Getting College Athletes Mentally Prepared for the Season

Sande Charles

Sports in 2020 have been blindsided by the Covid-19 pandemic. All sports came to a screeching halt in Mid-March and three months later, a majority of sports and their athletes are still left wondering. They’re left wondering:

· When will their sport make sense to return?

· What adjustments will the sport need to make to be able to operate in a safe manner?

· Will fan attendance be a part of the equation?

· How do each athletes spend this time away from their teams and expected training and playing facilities?

· What resources do they have available to them to be able to maximize their down time with development and learning?

These and many more are very difficult questions to answer. Now, add in the element of being a collegiate student-athlete. Add these questions to the mix:

· How do I continue to progress with my academics from home?

· What’s my new online school schedule?

· How does that align with my virtual team meetings?

· How do I get my academic support that I was accustomed to on campus?

· How do I manage my time in this new environmental time construct?

In what is surely a chaotic time, collegiate athletic departments and coaching staffs must be aware of these real questions and concerns from their athletes.

We’ve seen Mental Skills and Peak Performance departments become somewhat standard in professional sports like baseball, football, golf amongst others. Departments that assist athletes with managing performance stress, handling adversity on and off the playing field, routines, time management, meditation, visualization, goal-setting, focus and many other very necessary elements to allow the athletes to be as present as possible so they can perform at their highest level.

But how prevalent are these departments in athletic departments on campuses across the country? When these resources are of tremendous value during a standard student-athlete calendar year, imagine just how much more critical they are now at a time of chaos and uncertainty?

Many colleges have Sports Psychology staffs of a few people that operate more on a need or athlete-initiated basis. But at a time when several hundred of your student athletes have had their world flipped upside down, how do universities address the concerns and assist in the creation of new processes? The universities that had added this support structure for their student athletes will be obvious when sports return. They’ll be the ones whose student athletes managed the chaos, made the adjustments and found the opportunities for growth and development.

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