Mental Health and Mental Performance
When it comes to Mental Health and Mental Performance, we need both. The easiest way I try
to explain it is Mental Health is like the training room for the mind and Mental Performance is
like the weight room for the mind.
The training room is where sports medicine happens and the weight room is where strength and conditioning happens. Our athletes need both the training room and weight room to develop physically. They also need the mental training room and mental weight room to develop mentally.
We expect our student athletes to utilized both the training room and weight room to maximize their potential. But they don’t just walk into those rooms and results magically happen. There are experts and professionals attending and providing the care and guidance towards development. We would not expect our athletes to be able to know how to do for themselves what Certified Athletic trainers (ATC’s) and Athletic Performance/ Strength and Conditioning Coaches went to school for years to learn. That sounds ridiculous, right?
We should have professionals around the areas where our student athletes need guidance. What about Mental Health and Mental Performance? Just like ATC’s and S&C coaches hired to attend to and athlete’s physical health, we need to hire Mental Health and Mental Performance professionals to attend those areas our student athletes’ needs. There are many options to expand these services. Expecting 1 or 2 people to provide this service to and entire athletic department sounds as absurd as hiring 1 or 2 head coaches to coach 20 different teams in the same athletic department.
As leaders in sport we have to look at our communities, campuses, and hospital systems to assist us with our Mental Health and Mental Performance needs. There are many options to explore especially as more virtual options are becoming more prevalent. It is going to take all of us working together to make the progress needed to get out in front of the mental health crisis. Keep the conversation going!