Truly embracing culture means not only looking at it from within but also looking at the factors that influence how it develops. While teams and coaches are figuring out ways to make the best of the predicament in which we find ourselves - we cannot lose sight of what is happening to our athletes.
Last time, we spoke about the impact your team's culture has on your athletes' mental health and leaderships' responsibility to create safe spaces where they can grow and develop. The mental health of an athlete can also effect your team's culture as well.
It can be said that our athletes are adjusting and dealing with the new world of sport with great adaptability and acceptance. However, we must remember that their worlds outside of sport have also been turned upside down.
Everything looks different.
Some factors impacting the mental wellness of our athletes include:
- Their ability for a sense of normalcy has been limited; time with friends;
- school expectations;
- spending so much more time at home or being far away from the comforts of home;
- and heavy reliance on social media for connection.
Why should you care?
Because you care about the wellness of people. What our athletes are experiencing and dealing with outside of sport is absolutely going to impact what they bring to your team culture.
When our athletes are struggling, they are unable to perform how they're expected to. They are unable to show up how they would like to show up. The old adage of "leave it off the field" or "off the ice" or what have you is not reality.
When their mental health is being challenged. When they are working so hard to feel better or simply be well enough to show up at all makes it so that their ability to connect, to look outside of themselves and participate in the amazing culture you are creating is fiercely diminished.
Mental health will impact your culture. When athletes are happy, they have a greater ability to connect and embrace those around them. Caring about the mental health of your athletes can have a tremendous impact on how they experience not only their sport but who they are outside of sport.
Coaches set the tone for culture.
When athletes feel as though their coaches care about them as a whole – they are inherently impacted. Such a relationship between a coach and his/her players has the power to shift how individuals experience their environment and at the very least get away from the challenges they may be facing... even for a little bit.