Hockey or Harvard: mental health and its connections to sports

The effects of sports on your mental health and schoolwork.

School sports are a big part of the high school experience, whether you are a part of them or not. The athletes themselves practice nearly every day rain or shine. But how does this affect the players’ school performance and mental health?
    These athletes juggle sports, school, their social life and any other extracurriculars that they do. Sports require a lot of physical and mental strength, which can tire an athlete out by the time they are home from practice, causing them to be exhausted and ready for a break. But they have to do more in the form of homework, which can be especially difficult for people who have a hard time sitting down to just do the work.

      “I try to just get as much schoolwork I can in class done,” junior Camden Cyrus said. “And then what I don’t get done, I try to squeeze in after practice or after games.” For many, it requires diligence to keep up with schoolwork as well as sports.

    Sports also can affect many students’ mental health, in either a positive or negative way. “And I think that it’s all about the environment that the players create.” Freshman Sydney Braaten said. “So I think that it can have a negative impact on people.”  The way that sports mainly affect your mental health is the environment that you are in. If someone is in a supporting and kind team it can positively affect their mental health. On the other hand, having a negative environment in their sport can really hurt their mental health. The environment that athletes and coaches create matters a lot.
    “The coach definitely plays a big part because if you don’t have a positive coach, you won’t have a positive team,” freshman Sydney Braaten said. 
    The coach of the team sets the mood of the team. If the coach is really laid back about the sport, then the atmosphere of that season will be laid back and could possibly lead to some of the athletes not doing their best.
    On the other end of the spectrum, some coaches can be overly cynical. These coaches can make the players have doubts about their skill, and could have negative affects on that person’s mental health. Although coaches play a big part in a team dynamic, it eventually boils down to the mindset of the athletes themselves.
    This mindset, of course, can be affected by the people around them and the experiences they have. But if the athlete is going into the season with a negative mindset, then the season isn’t going to be fun or a positive experience for them. 

Sports are a good outlet for stress and any other negative feelings because it is a break from your chaotic and normal life. Sports provide a good and healthy way to destress and think about things not connected to school. Having this break from stress is good for someone’s well being and can have positive effects on academics. 

This is how sports affect an athlete’s mental health and school. It will be hard and there will be times where everything seems like it will crumple up. But like what Muhammad Ali said, “You’re not going to enjoy every minute of the journey, but the success you’ll find at the end will make it all worth it.”