Tag: coaching

NFL Adds Psychologists

NFL Adds Psychologists

NFL adds Psychologists - Lessons from the Sidelines

Recently the NFL announced they are adding psychologists to each staff. As a Coach’s Wife this is exciting news. I believe this has the ability to influence football at every level. According to their recent statements they hope to reduce the stigma attached to seeking help for mental health and create continuity of care. Additionally, Dr. Carr made the point that clinicians who enter sport environments with very little understanding of team culture stigmatize the role of the psychologist so training in Sports Psychology was important for this role.

From the APA:

Even for teams that already employ an on-site behavioral health-care provider, the NFL/NFLPA initiative represents a meaningful change, says Chris Carr, PhD, team performance psychologist and behavioral health clinician for one NFL team.

“It takes mental health out of the shadows and elevates the clinician as an important part of each organization’s success,” says Carr, who works as part of an integrative support team that includes sports medicine physicians, athletic trainers, dietitians, player engagement staff, and strength and conditioning specialists. In addition to providing comprehensive mental health assessments, Carr also offers treatment and referrals to specialized providers—such as a marriage and family therapist—when needed. Through presentations, he teaches team members skills such as goal setting, managing pre-performance anxiety and refocusing in the face of distractions. Carr also provides support and education to coaches and other team personnel and conducts mandated educational sessions on the hallmarks of anxiety, depression and substance misuse, as well as how to seek help.

Why I Love This

First, the NFL taking care of their own is important. However, this addition has come together is great and I applaud the investment.

Healthy NFL players have the potential to influence society. Generation Z is the loneliest generation and they are the most plugged in as well. They are the most likely to see news first on YouTube, Twitter, and SnapChat because they interact there rather than with the person next to them.

Studies show that there is a direct link between screen time and mental health and the less time our teens spend plugged in the better. It’s going to take a village to break the addiction of social media. And it begins with influencers speaking out and telling the truth in spaces where Gen Z will hear things.

When they understand the connections for themselves they are then able to speak factually and intelligently on the subject.

Leadership Starts at the Top

We can point our student-athletes toward positive influencers, but they will choose who they follow regardless of our encouragement. The larger the pool of players with platforms focused around community service efforts, respecting women, healthy marriages and families, entrepreneurship, healthy living, and continuing education the better.

Each athlete who is well-spoken, shows how much they care for their family and community and asks for help when they need support with their mental health teaches everyone around them that success is not dependent on sensationalism.

The more NFL players and coaches that seek help for struggling marriages rather than giving up, the more examples we all have to look to when we feel like throwing in the towel.

Who’s Next?

While there are certainly other industries that provide access to mental health care, I believe there are opportunities for many more industries to consider adding professionals to their staff or at least ensuring affordable co-pays with health insurance options.

Burnout isn’t going away anytime soon, and we could all use access to stress-relieving outlets in my opinion!

5 Indications Your Man is Born to Coach

5 Indications Your Man is Born to Coach

5 indications your man is born to coach

I think that one of the most surprising things about coaching people learn is that it takes a lot more than a love for the sport to have a successful career as a coach. It’s obvious from assumptions that coaches only work one day a week or a few weeks a year that those who are unfamiliar with athletics don’t understand a coach’s job description. But former athletes are also often shocked to learn all that goes on behind the scenes to prepare for practice and games.

Most coaches spend 80% of their time doing things other than actually coaching. They are watching film, practice planning, in the weight room, tutoring, doing grade checks, dealing with behavior issues, fundraising, teaching, taking care of game day preparations such as meals or travel arrangements, or washing jerseys and repairing equipment.

Still, those that have long coaching careers are usually cut from a similar cloth. There are a few characteristics that stand out as indications your man is born to coach.

Here are 5 Indications Your Man is Born to Coach

They Love the Grind

This may not be a phrase you are familiar with, but if you’ve been around coaches long enough you will understand what I mean. Even though it’s the middle of July, 100 degrees and 100% humidity, when it’s time to coach your man is up and out the door.

More than that, they are out there in the rain, snow, and freezing weather too because they understand that practice is a necessity. Coaches who are in the mix with their players sweating it out on the field and in the weight room are coaches who love the grind and born to coach.

They are Humble

The best coaches are constantly learning and growing. They are reviewing film and talking to other coaches to see if there are better ways to coach on a technical level amongst many other things.

The Washington Post summarizes humility in leadership well: “True humility, scientists have learned, is when someone has an accurate assessment of both his strengths and weaknesses, and he sees all this in the context of the larger whole.”

If someone isn’t willing to consider they may have weaknesses how can they better themselves? If they can’t improve themselves, how can their teams improve? Humility is key.

More Reading: Check out this article 10 Traits of Humble Leaders

They Understand it’s More than a Game

Billy Graham is often quoted as saying “One coach will impact more young people in a year than the average person does in a lifetime.” The instinct is to consider the positive impact that a coach makes, but it’s important to remember this goes both ways.

Coaches who shame athletes, only value their on-field success and care little about the character of the team also impact people. But are those the people you want influencing the next generation?

A key indication that your man is born to coach is that they have vision for how to use athletics to develop character in the players they coach. They understand that there are opportunities to teach discipline, finishing what you start, committing even when things are hard, teamwork, healthy communication, and leadership principles in addition to X’s and O’s and they look for ways to make an impact in a positive way in their athlete’s lives.

They Value their Staff and Volunteers

Rarely does a coach work alone. Whether they are partnering with boosters, athletic trainers, administrators or other coaches, coaches who are born to coach love to be part of a team.

Athletes will note how a coach treats those he works with, as will co-workers. Of course, the golden rule is a great one to live by, but it goes further in coaching. When a coach values those around him he is investing in his future career potential as well.

They Can’t See Themselves Doing Anything Else

On paper, coaching is a ridiculous career choice. The hourly commitment breakdown for 99% of coaches is $1 or less earned per hour. The lack of gratitude, the physical exhaustion, the time away from family. And that doesn’t even take into account that coaches are fired with minimal notice.

“Anonymous” Monday morning quarterbacks online, waking up to For Sale signs helpfully placed in your front yard for you, and strangers informing your children that their father is horrible at his job are all reasons to avoid coaching at all cost and yet, thousands of men willingly subject themselves to this craziness for one reason. They were born to coach.

So, if you are reading this and realize you are married to a coach who’s likely in his career for the long haul congratulations! This doesn’t mean your man will never consider any other job, but it’s likely the energy and joy he has around his job right now won’t automatically replicate itself in another career, so as long as coaching is an option.

Athletes and Social Media

Athletes and Social Media

athletes and social media

Have you read any of the stories surrounding the NBA and social media? In many ways, it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that basketball players are finding themselves hooked to Instagram and Facebook. But then again, when someone is earning millions of dollars doing anything doesn’t it seem odd that they would suffer from FOMO due to social media shout outs?

I think it’s safe to say that we all understand how harmful some aspects of social media are these days. Whether it’s the studies on increased stress, the jury who conviced the girl who encouraged her “friend” to kill himself, or the school policies that now include online bullying, it’s not all great.

Setting all that aside, take a minute and scroll through Twitter. Go ahead, I’ll wait here.

Ok, so now that we all agree there is a lot of cruel stuff out there on social, it makes sense that even NBA stars making millions of dollars would find themselves battling the harsh psychological aspects of social media.

Here’s the thing, how much harder is it for our high school and college athletes to handle criticism on social media?

After a tough loss the last thing a child, a student under the age of 18, needs to see is a barrage of shaming commentary criticizing them for being imperfect.

It is hard enough to receive correction from a teammate or coach. But to also have strangers feel the freedom to add their two cents (usually incorrectly) is not only unnecessary, but often harmful.

At the college level athletes are adults in the eyes of the law (barely) but with the pressures of college I ask again, is it reasonable to expect that student-athletes should handle the criticisms on social media better than that of NBA players?

What Can We Do to Support Our Athletes on Social Media?

Obviously we can’t drown out all the negativity. But there are several things we can do to help reduce the impact.

  • Don’t be afraid to report an especially aggressive harasser. While each social platform is slightly different, when a minor is involved they are quick to suspend an account.
  • Highlight the positives. Cheer on good grades, community service, hard work, amazing teamwork, and of course wins.
  • Make sure to tell kids in person how proud you are of them as well. Looking someone in the eye and making sure it sinks in will go a long way.
  • Make sure there is a team social media policy for students and parents. Post reminders as needed through the season.
  • Since it’s unlikely you will be able to keep athletes off social, remind them that cowards say things on social media instead of straight to someone’s face.
  • Focus on people trying to use their public profile for positive change. There is a reason why Stephen Curry received a lot of attention for his interactions with Riley Morrison
  • Teach your children to be wise discerners of the content they consume. Instead of listening to a short snippet of content help them to understand the importance of taking the time to research the true CONTEXT of the content BEFORE they share anything.

Setting Social Boundaries

As parents, we have a little more leverage over our student-athletes. The wrong posts could cost a student scholarship money at some colleges. Taking the time to have a clear conversation about what is appropriate to post and what should stay off of social media is important.

It’s also a great idea to make sure all accounts are private and settings prevent strangers from commenting or tagging your child.

While it may be tempting to also comment on your child’s behalf, I promise you this will go no where. Unless it is to remind an adult that they are harrasing a child, it’s better to just stay silent.

Ultimately, social media isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. There are signs of Generation Z stepping away from the platforms, but for now, it’s important we recognize that if millionaire NBA stars are struggling with social media, it’s likely younger athletes are too.