More light continues to be shed on the overwhelming demands placed on student-athletes in high school and college, and on the mental health struggles many of them face. Whether it’s while participating in their sport, or when transitioning out of sport, integrating the “athlete identity” into life outside the field, pool, court, or rink can be extremely difficult. It’s clear the assumption that sport skills transfer to life needs revision. A more accurate version would read: Sport skills transfer to life when coaches teach athletes how to properly apply them.
But, is it surprising that student-athletes are experiencing these struggles? The research says no. While some coaches believe they don’t need to explicitly help athletes transfer skills from sport to life, other coaches need extensive experience before gaining the ability to help athletes learn life skills (Bean & Forneris, 2017; Pierce, Kendellen, Camiré, et al., 2018).
To complicate the matter, with all the responsibilities placed on sport coaches – coaching at practice, watching film, planning, recruiting, budgeting and administrative demands, potentially managing the coaches they lead – it’s no surprise that there is a lack of formal professional development in the field (Gano-Overway & Dieffenbach, 2019).
Enter MindReady, which was created to help athletes and their coaches become champions in their own right. Instead of adding a stable of sport psychologists to a program’s staff, or wasting money offering training to coaches who are already overburdened and stretched thin, MindReady’s multi-week mental skills training curriculums and one-on-one mental skills training sessions offer affordable training that the entire sport industry needs. Pushing harder isn’t always better. It’s time to think better, play better, and be happier.
These results provide some credence to claims made that it takes time for coaches to learn how to effectively teach sport skills and life skills concurrently30 and that some coaches (i.e. particularly less-experienced coaches) perceive life skills transfer as an inherently implicit process that requires little deliberate attention.31