These athletes can go to them to release stress and talk about the pressure from parents, coaches, and their own expectations. The psychologists can then bridge the gap between how the coach and athlete feel (Moffett, n.d.). They can explain to the coach why the athlete is feeling this way and help them change up the training to help the athlete succeed mentally. Without the help of a trained professional it can be tough for a young athlete to distinguish the differences between good stress and bad stress (Moffett, n.d.). Good stress, what is known as eustress, can fuel an athlete to lead the team through the extra drill or to push through a tough practice. Eustress increases performance in practice which would translate to more confidence in a performance or audition (Moffett, n.d.). Bad stress, also known as distress, is where a sports psychologist can really help. Distress can cause an athlete to shut down and not perform to their full potential (Moffett, n.d.). By figuring out what type of stress the athlete suffers from the psychologist can help find the cause or help the athlete cope if the cause cannot be changed, overall helping the athlete retain their love for the sport (Goodtherapy.org Staff, 2016).
These professionals are also used to help athletes rehabilitate from injury. These injuries, which were most likely due to high stress, can cause even more stress and mental fatigue, leading to a never-ending cycle. For an athlete, their sport is their identity and when an injury takes this away this can change the way they view themselves in a negative way (Rogers, n.d.) These negative feelings can be detrimental to their training, recovery, and overall performance if they can’t find a way to control and understand them. A sports psychologist can help them manage and deal with the injury in an effective way for their mental health (Rogers, n.d.) It has been proven that negative feeling and high levels of stress can slow down a recovery process. Psychological strategies, provided by a sports psychologist can help the athlete down the road to full recovery. The psychologist can help educate the athlete about the injury and recovery process to keep them informed and to reduce uncertainty with future injuries (Rogers, n.d.).
Even though adding a sports psychologist is the best option to keep dancers healthy, there is still some opposition. It’s argued that this treatment will take too much time and will be too expensive for the students in the long run it will be the most effective. There is no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to mental health and reducing stress on the athletes (Moffett, n.d.). This will take at least a few months of consistent meetings between the two to break down the barriers the athlete has put up around themselves, allowing them to share what is going on and causing this added stress (“Sport psychologists help professional and amateur athletes”, 2017). On average, it will cost $600 a month per athlete for an hour a week of individual time with a psychologist. But many premier psychologists have stated they would reduce prices for groups of athletes (“Appointments”, n.d.). When comparing this to the cost of being injured there really is no question of what the better option is. On average a physical therapy appointment is $100 and many athletes go to 1-3 appointments per week. Doctors’ appointments, surgeries, tapes, and boots to try to heal the injuries would end up being much more expensive (“Appointments”, n.d.).
There is no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to mental health and reducing stress on the athletes (Moffett, n.d.).
When looking at young children’s health it is important to take it very seriously and put up any money or time necessary in order to help them. If the teachers at Orlando Ballet School were to bring a sports psychologist in to talk to the students one on one each week their stress levels would be reduced dramatically. This would not only benefit their mental health, but decrease the risk of injury and keep them dancing at their best for the longest amount of time possible. The sports psychologists would be able to help everyone in many unique ways, helping them learn to enjoy their sport more and stay injury free longer.
This would not only benefit their mental health, but decrease the risk of injury and keep them dancing at their best for the longest amount of time possible.
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