Support for Student Athletes During...

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Support for Student Athletes During COVID-19

September 02, 2020

After the spring 2020 season was cut short, many student-athletes were left wondering what would happen going forward. From the loss of being a part of their team to missed scholarship and college opportunities, student athletes have been forced to live in a challenging and confusing time that would normally be full of excitement and lasting memories with teammates.

A big life lesson a lot of us have learned this year is that we can’t control much in life. External factors that we often take for granted are not as stable as we once thought. There are, however, things you CAN control, and it’s important to identify and lean into these things. Whether you are a student athlete, or you are a parent or caregiver supporting a student athlete, here are some practices that can bring back a sense of purpose and drive.


You are full of energy. Structure and routines are important features in an athlete’s life and it’s important to keep moving forward with those things. Your sport is your outlet for energy, frustration, socialization, and many other things. Setting and accomplishing goals is a huge part of what makes sports such an important and valuable piece of your life.

  • What at-home or safe strength and conditioning programs can you practice?
  • Set some goals (or re-open some goals that were dropped off last spring) and keep moving toward them.
  • Continue to develop the skills specific to your sport. Drills and skills training will keep you sharp for when it’s time to play again.

Staying connected to your team and other athletes is huge. Your teammates are truly the only people who can really understand how this is affecting you.

  • Reach out and maintain safe communication on a regular basis. Consider asking a few friends to participate in a weekly check-in on Zoom.
  • Set goals together, and work to keep each other accountable. Remember, you are not doing this alone!


Entering each day with a positive mindset controls how you live each day. Find the good all around you to combat the cycle of sadness or anxiety you may be struggling with.

  • Enjoy every moment. Focus on “now” rather than the past or future. Don’t take any moment that you can practice your sport for granted. If you are able to practice your skills safely, or maybe even begin your season – play each game like it’s your last and savor every moment, win or loss.
  • Write it down. Self-care is a big topic these days, but what does that look like for athletes? Try writing down and documenting your goals. Writing down your goals makes them feel more concrete and documenting how you are improving each day or training session will help give you a sense of control and accomplishment.
  • What is your “why”? For this, we are asking you to consider why you play your sport to begin with. What does it mean to you, how has it changed you or inspired you to be your best? Now, consider what other ways you might be able to achieve this sense of “why” until you are able to play again. How is your relationship with your sport changing this year?

In a year full of unknowns, waiting to see whether or not you’ll be playing as usual or on hold for the future, it’s important to take a moment and consider how to “control the controllable”.

If you need additional support or want some one-on-one counseling regarding supporting student athletes, please reach out to us. Our therapists have experience specific to helping athletes in all areas of their lives.

A soccer ball on the field with the words Support for Student Athletes During Covid-19. Find support during this time with our Hinsdale mental health services.

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