Atlanta Teen Voices / all

Article by Nathan Dollinger, North Springs High School

How Mental Health Affects Athletes

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An athlete’s mental health can really affect their performance, confidence, and self-esteem. As a teen athlete, sometimes it is difficult to balance school, my sports, and other outside distractions. It is hard to balance and focus on everything when us teens have a lot going on outside of our sports.

If an athlete’s mental health is good, it can really motivate them to want to perform well and have a positive attitude. It will help them not get down when striking out, but keeping them motivated, wanting to keep working and getting better. Also, having good mental health will help a player stay positive when they are having a rough game. Next, having a good mental health and positive attitude really helps an athlete’s self-esteem and confidence. 

Professional athletes like MLB pitcher Tyler Matzek and NBA guard Demar DeRozan have suffered from depressive symptoms. In a 2018 interview with the Toronto Star DeRozan admitted that he suffered from depression and anxiety at that time in his career with the Toronto Raptors. Even though he went through these tough times Derozan, now with the Chicago Bulls, has remained one of the most talented players in the NBA. Matzek, a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves, had the “yips,” a condition that affected his ability to throw the ball accurately, midway through his career. After five years of being out of the major leagues, he got over the yips and became a huge part of the Braves’ 2021 World Series Championship. 

On the other hand, athletes struggling with their mental health can make them have a negative attitude, which can affect not only their mental game, but also their physical game. With a negative mental health, it is hard to perform well if you are really down on yourself. It can also affect your motivation to keep playing the game and will make yourself have no confidence at all.

As an athlete, sometimes it is hard to balance a rough day at school and then a baseball practice right after. Teen athletes can have a lot on their minds which can be positive or negative. Things such as homework, social, and home distractions are examples of this. It can help them have a positive attitude, or a very negative attitude on their team.

An athlete’s mental health can really affect their performance, confidence, and self-esteem. It truly is hard balancing school, my sports, and other outside distractions. This can really affect an athlete’s confidence and motivation to want to keep playing their sports. The mental side of an athlete’s game can be the most important part of it.


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