Last week, a little face lit up with awe and excitement. The story begins with a U9 hockey team who was wrapping up their practice. As they exited the ice, they passed by a much older and bigger U15 team:
The story didn’t end there...
The U9 team has since invited this older player to be a guest of honour at an upcoming tournament and he will make an appearance in the dressing room. Recognizing how much influence this was having on the players, the two teams have also opted to share a practice.
And all of this started with a fist bump. A simple acknowledgement from someone these youths look up to.
The reason we highlight this story is this:
The little things can often make the biggest difference.
The topic of mental health can often feel like an insurmountable problem to tackle. It affects so many people (1 in 5 per latest stats*) and it can be easy to miss. The instinctive response is to feel overwhelmed; as though we need to find giant strategies for this giant problem.
But the truth is, we need to start thinking in terms of everyday ways of being. How can we create positive environments and supportive culture in small but significant ways?
- Notice the small victories.
A team member who has been struggling with a skill suddenly masters it in practice. Take a second to congratulate them on breaking through.
- Have them support each other.
Every team has its natural talents. Have these individuals help encourage others that may need help with a certain skill.
A quick observation in private, “Hey, how are you doing these days? You seem more/less ______ than usual.” Maybe it’s nothing. But maybe it’s something and you’ve shown that you’re dialled in on them enough to care.
- Be the change.
People respond to leaders who walk the talk. Whatever your goals are for the culture of your team, be sure to set up moments where you can demonstrate the desired way of being.
*Canadian Mental Health Association, https://cmha.ca/brochure/fast-facts-about-mental-illness/
We’d love to continue sharing these feel-good stories!
Mental health improves with good news so we’d like to hear from you… Have you experienced a particularly impactful moment in sport? Who was it? What did they do? Was there a lasting impact from their efforts? Click here to share your story.