, after covid, they spiked alarmingly high. Indeed, the children are not to blame. The kids had no choice but to remain home and avoid extracurricular activities, sports, and school. This resulted in increased usage of electronic media such as mobile phones, the internet, and television. All of these things are ok, but too much is detrimental to a child’s mind and health and physically damaging to their brain.
Furthermore, they were exposed to too much stress, pressure, and negativity from many different directions, like social media, the news, parents, and friends. Their lifestyle had changed dramatically, compelling them to wear masks and use alcohol after touching anything, or they would get Covid. From all the fearmongering, they were conditioned and trained to run away, shun, and avoid contact with every cough and sniffle.
Now that everyone is returning to everyday life, it is the chance to get life back on track. Sports are the most incredible thing for the youth. It’s fun, social, and exercise. All three things are perfect for combating and attacking mental health issues. And coaches need to use this to their advantage and apply sports as their tool to improve life.
There is so much concrete, solid research, and evidence that sports and physical activity profoundly and positively impact mental well-being. It is an instant game changer for the best-improving mood, decreasing depression, and reducing anxiety.
Coach, you are in the best and most unique position to change the child’s behavior. Even without being aware of a mental issue, you can unknowingly reverse it.
Here are some ways to restore balance to produce positive good mental health.
Don’t be reactive.
The purpose is not to shut down the bad behavior. That only makes it more tempting for the child to do it, and you will create a rebellious attitude, not a mature one. If the child thinks you will be lecturing them rather than communicating, they will lie and leave you in the dark. As a coach, this is important because, being the outsider from the parents, you can be more objective, which works for the child.
However, being reactive will put you in the bleachers watching alongside mom and dad. Because you will be associated with the contributing stress and emotional intensity they are already experiencing. Be objective. Coach. Don’t parent, and you will be successful.
Build, don’t kill confidence.
Many issues can cause low self-esteem at home with parents, school, and friends. A lack of confidence produces insecurity. So shouting, impatience, or berating is not the way and will not work to uplift self-esteem.
Instead, practice positive self-talk. It does not mean everything is awesome. It is the ability to take something negative or a mistake and correct it in a positive, confident way. Negativity is not the way to build or correct bad behavior. Instead, it reinforces it, just like throwing more wood on the fire; it can spread out of control.
In addition, you can also practice and play with them. It creates more trust and excitement when the coach includes himself in the practice. And if you show them a few cool moves, you will grab their curiosity. And curiosity can be a catalyst for building self-esteem.
Empower, don’t devour their skills.
First, you must create a positive environment where they will listen and learn. Give them individual time to play by themselves. Let them scrimmage so they can experiment with their skills. Sometimes you need to watch and not critique. Critique later. When you critique, you can be optimistic about the instruction, and they won’t know you are correcting them. It is always best to show the child how it can be done better, not what they did was wrong.
Empowerment shows that a person must make mistakes before they excel to greatness.
Furthermore, always have a few professional athlete stories available to tell them. For example, Michael Jordan was told he was too small to play in the NBA. And Tom Brady was basically in the last category chosen in the NFL draft. So, these stories about sports legends are necessary to explain because children start out in the same way.
Words make a difference.
Try not to use phrases like, you did it wrong, or you are not doing it right. There are too negatively personal. When you make it direct and personal, you send the message of failure. The child will think, I am not going to get better. It is not proactive to develop and improve. So, don’t flaw the character.
Instead, try to be proactive to continue to develop. Also, it will lead to the will and wanting to improve. For example, that was a great shot, even if it was not. And then show a skilled technique at practice and simultaneously correct their shooting skill.
If you use the right words, you can encourage thoughts that lean toward improvement rather than quitting. As a result, children will stay optimistic, proactive, curious, and interested.
Don’t be competitive. Have fun.
To be competitive and want to win, you must have mental and emotional maturity first. And that is done by having fun. Kids learn so much from playing when they are having fun, not trying to win. Fun is the key to diminishing mental issues because it dramatically and instantly changes them. They feel positive and excited from the endorphin release. And that is the key to reversing how they feel.
Following these few tips will have an overall profound impact on a child’s mental health. They, you, and the parents will see significant differences at home, in school, and, most importantly of all, their smiles again.