Tuesday, October 4, 2016

News U Can Use: "Helping Teen Athletes Cope with Stress"

"If your adolescent athlete has a difficult soccer game, do you tell them not to worry about it? Or do you suggest they speak to their coach for tips on how to improve? How do you know if your words of wisdom are helping or harming?

Over the years these questions have plagued many parents, but now researchers from U of T's Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education are finding ways for parents to help their children cope with sport-related stress. Their findings were recently published in the International Journal of Sport Psychology.

"We've found that the things parents say and do have an impact on the way athletes deal with stress in sport," says assistant professor Katherine Tamminen, lead author of the study. "When parents talk directly to their child about active coping in sport, the athlete is more likely to use those strategies to deal with stress."

When athletes use active coping, including practicing their sport skills or asking a coach or teammate for help, they're more likely to enjoy their sport and improve their performance. These skills can also translate into future success – adolescence is a key time when athletes are developing coping patterns and these techniques can reduce anxiety when facing stress in school and at work.

Being able to effectively manage stress depends on choosing the right strategy for the right situation – sometimes it's best to put in extra effort to deal with a problem, but in other cases it can help to take a step back from a problem. "It's important for parents to help athletes find ways to develop their own solutions to solve their problems rather than telling them what to do or that a problem isn't important...."  
READ MORE http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-09-adolescent-athletes-cope-stress.html