Culture. What a wonderful word. Full of connection, support and collaboration. As a country, and as a world, we have embraced sport at the forefront of our community. It is the definition of culture that we hold, celebrate and cherish.
Sport has the capacity to bind—to unite community in a show of togetherness and support in those who are lucky enough to compete, partake or simply lucky enough to appreciate.
With all that is going on in the world, we are now experiencing less connection, less togetherness and unfortunately less opportunity to support. Teams are adopting new protocols and ways of existing that have never before been experienced. Coaches are doing everything they can to ensure their players are well and back on the ice, the court, the pitch, and the field. However, in all this confusion we mustn’t lose sight of what is most important - the mental health of our athletes and how it is impacted by culture. Not just culture in general but the culture within their sporting community, within their teams.
It is the responsibility of those of us who love sport, and those of us who champion our athletes to provide them with a space that delivers exactly what we expect of them. A place where they can feel connection and support.
In times of great confusion we often look to people and places that are familiar, that are safe. The culture within your team can be just that!
I encourage you to ask yourself:
- What team culture have I created?
- Have I created a place where my athletes want to be?
- Is this a place where they can exhale? Where they can get a break from the challenges of school, home, challenges that have been brought on by COVID-19?
And lets go one step further:
- Is the team culture I created contributing to healthy mental wellness in my athletes?
As leaders in the sporting community we must be the champions we expect our athletes to be. We must create a space, a safe space, where they can grow and develop in all factions of their lives.
Our sport will thank us for it. Our athletes will thrive as a result of it.
Free WEbinar: The Secret to Developing Elite Athletes
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Shifting the way athletes identify and honour their mental health should be a part of any coach's playbook. We would like to invite you to learn more about the link between athletes’ mental health and team culture.