Growth Mindset: Why Coaches Should Prioritize Their Mental Health, Too

PHOTO COURTESY OF TRUESPORT

Dr. Kevin Chapman, clinical psychologist and founder of The Kentucky Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, believes that a coach who isn’t taking time for his or her own mental health is at a serious disadvantage.


This article appears in the December edition of USA Lacrosse Magazine. Join our momentum.

As a busy coach, you likely haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about your own mental health and wellness. Sure, you’ve told your athletes to seek professional help if they need it, or maybe even spent time doing group activities with your team to promote mental wellness.

But how are you doing?

Dr. Kevin Chapman (pictured above), clinical psychologist and founder of The Kentucky Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, believes that a coach who isn’t taking time for his or her own mental health is at a serious disadvantage. Here’s what you need to know.

You’re not invincible.

And you don’t have to be.

“It’s so important to normalize having a range of emotions.” Chapman said.

Check in with a professional — even before something is “wrong” in your life.

“Coaches generally understand that their athletes need to have a growth mindset and believe that they’re capable of changing and growing,” Chapman said. “But as adults, we tend to fall into the fixed mindset even if we don’t realize it.”







Your mental health impacts your work.

If you’re going through a tough time, you might struggle to stay on top of tactics in a fast-paced game, or potentially even miss warning signs of injury for your athletes.

“Your functioning is impaired when your mental health is not in order,” Chapman said. “And if your judgment is impaired, then you need to do something about it.”

Athletes emulate you — for better or worse.

Do as I say, not as I do … doesn’t work.

“Your athletes are learning more from your example, not from what you’re saying,” Chapman said. “Some coaches have this unrealistic expectation for themselves that they can’t show emotion, which trickles down to the team and what we teach our athletes.”

Transparency is powerful.

“If you can tell your athletes that you are not OK, and that you’re struggling with something, that’s going to enhance your rapport with your players,” Chapman said. “You’ll be surprised, too: Athletes are going to rally around you. They’ll appreciate your honesty and find you more relatable as a human, which will make you more effective as a coach and a leader.”

Excerpted from an article by TrueSport, a USA Lacrosse content partner.

MENTAL HEALTH AT LAXCON

USA Lacrosse, 15 for Life and Morgan’s Message have partnered to offer mental health programming at the 2023 USA Lacrosse Convention in Baltimore (Jan. 20-23).

On Friday, Jan. 20, USA Lacrosse will host its biennial sports medicine symposium, presented by MedStar Health, with a focus on mental health.

USALACROSSE.COM/LAXCON

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