Six Strategies to Help With Your Team's Mental Health

PHOTO COURTESY OF EARLHAM COLLEGE ATHLETICS


This article appears in the September/October edition of USA Lacrosse Magazine. Join our momentum.

Earlham College women’s lacrosse coach Lindsey Grundfast has always prioritized mental health in her program, going as far to include “taking care of yourself” as a team goal every year. After an IWLCA virtual convention session on the subject last December, Grundfast wrote a “Behind the Whistle” blog post with useful takeaways from the discussion with other coaches.

Here are six ways you can game plan for mental health.

1. MENTAL HEALTH DAY

Give each players a mental health day in the fall if  they give you 24-hour notice. If they need a second day, they can have it, but they must also schedule a meeting to talk about what’s going on.

2. SMALL GROUP MEETINGS

At UVA Wise, they split into groups consisting of a member from each class, then meet with a coach. They focus on emotional intelligence and meditative practices.

3. RESET DAY

One day a week, check in by asking your athletes to rate their stress level on a scale of 1-10 and explain why. This helps you anticipate the team’s is and how to best coach them that week. 

4. JOURNALING

Give each athlete a notebook and provide prompts throughout the week. At the end of the week, if an individual wants, he or she can turn in the notebook for coaches to read. Questions are open-ended, such as, “What are you proud of this week?” or, “What did you do that you don’t think the coaches noticed?”

5. START/STOP/CONTINUE

At the end of each week, send a Google form to the team. Ask about the following week: What do you want to start doing? What do you want to stop doing? What do you want to continue doing? Leave it with an open-ended question: “Anything else we should know?”

6. SHOUTOUTS

At the end of each practice, one player from each class shouts out someone on the team for something positive he or she did during practice that day. 







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