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   How you feel off the field effects how you perform on it.      Your emotions matter. There is a strong relationship between...

   How you feel off the field effects how you perform on it.  

   Your emotions matter. There is a strong relationship between how you feel and how you perform in your sport.

   If you arrive to your sport feeling confident, joyful, focused, and secure, you are putting your body is a position to perform at a high level. On the other hand, if you feel unworthy, insecure, stressed, or afraid, your body will not respond as well as it can.

   Just like all successful athletes need to care for their physical health, their diet and their academics – athletes must be diligent to protect and care for their mental health.

   Here are some tips to protect your emotions:

   SET BOUNDARIES with people who bring you down, bring unwanted drama into your life, or make you feel stressed. This might mean unfollowing someone on Twitter, eating at a new lunch table or breaking up with someone — do what you need to do to protect yourself.

   SLEEP.  Lots. Get lots of sleep.

   FIND AN ADULT MENTOR whom you feel safe talking with, venting, and sharing your life. If you don’t have a parent that you feel safe with or who can fill this role, find a coach, a relative, a friend’s parent or a neighbor. Use this line, “I’m going through some stuff and I was wondering if we can hang out sometime to talk about life together.”

   DON’T BE AFRAID TO SAY NO TO INVITATIONS. Sports can be stressful. During your main sports season, you may not have the time or emotional energy to have many other things in your life. Don’t be afraid to say “no thanks” to people who want you to get involved in a new project, hang out, or date.

   TRY TO LIVE IN PEACE IN YOUR HOME. For some student-athletes, the sports field is a place of chaos and pressure, and the home is a place of relaxation and joy. Yet for many, many other teenagers, this is switched. The sports field is a place of safety and joy and the home is a place of displeasure and pressure. If that is you, then consider how you can help to bring peace to your home. 

   Maybe use this line with the adults/parents whom you live with, “I know we all love each other here, but I have to tell you that our home environment is really stressing me out. I would like to see changes in how we interact. Can we all sit down sometime and discuss how we can make this a more peaceful home to live in?” 

   ASK FOR HELP. Did you know that at four-year colleges all students can go see an on-campus counselor every week for free? It’s true. College kids are lining up for this opportunity. Furthermore, NCAA athletes are often provided with free tutors and extra study halls. Don’t be afraid to ask the adults in your life for support with your mental health and academic health — people care, and they want to help!

   The teenage years can be very hard. You are not alone. You have people who love you.  You will get through this! Now go out there and have fun.

   Sean Donohue is a Family Coach in the Bay Area who specializes in helping hurting teenagers become mature, focused, independent, young adults, and he shows parents how to restore love, order and communication to their family. Read about his work at











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