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Youth Athletes "FEAR" During Today's COVID-19 Culture


To say that we are currently living in a confusing, ever changing and for many, a fearful time is a mammoth understatement. COVID-19 has adversely affected every corner of the world and is daily reaching new anxiety levels in the US. Day-to-day life as we know it has halted for the foreseeable future and fear, worry and angst have become the new normal.

Our sports world is not immune to this pandemic; professional, amateur, recreational and youth sports are on hiatus, leaving a massive gap in lives and communities. Through all of this, the psyche of the young athlete can become confused and depressed. Fear takes over; “Will I ever be able to play again?” “Will my teammates be ok?” “Can I get sick if I play?”

The idea of “FEAR” being a component as things play out is a big deal

George Menninger — co-founder of the world-renown Menninger Psychiatric Clinic — once said, “Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.

There is an ancient Japanese proverb, which says, “Fear is only as deep as the mind allows."

Those two thoughts come into play in this COVID-19 culture. The more facts we learn and understand about the virus, we are not shutting down because of worry about a wide-spread wiping out of the population, but, rather, to “flatten the curve” of the demands put on our medical establishments, protect the most vulnerable, figure things out, etc.

The same approach can be applied to athletics. We fear opponents, skills, equipment, activities, etc., that we do not fully understand. Once more knowledge is acquired, then applied, the fear level drops dramatically and the confidence level rises. Yet, this is incredibly difficult for young athletes to comprehend and accept. Parents, coaches and leaders can create a level of understanding and peace for young athletes.

Positive Coaching Alliance encourages adults to present an encouraging model for young athletes creating teachable moments that can help deter fear and engage hope. Sports Teach!

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