Forum Posts

coachmason
Nov 26, 2022
In Speed and Agility for Children
Training just sport-specifics is dangerous for ANY athlete. It might seem counterintuitive… But training for general athleticism is better than doing sport-specifics any day. Why? Because every athlete experiences some kind of pattern overload… > Baseball athletes throwing and pitching with one side of the body… > Fighters constantly punching and protracting the shoulders… > Soccer players and football players performing quad-dominant movements… All of this creates pattern overload. And when you go into the gym and perform MORE of these sport-specific patterns… You’re asking for injury. That said, my sport-specific programs follow a different approach. Because they build your general athleticism first… Explosiveness, vertical, agility, speed, and strength…. Then sprinkle in sport-specific movements… For the perfect dosage. That makes you a better athlete AND protects you from injury.
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coachmason
Nov 14, 2022
In Speed and Agility for Children
At this age, your child is still growing. However, this is an excellent time to begin the phase of athletic development more thoroughly. When your child was younger, it was good for them to learn how to have fun. In addition, like untamed horses, your child was running around developing their cardiovascular system. The emphasis was on functional training exercises, stability, unilateral work, and good technique and skills. It was a perfect time to introduce good training habits for the next stage of development. Of course, you want to continue to work with those mentioned above, especially having fun. However, now you can modify and integrate some other aspects of training. These aspects will set the foundation and prevent injury as your athlete advances over the years. You can challenge and progressively increase the volume and intensity of training, not crush your child. Remember, every child is different. If you crush your kid, it is not suitable for their physical and mental growth.
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coachmason
Nov 14, 2022
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coachmason
Nov 14, 2022
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coachmason
Nov 14, 2022
In Mental Edge
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coachmason
Nov 14, 2022
In Mental Edge
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coachmason
Nov 14, 2022
In Speed and Agility for Children
I get this question all the time. And the answer is kind of strange… Because technically, no. But when you build strength the right way, you lay the groundwork for speed, vertical, agility, and overall explosiveness. Most guys only build static strength. And building static strength is the same thing as practicing on the hoop in your driveway. Or practicing routes without a quarterback… Or shooting on a goal, without a goalie. That’s probably not going to translate to your game. Same with static strength - it doesn’t translate to your game. I quickly learned that when I noticed that all the weight room warriors on my football team were the same guys riding the pine. But… Absolute force production is KEY for any athlete. It’s the foundation of an athlete’s power. Explosiveness. And all that athletic stuff. So it’s important to develop athletic strength. Athletic Strength is strength that seamlessly translates to power, explosiveness, and athleticism. Derrick Henry has ATHLETIC strength - squatting 500+ with ease. DK Metcalf has ATHLETIC strength, too - putting up 27 reps on the max bench test. The list goes on and on.
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coachmason
Apr 18, 2022
In Speed and Agility for Children
Agility training is a great way to get the kids to not only be active but also develop their bodies athletically. Agility training exercises can help incorporate healthy habits into the young athletes, and teach them proper body positioning, coordination, and hand-eye. The best age to start is 2 years old sometimes 1 year of age. Elite Agility will build a program for your child to maximize your child's development.
Is agility training good for kids? content media
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coachmason
Apr 18, 2022
In Mental Edge
Mental Health & Athletes Approximately 46.6 million people are living with mental illness in the US. That’s 1 in 5 adults who will be living with a mental health condition at some point in their lives. Many manage symptoms with therapy, medication, eating a healthy diet or exercise. Research has shown that the benefits of exercise can boost moods and improve overall mental health. By moving our bodies we can increase our endorphins and enkephalins, two of the bodies naturally producing hormones that make us feel better. It also allows us time to concentrate on ourselves instead of our busy lives, a much-needed break many of us. However, playing sports does not make athletes immune to mental health challenges. With pressures to perform in the game, as well as in the rest of their public lives, being an athlete can be incredibly challenging for a person’s mental health. Student-athletes have additional pressures to maintain their classwork and grades on top of practice and games. When athletes get hurt, they receive time to heal, but what about when those injuries are invisible? With young adults, especially college athletes, the statistics are startling: 33% of all college students experience significant symptoms of depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions. Among that group, 30% seek help. But of college athletes with mental health conditions, only 10% do. Among professional athletes, data shows that up to 35% of elite athletes suffer from a mental health crisis which may manifest as stress, eating disorders, burnout, or depression and anxiety. We’re inspired by athletes such as Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, USC Volleyball player Victoria Garrick, NBA player Kevin Love and those who are telling their stories and inspiring others to seek help to support the cause. While it may seem scary, there are small steps you can take to help your mental health. Talk to your family, teammates, coaches or support staff; someone who you feel comfortable sharing what’s happening with you. Make an appointment with a therapist or trusted medical professional to help you identify sources of stress and manage your symptoms. Create a Self-Care Plan for yourself to make sure you’re setting aside time from training, academics and pressures of daily life to do something for yourself each day, such as meditate, practice yoga, take a walk, listen to music or walk your pet. Here’s a self-care plan worksheet from SocialWorkTech.com to help get you started: In English In Spanish Check Out Resources Here are a few resources if someone you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health crisis. National Alliance on Mental Illness’ list of national resources National Institute of Mental Health’s list of national resources NCAA resources on mental health Share Your Story Sharing your personal mental health story can make a difference. Breaking down the stigma can help others find the strength to get health. Dr. Emmett Gill, Clinical Assistant Professor at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at The University of Texas says, “Athletes are becoming true champions for mental health. Athletes are not just talking the talk, but they are sharing their walk, through their own mental health challenges, and in doing so these courageous men and women are not just changing sports, but forever changing society.” Victoria Garrick of USC shares her personal story in this TEDxUSC talk called Athletes and Mental Health: The Hidden Opponent Call to Action! What can you do to help? Here are a few options to consider about ways to take action around mental health. Talk to a friend. Listen or share your story around mental health challenges and connect with a friend or family member. Sometimes that one on one interaction may be just what you both need to connect and feel better. Share on social media/share resources. Consider sharing messages of support or retweeting mental health resources for others to see. Use #mentalhealthawarenessmonth or #endthestigma to join the online conversation. Share your story. If you are in a safe place and feel ok about sharing your own personal story, it can be a powerful tool not only for yourself but for others who may be struggling. Donate/connect to a cause. Want to do more beyond social media? Consider connecting to a mental health charity or make a donation to support their mission. Talking about and dealing with mental health can be tough. However, athletes are natural leaders and courageous self-starters and can be the key we need to tackle the challenges and stigma around mental health! If we work together to bring mental health into our regular conversation, we can open the door to create real change in the way we think and talk about mental health.
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coachmason
Apr 18, 2022
In Mental Edge
Cardiovascular effect of doping substances and drugs. The figure summarizes the main cardiovascular consequences of the different substance’s categories. BP, blood pressure; CAD, coronary artery disease; CMP, cardiomyopathy; LVH, left ventricular hypertrophy; SARM, selective androgen receptor modulators. Credit: DOI: 10.1093/eurjpc/zwab198 Nutritional supplements taken to boost athletic performance can pose risks to the heart, according to a European Society of Cardiology (ESC) statement published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the ESC. "Nutritional supplements are commonly viewed as risk-free substances that may improve performance," states the paper. "Some nutritional supplements, including various plant and 'natural' extracts, may pose a serious health risk and athletes may even risk contravening anti-doping rules." "Athletes who use supplements often have no knowledge regarding their effects on sports performance and overall health," continues the document. "It is reported that most athletes get nutritional advice from coaches, fellow athletes, family members and friends, suggesting that more wide reaching educational interventions, at an early age, are necessary." Key points for athletes using nutritional supplements: A natural supplement is not necessarily a safe supplement. Use products by established manufacturers with known good quality standards. Athletes are personally responsible for any substances they consume. Ignorance is not accepted as an excuse in relation to a positive doping test. The position paper outlines the cardiovascular effects during sports of doping substances, prescribed and over-the-counter medicines, legal performance-enhancing supplements, and experimental drugs. Doping refers to the use of a substance or method which is potentially dangerous to athletes' health or capable of enhancing their performance. To take one example, death among athletes doping with anabolic androgenic steroids is estimated to be six to 20 times higher than in clean athletes, and around 30% of these deaths can be attributed to cardiovascular causes. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) maintains a list of prohibited drugs, but nutritional substances are not included since many are unregulated and unlicensed. The use of legal supplements by athletes varies between 40% and 100% depending on the sport and level of competition. Intended to enhance performance and give a competitive edge, legal supplements include caffeine, creatine, energy drinks/gels/bars, beetroot juice and proteins. "Caffeine is a prime example of a natural substance that is considered safe," said first author Dr. Paolo Emilio Adami of World Athletics, the global governing body for track and field. "While caffeine improves performance, particularly aerobic capacity in endurance athletes, its abuse may lead to fast heart rate (tachycardia), heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias), high blood pressure, and in some cases, sudden cardiac death." "The 'more is better' philosophy, when applied to caffeine use in sports, may result in side effects that outweigh the performance benefits," states the paper. Many elite athletes consume a combination of supplements daily and the document states, "Unfortunately, it is common practice for athletes to ignore dosing recommendations and use multiple drugs simultaneously." Sportspeople should be aware that supplement use exposes them to the risk of ingesting prohibited substances since they are regulated as food ingredients and not subject to the rigorous safety standards of pharmaceutical products. The document warns that athletes' desire and consent to use experimental drugs that have not been proven safe in humans is potentially even riskier than using steroids or other prohibited drugs. The ongoing use of selective androgen receptor modulators or peptides "carry a substantial risk for long-term detrimental health consequences, which are usually understated by their promoters," states the paper. It also highlights that gene doping to improve strength, reduce pain and repair tissues is "expected to occur behind the scenes with limited protective actions and consequently increased health risks," and "constitutes a great threat of major concern about the future of human performance manipulation." Dr. Adami said: "In many cases sportspeople use a mix or cocktail of substances to improve their performance and the interaction between them can also be extremely dangerous. All doping substances are risky and their use as medications should only be allowed when prescribed by a physician to treat a medical condition, when no therapeutic alternatives are available, and following the Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) requirements. Based on the dose, the duration of use, and the interaction with other substances, the health consequences can vary and in some cases be lethal. From a cardiovascular perspective they can cause sudden cardiac death and arrhythmias, atherosclerosis and heart attack, high blood pressure, heart failure, and blood clots." He continued: "Athletes should be aware that natural supplements and substances are not necessarily safe and should only be used if recommended by professional nutritionists. It is fundamental to use products from well-established manufacturers with known and internationally approved good quality standards. Athletes are always personally responsible for any substances they consume. Ignorance is not accepted as an excuse in relation to a positive doping test. In those with established cardiovascular disease, a sports physician or sports cardiologist should always be consulted prior to using any performance aid or supplement."
Athletes warned against potential dangers of natural supplements content media
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coachmason
Mar 15, 2022
In Speed and Agility for Children
WEIGHTED VEST WORKOUTS – PROS & CONS Weighted vest workouts can be a valuable tool in holistic wellness programs and in natural bodybuilding training programs. Health and wellness coaching certified trainers encourage the use of weighted vest workouts for the extra challenge it brings to everyday workouts. There are some pros and cons to using a weighting workout vest. A certified fitness consultant can help you determine if a weighted vest is beneficial in meeting your personal fitness goals. Free personal fitness plans are also available online for individuals who enjoy doing online training. One of the biggest benefits of using a weighted workout vest is that it supports weight loss training plans. The extra resistance and challenge also help to burn extra calories and supports the growth of lean muscle mass. It’s a balanced way to add resistance without having to lift heavy fitness equipment. The weighted vest is worn on the body and the resistance is evenly distributed across the upper body. The weighted vest could be made heavier by adding extra weights inside the pockets. The weights normally come in 1-lb pouches that tuck easily and securely into the pockets of the vest. These weights could also be taken out if you need to build up endurance and strength first. Weighted vest workouts also help build endurance and strength for runners, triathletes, and other competitive athletes. The extra weight that is worn in the vest while running mimics the additional effort one would use when running uphill. The extra stamina that is earned when training with weighted workout vests helps you compete and train with more power that will certainly be noticed by your competition. One of the cons of using a weighted workout vest is you need to be mindful of your form and use good posture when training so that you don’t increase your risk of sports injury. Running and training with bad form can create a variety of challenges such as chronic aches and pains and increases the probability of getting a serious injury that could negatively impact your training. Having bad form with a weighted workout vest puts extra strain on at-risk areas that are already a concern for injury. Injury could also happen if you try to do too much too fast. For example, if you have never used a weighted vest before and you decide to put on a 10-lb weighted vest and run ten miles, your gait could change as your muscles fatigue earlier creating muscular imbalances and strain. It’s best to go easy and see how your body responds to wearing a weighted workout vest before you commit to wearing one with every training session. There are many different styles, brands, and types of weighted workout vests. If you are new to wearing one or can’t seem to find one that works best for you, consider scheduling a consultation appointment with a personal trainer or fitness consultant so that you can have a fitting done as well as a demonstration on proper form and can be shown which exercises can be most beneficial to you while using a weighted workout vest.
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coachmason
Mar 14, 2022
In Speed and Agility for Children
As a Strength and Conditioning Coach, I'm always asked by parents "What can I do for my son/daughter to be more successful in sports down the road?" or "When is the right time to start training them?" In this video, I go through those answers, and the biggest mistakes parents can make, and what can be done to avoid them.
The right time for youth athletes to start training. content media
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coachmason
Mar 14, 2022
In Mental Edge
Top Ten Reasons for the Fear of Failure Reason #1: Perfectionism Having the desire to continually push yourself to become better and better is okay, only if it is done in a healthy manner. However, if you tend to self-deprecate and hold yourself to unrealistically high standards, that’s where trouble happens. This is referred to as perfectionism. As a perfectionist, you are striving to be perfect. But here’s the worst part, no matter how well you do, there will always be some tiny flaw that can be found which makes the day or performance fall short of perfection. Since perfection is never attained, you live in a constant state of dissatisfaction. This is what perfectionism leads to, a continual feeling of disappointment. Even if you feel that you’ve reached perfection, there will always be another level to attain. Instead of focusing on your accomplishments and enjoying the process of growing as an individual, perfectionists are obsessed with what they didn’t do. You develop tunnel vision when it comes to your life. You begin to assume that something must have gone wrong, so that’s what you focus on. And if you look hard enough, no matter what, a mistake will always show its face. So, how does this result in the fear of failure? With each time you fall short of perfection, how do you think you’ll respond? I can guarantee you will not be jumping for joy and full of pride. No, you will become full of disappointment and regret. These emotions lay heavily on your mind. Over time, repetitive feelings of dissatisfaction will result in you fearing any situation that spurs such emotions. As a result, a fear of failing is established. Reason #2: Shame How do you feel when you fail? Do you become upset with yourself, angry, or maybe embarrassed? I can tell you how I feel when I fail, which was especially true during college when playing baseball, and that is ashamed. Shame is a powerful emotion that tears us down, deteriorating any sense of confidence and self-worth we have. After a failure, it’s easy to feel ashamed of yourself. You may feel shame due to your poor performance, or maybe for letting others down. When shame is a common response to failure, naturally you begin to fear being in such a situation in the future. You are now susceptible to the fear of failure. Who wants to feel ashamed? Especially when it involves something you find joy in such as a sport or performance. Shame is often driven by embarrassment. I used to feel so embarrassed when I would make an error or strikeout. That embarrassment then led to feeling ashamed of myself. Shame causes us to feel small and inferior, hoping people are not judging us too harshly for the mistakes we’ve made. The more shame you feel upon failing, the more you will fear having to face such an emotion in the future. "When shame is a common response to failure, naturally you begin to fear being in such a situation in the future. You are now susceptible to the fear of failure." Reason #3: Negative Self-Talk The way you speak to yourself after a failure is critical to how well you will handle the situation. Self-talk is your internal dialogue, so think about all the thoughts and words that begin to flood your mind upon making a mistake. This dialogue has a direct impact on your emotional state. Speaking positively to yourself will result in positive feelings and a more optimistic outlook. On the other hand, speaking down to yourself will have the opposite effect. Let’s say every time you fail, negative self-talk takes place. If you’re looking for someone to make you feel down in these situations, look no further than the voice in your head. As this self-depreciation sets in, negative emotions will follow. Now it will be even harder to bounce back from the failure or see it as a learning opportunity. The negative emotions you experience will become associated with failing. In the future, as you perceive failure, you’ll begin to remember all those terrible feelings you had in the past. This association will ignite fear. None of us want to feel badly. Likewise, none of us willfully wish to speak down to ourselves. But, when in the midst of a failure, this type of internal dialogue can be hard to curb. It’s easy to then feel scared of having to face yourself in these situations, solidifying your fear of failure. Reason #4: Negatively Impact Future Plans One of the major ways failure can impact your life is by negatively affecting your future plans. When I say future plans, I am referring to the goals you have set forth in your life. So much of our goals become contingent on success in certain situations. Let’s use an athlete as an example. If a high school athlete plans on playing collegiately, the goal will only be accomplished through success. This success will come in the form of performing well in their athletics as well as schoolwork. If the athlete were to fail, especially on the field or court, that could have a direct impact on their likelihood of playing in college. The same holds true for a college athlete who has a dream of playing professionally. The only possible way for that plan to pan out is having a successful career at the college level. Such success will not be reached with too much failure. Knowing this, failing turns into something we fear, due to the negative impact it could have on our goals. Here’s the worst part. When this fear of failure develops in relation to your future plans, any small failing will be seen as devastating. What normally would be a small road bump you should learn from turns into a threat to your life’s vision. One small failure isn’t likely to keep you from your goals. But, that’s how our minds think when the fear of failure takes over. Reason #5: Seeking Approval It’s good to value the opinions of others, but, you must be cautious in the process. Wanting to build a solid reputation and wanting others to view you in a respectable manner is something we should all strive for. This is healthy and keeps us accountable for holding ourselves to our utmost standards. Where trouble forms is in seeking approval. This stems from having low confidence in yourself and looking to others to determine your value. If you do this, you become trapped. Your emotional state and the way you think of yourself become reliant on others. Someone thinks well of you, you’re in a positive state. On the other hand, someone thinks negatively of you, or you perceive someone thinks negatively of you (which is most often the case), and your mood turns south. By living your life desperately seeking the approval of those around you, there is only one way to live; in a state of fear. Failure will mean losing the esteem of other people. If you fail in your sport, it threatens the approval of your coaches, teammates, fans, and parents. What happens as you become more reliant on the approval of others is a fear of failing, since it could mean their disapproval will form. Reason #6: Causing Stress to Someone What happens when we believe others are invested in our success? This could include parents, family members, coaches, teammates, fans, or friends. When we see them as having a stake in whether or not we succeed, failing becomes that much more impactful. Now, not only does failure impact us, but it has the potential to cause those we care about stress. A prime example of this is an athlete’s parents. As an athlete, there is nothing more meaningful than having your parents care about your performance. I was lucky to have parents who have always been supportive of me and were involved in my athletics. However, there is a downside to this. If as an athlete, you view their care and investment as contingent on your success, failure will be seen as negatively impacting them. It’s hard for parents to see their kids fail. But, as an athlete, worrying about the stress of others and how they will be affected by your failure can lead to a serious case of fear of failure. Since not only your emotions, but the emotions of others are on the line, pressure mounts, and failing becomes something to fear. "As an athlete, there is nothing more meaningful than having your parents care about your performance." Reason #7: Taking Failure too Personally Do you identify yourself with your sport or profession? It’s hard not to. We naturally begin to wrap our own identity into that which we do. I’ve fallen prey to this and know how wonderful and hurtful it can be. When you are succeeding, you’re on top of the world. Since you’ve wrapped your self-worth up in your sport or career, if you succeed, you see yourself as a success. But, there is a dark side to this. When you fail, the failure is taken personally. It becomes a hit to who you are. No longer will you feel successful, even for all your previous accomplishments. At the moment, your identity is associated with failing. On this type of emotional rollercoaster, you cherish the highs and fear the lows. I dare say the lows are worse than the highs, which is why fear becomes a natural state. You become terrified of failing due to the personal defeat you will feel. Reason #8: Low Self-Confidence With already low self-confidence, failure can be a scary experience. When you are living with low self-confidence, you feel as if you must succeed repeatedly in order to build any belief within yourself. That success will feed your confidence. The more you see yourself succeed, the higher your confidence will grow. But stringing together enough wins to make lasting change in your confidence is a difficult endeavor. What happens when you inevitably fail? Well, chances are you’ll be back to square one. Looking for external changes to happen before you feel confident will not build true self-confidence. So, as soon as failure appears, all will be lost. Having to start over time and time again leads to a fear of failing in the future. Reason #9: Critical Parents/Coaches No one wants to constantly be criticized. Good criticism is helpful and leads to progress, but constantly finding areas to nit-pick leads to frustration and the need for approval. As we already discussed, seeking approval is a leading cause of the fear of failure. Have you ever experienced an overly critical parent, coach, or maybe boss? Nothing is ever good enough for them. No matter how well you perform, or how hard you work, they are bound to find something to pick apart. It’s the same as being a perfectionist, except the critique is coming from someone else. As a result, failure becomes a situation to fear. You may begin to adopt perfectionist tendencies yourself since you feel you have to be perfect in order to reduce the criticism. Reason #10: Trauma Trauma is defined as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. They are accompanied by intense negative emotions. These emotions will be tied to the event, leading to a fear of such situations in the future. You may not associate failure with trauma. Though, if an experience is significant enough, it will surely leave a traumatic imprint in your mind. Trauma will be different for everyone, all dependent on your personal experiences. What may be traumatic for one person may not be for another, and vice versa. The point is, do not downplay an event as being traumatic. If intense emotions were generated, and the experience left a mark on your psyche, then it can be described as traumatic. After having lived through a situation your mind deems to be trauma, fear will grow around that environment. Let’s say you had an intensely negative experience in your sport. Maybe you made a mistake during a crucial moment. From now on, you may become fearful of failing in a similar moment due to the negative memory associated with the situation. Final Thoughts Understanding why you fear failing is a key step in working through your fear. If you don’t know why you feel the way you do, changing it will be incredibly difficult. These are the ten most common reasons that can be attributed to the fear of failure. Which one of the reasons above is causing you to fear failing? Let me know in the comments below. If you are interested in a more direct and personalized approach to overcoming the fear of failure, mental performance coaching may be right for you. I offer one-on-one coaching where we will identify the cause of your fear, and then I will provide you will a clear outline of what you can do to overcome your fear. If you’re interested, you can learn more here.
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coachmason
Mar 14, 2022
In Mental Edge
When you go into a game afraid to fail, you’re more likely to play timidly and scared. You tiptoe around your performance, terrified of making even the slightest mistake. But in order for you to perform your best, there needs to be a level of trust that is only present when you accept the possibility of failure, rather than having it be a point of fear. Failing is scary, there is not denying that fact. It can mean embarrassment, the loss of a starting role, or you not attaining future goals. However, failure is also a teacher. One that highlights areas of your game that need improvement. Failure, much like all things in life, can be viewed in multiple ways. Fearing failure is one of the worst ways you adopt, but one that is very real for many athletes. So, if you struggle with the fear of failure, don’t worry because you’re definitely not alone. And by the end of this article, you will have four powerful pregame exercises you can use to reduce the fear of failure heading into the competition. Where Does Fear Of Failure Come From? What is failure? Failure is an outcome, right? It's not a single action, but a judgment of the action or game. Therefore, we can say that failure is a result. Seems pretty obvious, but this understanding is needed when realizing where fear of failure comes from. When we fear something, it is not necessarily an act we are afraid of, but rather the consequences or outcome of a situation or action. You are not afraid to make an error or miss a shot. What you are afraid of is the consequence of that error or of that missed shot. This highlights where fear of failure comes from: focusing on the outcome. When you focus so much on the outcome, on the what ifs and maybes, growing fearful is a natural response. We are capable of creating many terrifying scenarios in our minds, and so the more you focus on the outcome of what may happen, the easier it is to fear the possibility of failing. But you may be thinking, not every outcome I focus on is a failure. That’s right, if you were to only see yourself as a success, fear of failure would not be on your mind. But when you couple outcome oriented thinking with low confidence, it becomes a recipe for disaster. "You are not afraid to make an error or miss a shot. What you are afraid of is the consequence of that error or of that missed shot." Seeing Yourself As A Failure Low confidence leads to a lack of belief in yourself and your skills. As you begin to doubt your abilities, what do you think happens to the outcomes you think about? The less confident you are, the more likely you are to envision a scenario where you fail. Of course you don’t want that to happen, so you start to become afraid. You fear the failure occurring, the negative consequences that will result, and the hit that your already low and fragile confidence will take. Now you have entered a vicious cycle where you fear failure due to outcome oriented thinking fueled by low confidence, leading to you performing poorly, which ultimately lowers your confidence even more and results in further fear of failure. Fear of failure comes from low confidence in addition to your mind focusing too much on the outcome of your performance. Which is why, in order to reduce fear of failure before a game, you must work to instill the opposite. Mental Training Tools To Reduce Fear Of Failure In order to reduce fear of failure before a game, there are three skills or states that need to be cultivated. You need to learn how to focus on the present moment, relax, and be more trusting in yourself and your skills. By developing the ability to center your attention in the moment, your need to worry about the outcome will be reduced. Secondly, relaxing will help eliminate the stress and anxiety caused by fear. Lastly, increasing your confidence will build trust. By doing so, you’ll switch the images you see in your mind from ones of failure to ones of success. Self-Talk Your thoughts have a direct impact on your emotional state. Even if you don’t currently realize it, the way you’re speaking to yourself before a game is furthering the fear you’re experiencing. What you want to do is learn how to use this self-talk to your advantage instead. Self-talk is a very simple process, but at the same time incredibly powerful. It works to generate an emotional state that you want. But almost more importantly and more helpful to reducing the fear of failure is that it takes control of your thoughts. This means, instead of having the regular negative self-talk taking place, you’re substituting it with more positive and productive thoughts. Utilizing self-talk can work to increase confidence, help you focus in the moment, and relax. It all will depend upon the words and phrases you choose to repeat. But the key word, no matter what state you’re seeking to generate, is repeat. Repetition is key with self-talk. Using it as a pregame exercise works best if you continually cycle through the phrase or phrases you choose. Here are a few example of positive self-talk phrases (also known as affirmations) you can use for your pregame exercise: “I am confident in myself and my abilities.” “Focus on the present moment.” “I trust in myself.” “I am relaxed, confident, and focused.” Think about what you’re most afraid of when it comes to failing and devise a self-talk routine focused on that. The point I want to make, and one you can tell from the examples listed above, is that self-talk is best when it is simple. Make the statements simple, concise, but at the same time meaningful. If you do, this pregame exercise will have a tremendous impact on reducing your fear of failure. "Utilizing self-talk can work to increase confidence, help you focus in the moment, and relax. It all will depend upon the words and phrases you choose to repeat." Visualization Another great exercise for you to use is visualization. When you visualize, a scene is depicted in your mind. This scene serves multiple purposes. For one, it provides your mind with memory. As you visualize, your mind responds similarly to a real life event. Therefore, you can create memory in your mind through this exercise. Another purpose is generating a certain emotional state. Just as with self-talk, you can visualize and get yourself into a more focused, relaxed, or confident state. There are two main visualization techniques that work wonders against fear of failure. One is visualization for relaxation and the other is visualizing for confidence. Both use a similar set up, so let’s take a look at that first: Step 1: Get into a comfortable position. Step 2: Close your eyes. Step 3: Take 10 deep breaths, focusing solely on your breathing. You’re now ready to begin visualizing. Visualization For Relaxation When you’re wanting to visualize for relaxation, the goal is to create a scene that promotes a sense of calm. To do so, ask yourself, “Where do I feel the most relaxed?” What is the environment in which you feel the most calm and relaxed? Are you watching tv on your couch? Going for a walk in nature? Sitting on the beach? Once you have that identified, all you have to do is bring that scene into your mind. Picture yourself there. But don’t merely picture it, feel it! Feel as though you are really there. As you do, allow the sense of relaxation to come over you. Visualization For Confidence How do you think you become confident? One of the best ways to generate confidence is seeing yourself succeed. That is the concept we build upon when visualizing. You want to see yourself succeed at the skills you currently lack trust in. I’m sure there are aspects of your game where you have more fear than others. This will highlight areas of low confidence. What you want to do is identify them, as they will be what you want to visualize. See yourself perform the skills in great detail. Just as with visualization for relaxation had you feel calm while envisioning the scene, during this exercise feel confident while performing the act. The more you see yourself succeed, the greater your confidence will climb. Resulting in a reduction in your fear of failure. Mindfulness Training Fear of failure feeds off outcome-oriented thinking. Mindfulness is defined by placing your attention in the present moment. So, if you can generate a state of mindfulness before a game, this will be incredibly powerful against your fear. So how can you go about generating a state of mindfulness before a game? Well, the best place to start is with your breath. Most mindfulness practices you come across will involve your breath. This isn’t to say you cannot become mindful through other practices, but focusing on your breathing is very effective. There are a couple of different ways you can use mindfulness as a pregame exercise to reduce fear of failure. You can practice mindfulness meditation and you can also perform some simple breathing exercises. Mindfulness meditation is a more involved practice and would require you to do so prior to getting to the field or court. Maybe you could perform the practice earlier in the day, as the mindful state will then be carried with you as the game approaches. Here’s how to practice mindfulness meditation: Find a comfortable location that’s relatively quiet. Get into a relaxed, comfortable position. Close your eyes and start to breathe slowly. Now bring your attention to your breath. As your attention wanders, gently return it to your breathing. Another way you can train mindfulness will help more in the moment, right before (or even during) the game. The practice is known as count breathing. It will be similar to mindfulness meditation in that you are focusing on your breath. Except now you are counting which will help to keep your focus on your breathing. Here are a few different forms of count breathing: Breathe in for 5 and out for 10. Breathe in for 4, hold for 4, breathe out for 4. Breathe in for 4 and out for 8. It doesn’t matter which form of count breathing you choose. What’s important is that you are bringing your awareness to your breath through the use of counting, which instills a state of mindfulness. Goal Setting There is a specific form of goal setting you can use as a pregame exercise which will drastically help to reduce fear of failure. It works to give yourself something to focus on rather than the outcome. Which, as you know, only worsens the fear of failure. You want to begin using process goals. These are goals you set which are first and foremost, completely within your control! Opposite of an outcome goal, these goals require you to examine the steps you need to take in order to put yourself in the best position to achieve the result you want. The reason process goals work so well at reducing fear of failure is due to the control they give you over your focus. When you learn how to focus on the process, you are removing your attention from the future. But this is not easy to do simply by telling yourself to focus more on the process. Which is why setting process goals is so valuable. As a pregame exercise, think about what is within your control and part of the process that you want to focus on. These can be on the physical and mental side of your game. Set these goals before the game, and as the game starts, keep focusing on them. Use the process goals as your guidance throughout the game, recentering your attention on them as you feel it begin to drift into the future. "The reason process goals work so well at reducing fear of failure is due to the control they give you over your focus." Final Thoughts Fear of failure is a very difficult mental game challenge to deal with. Having failure the focal point of your mind leads to playing timidly and afraid. Instead of tiptoeing through a competition, your aim should be to show up confidently, performing freely and allowing your hard earned talents to shine. This is only possible once you learn how to reduce the fear of failure. By using the pregame exercises discussed in this article, you can do just that. If you are looking for a more direct and personalized approach to reducing the fear of failure, mental game coaching would be a great fit. Through this twelve-week coaching program, you will receive 1-1 support in overcoming fear of failure and mastering the mental game.
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coachmason
Mar 09, 2022
In Mental Edge
ORIGINAL RESEARCH article Front. Sports Act. Living, 01 February 2022 Objectives: To examine mental health problems among elite athletes in a student population, compared to the general student population, and to explore the association between weekly hours of training across mental health indicators. Methods: Data are from a national study from 2018 of all college and university students in Norway. Participants indicated if they considered themselves to be an elite athlete, and how many hours per week they trained. Mental health problems were assessed using several well-validated questionnaires. Results: Among 50,054 students, 1.3% identified themselves as elite athletes. Both male and female elite athletes had generally better mental health across most health outcomes, reporting fewer mental health problems, less loneliness, higher satisfaction with life, more positive affect, and fewer alcohol problems. Elite athletes in team sports had slightly better mental health compared to athletes of individual sports. Increased hours of weekly exercise was associated with better mental health. However, there was generally little to be gained from increasing the amount of training from 7–10 hours/week to 14+ hours per week. Female athletes who trained 14 or more hours per week reported poorer mental health across most outcome measures. Conclusion: This study showed that both male and female elite athletes generally had better mental health across a range of health outcomes, when compared to the general student population. The study also found a positive dose-response relationship between weekly hours of training and mental health, but also a worsening of mental health for females at the extreme end of exercise continuum. The self-report nature of this student sample means that care should be taken when generalizing to other studies of elite athletes. Introduction Physical exercise has unquestionable benefits for health, and taking part in regular exercise has been shown to prevent a host of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes (Lee et al., 2012). But despite overwhelming evidence of the many health benefits of physical exercise, it has been suggested that there might be a curvilinear relationship between the amount of physical exercise and exercise-induced improvements of somatic health (Mons et al., 2014; Williams and Thompson, 2014; Schnohr et al., 2015). Although such findings may lead to the speculation that physical exercise may be harmful at a certain dose, there is currently no known upper limit in terms of the somatic health benefits of physical exercise in healthy individuals (Eijsvogels and Thompson, 2015). There is similar evidence showing that physical exercise also has large positive effects on mental health, especially in the case of depression (Kvam et al., 2016; Gordon et al., 2018). However, the research literature regarding the nature of this relationship also remains equivocal. While a large US study of 1.2 million individuals found a strong link between physical exercise and improved mental health (Chekroud et al., 2018), they also concluded that more exercise was not always better. Exercising 23 or more times per month, or longer than 90 min per session, was associated with worse mental health. In contrast, a recent national study of all college and university students in Norway found that the more physical exercise, the better; both in terms of exercise frequency and duration (Grasdalsmoen et al., 2020a). However, none of these studies focused specifically on individuals at the extreme end of the exercise spectrum, elite athletes. Despite the utmost importance of optimal physical and mental health when performing at a top international level of any sport, there are relatively few studies investigating in detail the mental health of elite athletes, and findings remain inconclusive (Reardon and Factor, 2010; Reardon et al., 2019). While some studies have reported prevalence rates of mental disorders and substance use disorder to be higher or comparable to the general population (Schaal et al., 2011; Rice et al., 2016; Gouttebarge et al., 2019; Akesdotter et al., 2020; Purcell et al., 2020), other studies have found lower suicide rates when compared to the general population (Maron et al., 2014; Rao et al., 2015; Lehman et al., 2016). Similarly, in one of the largest studies in this field, a recent study of US Olympians found a lower risk of mental health problems and suicide for this group, compared to the general population (Duncombe et al., 2020). In a consensus statement from IOC, it was concluded than more studies with large reference groups were needed to address specific domains of mental health outcomes in elite athletes, and also to examine whether there may by gender-specific patterns in the associations between the amount of exercise and mental health indicators (Reardon et al., 2019). Based on these considerations, the aim of the current study was twofold; first, to investigate in detail the prevalence of mental health problems across a range of outcome measures in elite athletes compared to the general student population, and second, to explore the linear vs. curvilinear association between weekly hours of training across all mental health indicators. Methods Procedure The current paper used data from the SHoT2018 study (Students' Health and Wellbeing Study), a large national survey of students enrolled in higher education in Norway. The SHoT2018 is a comprehensive survey of several domains of mental health and lifestyle factors, distributed electronically through a web-based platform at the University of Oslo. Details of the study has been published elsewhere (Sivertsen et al., 2019a), but in short, SHoT2018 was conducted between February 6 and April 5, 2018, and invited all full-time Norwegian students pursuing higher education, both in Norway and abroad. In all, 162,512 students fulfilled the inclusion criteria, of whom 50,054 students completed the online questionnaires (after being sent two reminders), yielding a response rate of 30.8%. Elite Athlete and Exercise The students were first presented with the following brief definition of physical exercise: “With physical exercise, we mean that you, for example, go for a walk, go skiing, swim or take part in a sport.” Physical exercise was then assessed using three sets of questions, assessing the average number of times exercising each week, and the average intensity and average hours each time (Kurtze et al., 2007): (1) “On an average week, how frequently do you perform physical exercise?” (Never, Less than once a week, Once a week, 2–3 times per week, Almost every day); (2) “If you perform physical exercise as frequently as once or more times a week: How hard do you push yourself?” (I take it easy without breaking into a sweat or losing my breath, I push myself so hard that I lose my breath and break into a sweat, I push myself to near-exhaustion); and (3) “How long does each session last?” (Less than 15 min, 15–29 min, 30 min to 1 h, More than 1 h.”) This 3-item questionnaire has previously been used in the large population-based Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT) (Kurtze et al., 2007, 2008). Detailed information on the physical exercise items in the SHoT2018 study has been published elsewhere (Grasdalsmoen et al., 2019, 2020a,b). If respondents answered that they exercised “almost every day” on the frequency item, they were then asked if they considered themselves to be an “elite athlete” (yes/no), and if so, how many hours per week they trained (drop-down menu: 0 to 40 h). For the item of weekly hours of training, we categorized all responses into “0–2 h/wk, 3–6 h/wk, 7–10 h/wk, 11–13 h/wk, and 14+ h/wk (based on the distribution of the responses). Due to restrictions related to statistical power, we were unable to further explore in detail those training more than 14 h/wk. Finally, those self-categorized as an elite athlete were also asked (in free text) which sport they considered themselves as an elite athlete. For purposes of the present study, all responses were manually coded as either individual or team sport. Mental Health Problems Mental health problems were assessed by the widely used Hopkins Symptoms Checklist (HSCL-25) (Derogatis et al., 1974), derived from the 90-itemSymptom Checklist (SCL-90), a screening tool designed to detect symptoms of anxiety and depression. Several factor structures and cut-offs for clinical levels have been proposed for the HSCL-25 (Ventevogel et al., 2007; Glaesmer et al., 2014). An investigation of the factor structure based on the SHoT2014 dataset showed that a unidimensional model had the best psychometric properties in the student population and not the original subscales of anxiety and depression (Skogen et al., 2017). We have chosen to follow this recommendation in the present study. As recommended in previous publications (Derogatis et al., 1974), the average scores on the HSCL-25 of ≥ 1.75 and <2.00, and >2.00, were used as cut-off values for identifying moderate and high levels of mental health problems, respectively. Details on development of mental health problems in the SHoT waves were recently published by Knapstad et al. (2019). Mental Disorders Self-reported mental disorders were assessed by a pre-defined list adapted to fit this age-cohort. The list was based on a similar operationalisation used in previous large population-based studies [the HUNT study (Krokstad et al., 2013)] and included several subcategories for most conditions/disorders (not listed here). For mental disorders, the list comprised the following specific disorders/group of disorders: attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety disorder, autism/Asperger, bipolar disorder, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, personality disorder, eating disorder, Tourette's syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and others. The list contained no definition of the included disorders/conditions. Due to statistical power limitations, we only included anxiety and depressive disorders, in addition to eating disorders. Self-Harm and Suicidal Behavior History of non-suicidal self-harm (NSSH) and suicide attempts were assessed with two items drawn from the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (APMS) (McManus et al., 2016); “Have you ever made an attempt to take your life, by taking an overdose of tablets or in some other way?”, and “Have you ever deliberately harmed yourself in any way but not with the intention of killing yourself? (i.e., self-harm)” If respondents answered yes to any item, the timing of the most recent episode was assessed, using the following response options: “last week”, “past year”, “more than a year ago, but after I started studying at the university”, and “before I started studying at university”. For purposes of the current study, we created a joint variable encompassing students that reported positive on any of these four items, and if they indicated the most recent episode to be after they started studying at university. More detailed information about self-harm and suicidal behavior in SHoT2018 has been published elsewhere (Sivertsen et al., 2019b). Life Satisfaction The Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS) (Diener et al., 1985) is a 5-item scale designed to measure global cognitive judgments of one's life satisfaction (not a measure of either positive or negative affect). In the current study, the SWLS was analyzed in three ways: (1) as a continuous total score (range 5–35), (2) using pre-defined categories (dissatisfied: total SWLS score 5–19; neutral: total SWLS score 20–25, and satisfied: total SWLS score 26–35); and (3) dichotomously, using a total SWLS total score of <19 as the cut-off value indicating poor life satisfaction. The Cronbach's alpha of the SWLS in the current study was 0.89. Loneliness Loneliness was assessed using an abbreviated version of the widely used UCLA Loneliness Scale, “The Three-Item Loneliness Scale (T-ILS)” (Hughes et al., 2004). The T-ILS has displayed satisfactory reliability and both concurrent and discriminant validity in two US nationally representative population-based studies (Hughes et al., 2004), and also performed well among US college students (Matthews-Ewald and Zullig, 2013). The three items were analyzed separately, and each item was dichotomized using “often” or “very often” as cut-off value. The Cronbach's alpha of the T-ILS in the current study was 0.88. Perfectionism Perfectionism was assessed by the short version of the Perfectionism subscale from the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI) (Garner et al., 1985). The Perfectionism subscale (EDI-P) comprises two dimensions: socially prescribed perfectionism and self-oriented perfectionism, and this two-factor model has been supported in both clinical (Lampard et al., 2012) and non-clinical (Muro-Sans et al., 2006) adolescent samples. The Cronbach's alpha of the EDI in the current study was 0.81. Disturbed Eating Patterns Disturbed eating patterns were assessed by the Eating Disturbance Scale (EDS-5) (Rosenvinge et al., 2001), a brief screening instrument for problematic eating in normal populations. The EDS-5 has been shown to have good concurrent and construct validity, and a sensitivity and specificity of 0.90 and 0.88 with respect to DSM-IV eating disorders (Rosenvinge et al., 2001). The Cronbach's alpha of the EDS-5 in the current study was 0.83. Positive Affect The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) is a 20-item questionnaire which comprises two subscales, one that measures positive affect (positive affect) and the other which measures negative affect (NA). A sum score is calculated with higher scores representing greater positive affect. The Cronbach's alpha for the positive affect subscale in the current study was 0.91. The NA subscale was not included in the SHoT study. Sleep Duration and Insomnia Participants' self-reported usual bedtime and bed-rise time were indicated in hours and minutes, and data were reported separately for weekdays and weekends. Time in bed (TIB) was calculated as the difference between bedtime and rise time. Sleep onset latency (SOL: defined as the length of time that it takes to accomplish the transition from full wakefulness to sleep) and wake after sleep onset (WASO: defined as amount of time a person spends after sleep onset) were also indicated separately for weekdays and weekends in hours and minutes. Sleep duration was defined as TIB minus SOL and WASO. All participants also indicated the average number of nights per week they experienced difficulties initiating sleep (DIS), difficulties maintaining sleep (DMS), and early morning awakenings (EMA), as well as daytime sleepiness and tiredness. Those suffering from sleep problems were asked about how long the problems had been present. The following 3 criteria were used as an operationalization for insomnia disorder, in line with the DSM-5 criteria: (1) the presence of either DIS, DMS, or EMA for at least 3 nights per week, (2) the presence of daytime sleepiness and tiredness for at least 3 days per week, and (3) a duration of the sleep problems for at least 3 months. More details about the sleep inventory used in SHoT2018 has been published elsewhere (Sivertsen et al., 2019c). Alcohol-Related Problems Potential alcohol-related problems were measured by the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), which is a widely used instrument developed by the World Health Organization to identify risky or harmful alcohol use (Saunders et al., 1993; Babor et al., 2001). The 10-item AUDIT includes items for measuring the frequency, typical amount and episodic heavy drinking frequency (items 1–3), alcohol dependence (items 4–6), and problems related to alcohol consumption (items 7–10) (Shevlin and Smith, 2007). The AUDIT score ranges from 0 to 40. More information about the AUDIT in the SHoT surveys has been published elsewhere (Heradstveit et al., 2019). Sociodemographic Information All participants reported their gender, age and relationship status (coded as single vs. married/partner or girlfriend/boyfriend). Annual income was coded dichotomously according to self-reported income last year (before tax and deductions, and not including loans and scholarships): annual income > 10,000 NOK vs. ≤ 10,000 NOK. Finally, participants were categorized as an immigrant if the student or one or both of the parents were born outside Norway. Statistics IBM SPSS version 27 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL USA) for Windows was used for all analyses. Differences between elite athletes and the control group were examined across all continuous outcome measures (HSCL-25, SWLS, T-ILS, EDI-P, EDS-5, PANAS and AUDIT) separately for male and female athletes, by calculating estimated marginal means (EMM), adjusting for age. Differences between elite athletes in team sports and individual sports were also examined using age-adjusted EMM. Cohen's d effect-sizes were calculated in line with recognized guidelines (Carlson and Schmidt, 1999; Morris, 2008). As a benchmark for interpreting Cohen's d, 0.80 should be regarded as large, 0.50 as moderate, and 0.20 as small, respectively (Cohen, 1988). We also conducted log-link binomial regression analysis to calculate effect-sizes for the dichotomous outcomes (anxiety and depressive disorder, self-harm and suicidal ideation, insomnia and eating disorder), adjusting for age. Results are presented as risk ratios (RR) with 95% confidence intervals. The normality of the data was examined using skewness and kurtosis, and all continuous measures were well within the recommended ranges (+/– 2) (George and Mallery, 2016). P-values adjusted for multiple comparisons using the Benjamini-Hochberg's false discovery rate (FDR). There was generally little missing data (n < 270 [0.5%]), and hence missing values were handled using listwise deletion. As the SHoT2018 study had several objectives and was not designed to be a study of elite athletes specifically, no a priori power calculations were conducted to ensure that the sample size had sufficient statistical power to detect differences in outcomes. Results Sample Characteristics In all, 634 of the 50 034 students (1.3%) reported being an elite athlete, of whom 366 (57.8%) were female. The elite athletes were significantly younger than the control group (mean age 22.0 vs. 23.3 years, P < 0.001), and the elite athlete group also included a larger proportion of males compared to the control group (42.2 vs. 30.8% [P < 0.001], respectively). There were no significant group differences regarding income and ethnicity. More details of the sociodemographic and clinical characteristics among elite athletes vs. non-athletes are found in Table 1. TABLE 1 Table 1. Sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of the SHoT 2018 study. Elite Athletes In general, elite athletes reported better mental health across most continuous measures, a trend which was evident in both male and female athletes. As detailed in Figure 1, compared to the control group, elite athletes reported significantly fewer mental health problems (HSCL-25), less loneliness (T-ILS), higher satisfaction with life (SWLS), less disturbed eating patterns (EDS-5), more positive affect (PANAS), as well as fewer alcohol problems (AUDIT). However, elite athletes also reported significantly higher levels of perfectionism compared to the control group. Effect-sizes ranged from small to moderate (Cohen's d: 0.2 to 0.6). Similar results were also observed across the dichotomous measures. As displayed in Figure 2, male and female elite athletes had significantly lower prevalence (and significantly lower age-adjusted relative risks) of both anxiety and depressive disorder and self-harm and suicidal ideation, compared to the control group. The prevalence of self-reported anorexia or bulimia did not differ significantly between the two groups. There were no significant sex × group interactions for any of the health indicators. FIGURE 1 Figure 1. Health indicators among elite athletes and control group in male and female college and university students (age-adjusted estimates represented in T-scores and Cohen's d effect size (in white text box). Error bars represent 95% confidence intervals. *P < 0.001. FIGURE 2 Figure 2. Prevalence of anxiety and depressive disorders, self-harm and suicidal ideation, insomnia and eating disorders among elite athletes and control group, in male and female college and university students. Bars represent age-adjusted prevalence estimates, and error bars represent 95% confidence intervals. RR = age-adjusted relative risk. ***P < 0.001; **P < 0.01; *P < 0.05. Elite athletes had a significantly lower prevalence of insomnia than the control group. As displayed in Figure 2, the prevalence of insomnia among male and female elite athletes were 11.4 and 22.6%, respectively, compared to 22.6 and 34.4% among male and female controls. Female elite athletes slept for similar duration to those in the control group (7:26 vs. 7:24 h), whereas male elite athletes slept 12 min longer than the control group (7:35 vs. 7:23 h). However, the sex × group interaction was not statistically significant (P = 0.163). Individual and Team Sport Compared to individual sports (n = 380), elite athletes in team sports (n = 234) had significantly fewer mental health problems (P = 0.045), less loneliness, but also more alcohol problems (male athletes only), and more disturbed eating patterns. No differences were observed for quality of life, positive affect, sleep duration or perfectionism. Weekly Hours of Exercise The associations between weekly hours of training and all health indicators are detailed in Figure 3. Among male students (blue lines), we observed a positive association across most instruments: the more hours of training, the better the mental health and higher life satisfaction. However, for most outcomes, there was generally little to be gained from increasing the amount of training from 7–10 hours/week to 14+ h per week (Figure 3). Some exceptions should be noted: for alcohol problems we observed a significant curvilinear relationship between hours of training and reported alcohol problems, with the least alcohol problems observed for those training the least and the most. In contrast, there were linear relationships throughout all categories of training hours and positive affect: the more training, the more positive affect. FIGURE 3 Figure 3. Hours of training (X axis) and age-adjusted health indicators (Y axis) in male and female college and university students exercising “almost every day” (not just elite athletes). The unconnected point estimates (to the left on each panel) represent students training 2–3 days/wk or less. Error bars represent 95% confidence intervals. Among female students, we generally found the same pattern of results, but with one gender-specific trend: For female athletes training the most (14+ h per week), there was generally a worsening of mental health across most outcome measures. As displayed in Figure 3 (red lines), we found evidence of significant U-shaped (curvilinear) associations between training hours and all outcome instruments, except insomnia. The correlations between hours of training per week and mental health problems are detailed in Table 2. TABLE 2 Table 2. Pearson correlation coefficient between hours of training and instruments (continuous) assessing mental health problems. Discussion This is the first survey of elite athletes' mental health among students containing a large control group. Both male and female elite athletes had generally better mental health across all examined health outcomes, and elite athletes in team sports had even slightly better mental health compared to athletes in individual sports. The overall pattern was that the more hours of physical exercise, the better the mental health and higher life satisfaction, although there was little to be gained from increasing the amount of training at the extreme end the exercise continuum. Importantly, this study also demonstrated that among female athletes training the most, there was generally a worsening of mental health across most outcome measures. Despite being crucial for optimal performance, the mental health aspect of elite athletes was historically somewhat neglected for many years, both in the popular media and research literature. One possible reason for this may have been the tendency to idealize elite athletes (Doherty et al., 2016), leading both the general public and health care professionals to assume a low prevalence of mental health issues in sport. Also, athletes may have a negative perception of help-seeking behavior (Steinfeldt and Profile, 2012), and may often minimize any displays of weakness (Sinden, 2010). Similarly, there is also the possibility of stigma which may prevent reporting of a prior diagnosis, which in turn may lead to both underreporting of mental health problems, as well as lack of adequate mental support during their careers (Doherty et al., 2016). Fortunately, recent years have shown a rapid increased in high quality studies in this field, and with several high profile athletes reporting struggling with mental health issues, especially recently during the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 (Park, 2021; Peter, 2021), the times have changed in terms of how we regard the importance of mental health of elite athletes. Findings from the few existing studies in this field have been mixed, and while a recent systematic review and meta-analyses suggested that the prevalence of mental health problems and disorders in elite athletes might be slightly higher than in the general population, the authors also stressed that the typical lack of control groups limited the generalizability of findings. Also, methodological differences both in how elite athletes are defined, and how mental health is operationalized, may explain some of these inconclusive findings, and there has clearly been a need for large studies with well-defined instruments to further shed light on this important issue. As such, the current study corroborates the findings from one of the largest register studies in this field, examining all US Olympians (n = 8124) who participated in the Summer or Winter Games between 1912 and 2012. That study found that elite athletes have significantly lower risk of both mental health problems and suicide when compared to the general population (Duncombe et al., 2020). Extending on these findings of reduced risk of mental health problems and suicidality, the current study also found elite athletes reported significantly higher quality of life, more positive affect, less loneliness and insomnia, as well as fewer alcohol problems, when compared to the general student population. As such, when contrasted to the findings from the meta-analyses of Gouttebarge et al. (2019), one may conclude that more well-conducted and well-powered studies are needed to identify possible subgroups of athletes which may be more prone to developing mental health problems. The current study extends on previous research reports by showing that athletes in team sports have slightly better mental health and less loneliness (Elbe and Jensen, 2016; Sabiston et al., 2016; Pluhar et al., 2019), but also somewhat more alcohol problems (males only) (Denault and Poulin, 2018). As such, the mental health benefits of participation in team sports is somewhat nuanced by the increase risk of alcohol problems, when compared to participation in individual sports. However, effect-sizes were generally small, and non-significant for the other outcome measures. While the current study did not aim to assess potential mechanisms as to why elite athletes may have better mental health than non- athletes, there may be several reasons for these findings. First, we cannot disregard the possibility of selection bias, as optimal mental health is essential when performing at a top international level in any sport. Second, several biological mechanisms have been shown to be involved in the association between physical exercise and mood, and a recent meta-analysis (Morres et al., 2019) showed that extensive physical exercise not only has an anti-depressive effect by boosting endorphin level in the short term, but it may also help to stimulate the functioning of the brain on a broader level. Still, there is clearly a need for both epidemiological and physiological studies that may help shed light on possible involved mechanisms. A second aim of this study was to examine if there is a linear or curvilinear relationship between hours of exercise and mental health; is more always better? Our general pattern of findings suggests this to be the case, demonstrating that the more hours of physical exercise were associated with better mental health and higher life satisfaction. This is a somewhat different finding than a large study of 1.2 million individuals in the USA. While that study also found a strong link between physical exercise and improved mental health, they also concluded that more exercise was not always better: extreme ranges of more than 23 training sessions per month, or longer than 90 min per session, were associated with worse mental health. This curvilinear association was also partly replicated in the current study, with female (but not male) athletes training the most (14+ h per week), displaying a worsening of mental health across most outcome measures. There may be several reasons for this gender differences. On one hand, the response bias hypothesis suggests that gender differences in mental health may reflect a tendency for men to underreport their problems and symptoms (Sigmon et al., 2005). However, while this may explain the overall gender pattern in this study, this does not fully explain the worsening in mental health among female elite athletes training the most. As such, more studies are needed to further disentangle this important finding. The current findings can also be compared with a US study from 2008 of 7674 adults from the general population, who found a curvilinear association between physical activity and general mental health (Kim et al., 2012). Of interest, that study concluded with an optimal range of 2.5 to 7.5 h of physical activity per week. However, despite the ongoing discussion regarding the existence of a dose-response relationship between physical exercise and mental health, most will agree that even a small increase in physical exercise from inactivity is beneficial. Although both educational institutions and student welfare organizations try hard to encourage and facilitate their students to take part in a wide range of sports, physical exercise and outdoor activities, the current results suggest that increased efforts are warranted. Methodological Considerations The current study has some important methodological considerations. First, an important limitation of the study is the cross-sectional design, which makes it difficult to evaluate the directionality between physical exercise and mental health. While there is much evidence showing that regular physical exercise has a positive impact on mood (Morres et al., 2019), there are also studies showing that the association is likely to be bidirectional. For example, prospective studies have found that symptoms of depression predict subsequent lower activity levels (Pinto Pereira et al., 2014), and there are also plausible mechanisms which may explain how symptoms of depression may lead to inactivity, including low energy levels or apathy (Goodwin, 2003), psychomotor retardation and anhedonia (Jerstad et al., 2010), and social isolation which in turn may reduce the motivation to be active (Kaplan et al., 1991). Also, our operationalization of “elite athlete” based on self-report among college and university students only, may differ from some other high quality studies, of which some have used more stringent definitions (e.g. competing in the Olympics etc.). Furthermore, the questionnaire we did not include any subcategories of elite athletes, and as such we were unable to consider and compare non-athletes vs. recreational athletes and elite athletes. Similarly, it should be stressed that parallel careers and college/university studies may not be common at the elite level in many large professional sports, which further limits the generalizability of this study. Also, this crude measure did not enable us to explore differences between various sports. In sum, care should be taken when comparing our findings with the existing literature base. Another limitation is the moderate response rate of 31%, and we also had limited information regarding non-responders. Furthermore, due to lack of statistical power, 14+ h per week was the highest category of exercise duration per week. As many world class athletes train 20+ h per week, we were unable to the extreme end of this continuum in detail. The strengths of the study include the large and heterogeneous sample, as most previous studies in this field have examined white, young and female undergraduates (Fedina et al., 2018). Other strengths include well-validated instruments of both physical exercise and mental health outcomes. Conclusion In conclusion, the current study showed that both male and female elite athletes generally had better mental health across a range of health outcomes, when compared to the general student population. The study also found a positive and graded relationship between weekly hours of training and mental health, but also a worsening of mental health for females at the extreme end of exercise continuum. What We Already Know? • Mental health problems seem prevalent among elite athletes, but findings remain inconclusive when compared to the general population. • Findings are mixed regarding the presence of a linear vs. curvilinear association between weekly hours of training and mental health indicators. What Are the New Findings? • Both male and female elite athletes had generally better mental health across all examined health outcomes. • Compared to individual sports, athletes in team sports reported better mental health and less loneliness, but also somewhat more alcohol problems (males only). • The overall pattern was that the more hours of physical exercise, the better the mental health and higher life satisfaction, although there was little to be gained from increasing the amount of training at the extreme end. • Among female athletes training the most, there was generally a worsening of mental health across most outcome measures.
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coachmason
Mar 09, 2022
In Delaware Top Kids To Look For
Tommy Reynolds: Poly Tech - Football - Center - 6'2 - 220lbs J.J. Spence: Middletown - Football - QB ( 12 years old)
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coachmason
Mar 09, 2022
In Mental Edge
I want to share with you the #1 strategy that I have used with my clients in the last year to build routines, habits, and the personal development processes they need to win This strategy is built around my 4 Step Goal Formula. STEP #1. Set an intention STEP #2. Schedule when you will execute on that intention STEP #3. Measure your daily behavior and action towards executing on that intention STEP #4. R&R - Reflect and refocus using the well better how the process. Look, I hear from coaches and athletes all the time about their "BIG GOALS" and for too long, saw them FAIL to take the small slow daily action needed daily to achieve those "BIG GOALS".
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