How a sport psychologist can help youth athletes

Young athletes can be hard on themselves and each other. A missed pass, a dropped ball, a slow swim time can lead to feelings of “I’m not good enough” and that they let their coach, teammates and even parents down.

While no athlete is immune to anxiety, teens seem to be particularly vulnerable to the effects. The pressure they put on themselves can be intense, and unfortunately they’re not necessarily able to manage it. And it can ultimately affect their performance.

UW Health sport psychologist Shilagh Mirgain, PhD, explains that anxiety causes us to think less clearly, have slower reaction times, tense our muscles and even be less willing to take risks. All of which can affect an athlete’s performance during the game.

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Bone Health and Teens

The body is an incredible machine. It performs countless functions without our knowing and is able to turn the food we eat into energy to do homework, play sports, lift the remote to change channels, walk the shores of Lake Mendota, and do every other activity we do. But what happens when our bodies don’t get the energy they need? This is a topic that has been studied by many doctors and organizations, including the International Olympic Committee.

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Going for the Gold?

Sport SpecializationI was going to write about a completely different topic for this week’s post, but I just saw an incredible presentation about sport specialization by UW’s own Alison Brooks, MD, MPH, and I can’t stop thinking about it. Dr. Brooks was presenting research about whether sport specialization – when an athlete focuses on one sport, usually throughout the year and at the exclusion of participation in other sports – is a healthy and effective way to help youth achieve their athletic goals. In other words, does someone who wants to play in the WNBA have to play in a year-round basketball league before high school (or even middle school)?

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Exploring Sports with Your Children

Exporing Sports with your ChildrenEveryone knows that children benefit physically from sports, but one of the over-looked benefits of playing sports is the life lessons. Team-based and individual sports can help kids develop a sense of confidence and improve their self-esteem. And you can help. We set the tone for their experiences. Consider the following when exploring sports with your children.

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