Performance Coach Jamie
Olympus Movement Performance
Sport psychology is the study of different factors that can influence athletes and their performance. It is used to help increase performance levels, the well-being of athletes, and participation. So how does sport psychology affect kids both in and out of sports? How does sport psychology play a role in helping equip kids with the tools they need to remain mentally healthy? What role do parents play?
In addition to helping kids get active and remain active, sports also play a huge role in developing major skills, qualities, morals, values, attitudes, and attributes that can drastically affect their success in the adult world. They gain the skills to effectively communicate, become a team player, establish leadership qualities, and are more likely to stay mentally healthy according to Jim Taylor PhD. Taylor states that if kids can learn how to develop healthy habits, morals, beliefs and attitudes at a younger age, then they are more likely to stay mentally healthy into their adult lives. This is especially important as the use of technology has caused an increase in the diagnosis of anxiety and depression in young children and teens.
According to the CDC, there has been a rise in the diagnosis of either anxiety or depression in children aged 6-17 years old from 5.4% in 2003 to 8% in 2011-2012. Similarly, social media use continues to rise with apps like Snapchat, Instagram, and Tik Tok just to name a few. Kids are spending more time on their devices and less time doing physical activity which can have a direct impact on not only their physical health, but mental health too. Taylor also mentions in an interview that females are of particular risk because they are more susceptible to comparing themselves to their peers.
Furthermore, parents play a vital part in making sure their kids have a positive experience in sports, some type of physical activity or both. Sport psychologists have found that it is important that kids have a positive experience with some type of physical activity by the age of twelve or they become at risk of not remaining active into their adult lives. Similarly, kids become more susceptible to obesity and health related issues, such as diabetes, in their adult lives should they not develop healthy relationships with food and exercise at younger ages. Parents' roles in helping kids develop healthy relationships with food and exercise is vital, and it starts at home with the conversations that we have surrounding these topics. Taylor also states that the way we speak about exercise impacts how kids will perceive it. He goes on to say that if a family adopts healthy eating and exercising as part of the family culture or “it’s just something our family has always done,” then kids will grow up to have a better mentality and relationship with both food and exercise. Taylor then goes on to say that while organized sport is a fantastic way kids are staying active, unorganized sport or activity is also a great way to develop healthy habits that lead healthy adult lives. For example, when an athlete's time in their sport comes to an end, having already developed a positive experience in unorganized sporting activities creates a much smoother transition out of the competitive sporting world. It helps diminish the feeling of being lost without their competitive sport which has a direct impact on the athletes mental health and well being going forward. Parents participating in unorganized sport activities with their kids and establishing it as part of the family culture can aid kids and teens through transitioning out of their sport.
Having positive conversations surrounding food and exercise, practicing what we preach to our kids, teaching them how to navigate making healthy choices in life, and establishing good morals and beliefs has shown to drastically improve the mental health in youth. Likewise, establishing good mental health and good habits at younger ages translates into healthy habits into adulthood and improved mental health at older ages. Sport psychology not only helps improve athletic performance for the elite, but is helping parents and kids learn how to get set up for a successful future.
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Olympus Movement Performance
North County San Diego
Author: Annemarie Alf
"We Specialize In Optimizing Teen And Active Adult Lives In North County San Diego By Addressing The WHOLE Person. We offer A Holistic, Integrative Approach To Performance And Wellness That Will Assess And Address The Root Causes That Lead To Pain, Hormonal Imbalances, Fatigue, Weight Gain And/ Or Decreased Performance."