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Changing the culture of Mental Health in sports - can I please have feedback

Hey! you getcha, getcha, getcha, head in the game, does this sound familiar? We all know this song from high school musical and this chant has a positive effect on the outcome of the team success, however, this is just a story and yet in real life, we know that many sportspeople in elite sports teams struggle to get their head in the game.

Have you listened to how coaches speak to their athletes? If you take a look at the sidelines of the NFL there are many occasions of coaches bullying players both on the sidelines and in the locker room. Sometimes, more than often, in any other profession, these words would get us fired. Why do we think that it is okay for coaches to yell at a child’s face or shame them in front of their teammates? In a recent article from New Zealand, children are giving up their sport because of abusive sideline behaviour, the article states, that despite national campaigns over the past years, abusive sideline behaviour is still not uncommon across New Zealand. I ask you, does this culture really build champions?

Sport is all about wins and loses; it’s an outcome-based activity, and we want to win. In fact, I’ve yet to encounter someone who says, “It doesn’t matter if we lose.” We teach champions to be powerful, relentless, courageous, and aggressive in order for them to win championships.kl;

We also train champions how to suppress and conceal their emotions.

In response to an NCAA survey in 2015, about 30% of college athletes self-reported they had been “overwhelmed during the past month.”Our champion athletes are taught what it takes to win, and how they should feel and act. How can we possibly build a culture of champions with that type of attitude?”

People create pressure for themselves. The only way we can ever experience ‘pressure’ is to create it in our own minds. Some teams and individuals habitually underperform when they reach major world events. The reason for this may well be because the athletes feel pressure to perform for their nation.
This is true, here in New Zealand where 2016 Olympic cyclist Olivia Podmore was found dead on the 9th of August, hours after she posted on Instagram about the pressures of competing. The questions remain why? Why should someone be in a position to take their life when they are top sportspeople who are doing what they love? It just doesn’t add up because we should all be celebrating their successes and not dwell on selections and podium standings.

Mental health is associated with weakness, to appear weak is the last thing an athlete wants. Being a part of this culture makes it so hard for athletes to differentiate between what is hard work and what is pushing yourself too far?
From the high-performance sports New Zealand, they held a mental health symposium in 2018, that highlighted the need to grow awareness of mental health issues in elite sport in New Zealand, Over 20% of top athletes in New Zealand, experience mental health challenges. What is needed now is a strong commitment from all sporting bodies in New Zealand to be educated and the need for a balance of programmes with both well-being and physical training programmes.
We need to be very aware of how athletes are feeling across the country and consistently be evaluating them, and athletes need to be aware of their mental health so that they can learn how to manage this lifestyle. I hope I hear this conversation becoming louder, I hope mental health stops being stigmatized for all people.
I would like to leave you with this quote from the tennis legend Serena Williams “I really think a champion is defined not by their wins but by how they can recover when they fall”

Kiā ora and welcome to Studyit.
The Oral presentation standard is kind of in two parts. One is the content of the speech you are delivering and the other is in the actual delivery of the speech. So I can comment on the content but without seeing it presented can’t comment on the other part.
This is a great topic to look at, relevant and one very much in the news at the moment.
The opening is catchy and gives a good lead in. You establish the topic straight away which is good. You use questions well to engage the audience. You use sound evidence from a variety of sources to support your argument and leave the audience with a thoughtful quote.
So the content is looking really good.
I hope the presentation goes equally well! Good Luck!
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