Adolescents and adults often have sports interests that are important parts of their lives.
When barriers to success arise, Rago & Associates therapists serve as “life-coaches.” We help them analyze the mind-set, thoughts and emotions surrounding their performance and use problem-solving skills to make necessary changes.
Athletes can have a lot of fun and find fulfillment through participation and excelling in sports. But sports can be very difficult at times. Excelling in sports and being known for them might lead to identity issues in the long run. Being known for one thing, when there are so many more aspects to you can lead one to feel empty or like they are valuable only for how well they do in their sport. And people might literally boo at you or cheer for you, leading to a lot of pressure and having your self-esteem be based on accomplishments instead of being loved for who you are. Most athletes, especially younger ones, may deal with high anxiety and need help to cope with the high pressures of their sport. Having someone skilled to coach them through the anxiety is very important if they feel stuck at times. Even deciding about stopping or continuing a sport is a decision that can cause a lot of anxiety and they may have a lot riding on it! Also, some sports may be very isolating, such as ice skating and gymnastics, where competitive athletes may miss out on some social events due to such intense personal training. Athletes also have very busy schedules, packing in all of their school and practices, and may need to get support for how to get everything done and how to do it well.
Many parents reach out to us to let us know that they are raising an athlete and they are very proud of them, but they want their child to know how to manage their anxiety and their time, to make and set priorities, and to help manage relationships with peers, family and coaches while having a crazy sport schedule.
The very nature of sports is perfectionistic. So either perfectionists are drawn into them or you can become a perfectionist by being an athlete. And if there is one way to be unhappy, it is perfectionism. So it is really important for athletes to be on top of why they are doing sports and to make sure they don't lose themselves in their activity. Having counseling can help you keep your voice and identity strong while managing a lot of high demands. Learning to have excellence without perfectionism is a very important life lesson.
Whether the athlete needs to decrease anxiety, adapt to changes in their physical or emotional growth and development, cope better with the demands of competition or take better physical care through nutrition, sleep and/or stress management, we cater to these needs using sports psychology.