About Beyond the Outcome

Beyond the Outcome is a searchable collection of articles about current topics in athlete mental health. I hope this helps you as an athlete or coach in developing awareness of mental health and reducing the stigma associated with it. 

Show All 2018 Stories

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How Is Your Mental Health These Days?

.....Several weeks ago, the psychologist Lisa Damour wrote a Well column about how adults could help teenagers attend to their emotional needs as school resumed for a school year that seemed likely to be a challenging one. Some teenagers who read the column responded by asking Ms. Damour to write another column, this time addressed to them rather than to their parents......

.....In “Dear Teenagers, Here’s How to Protect Your Emotional Well-Being,” Ms. Damour does just that — and offers these five suggestions for young people....

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Bethany`s Notes: A solid read for teens, parents of teens, teachers of teens and coaches of teens. The author also provides a place for feedback from teens and what has been helpful for them throughout COVID-19.

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`Find a balance`: Mental health, social connections cited in debate over playing prep sports
.....“I learned more from being an athlete than as a student, and I was valedictorian at Middleton. I learned more about self-confidence and applying myself. Academics are really important, but athletics are up there to me, especially for girls. These kids don’t have the outlet they normally have.”.....
.....“I want my children to be healthy — mind and body,” said Murphy, who’s been an active participant on social media about the topic that has drawn passionate responses from differing viewpoints. “We have to find a balance (between mental health and safety). The mental health part of this is so huge.”.....
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Bethany`s Notes: Different approaches from different counties about who is having sports and how the criteria differ. We know that sports are an important component of social development for students at all levels. I know none of these decisions are easy. My hope though is that they are regularly evaluated.

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Imposter Syndrome and its Impact on Mental Health and Performance in College Athletics- Part One
.....Think of how hard it must be to be a high-level athlete; to have your self-worth and competence determined by those around you. Say you are a wide receiver and you drop a perfect pass in the open. Say that pass could’ve led to a touchdown or would have brought you from behind in a game’s waning moments to win. You are hard enough on yourself, so not only are you upset and question your own skills, but then you’ve got everyone around you harping on you because of it. You know you’ve trained hard, and it’s something that you have done in practice, but you didn’t do it on the big stage. Seeds of doubt slip in: Am I a good player? Are my teammates upset with me? Did I disappoint my coach? What kind of hate will I get on social media? How will this impact my performance going forward? Will I go from being a starter to a backup? Will I fade into the background?.....   ...more

Bethany`s Notes: As fans we need to make sure we value the person long before we criticize the athlete. With social media at an all time high...negative words can have a huge impact on an athlete`s worth.

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American ‘SUPERATHLETE’ Revelations Prove No One Is Immune From Mental Health Challenges
.....Quotes included, “I remember sitting in my room for days not wanting to be alive. That was a struggle for me. I reached the point where I finally realized I couldn’t do it alone,” (Michael Phelps).....
I underestimated mental health. I had anxiety, a little bit of depression, from being locked in the bubble. I just wasn’t here, I was checked out. Games 2,3,4, I wasn’t there,” (Paul George).
If mental health can bring somebody as big and strong as me to my knees, then it can bring anybody to their knees,” (Tyson Fury).

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Bethany`s Notes: The more men speak out about mental health and their challenges the more others around them will understand they are not alone.

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7 takeaways from HSOT webinar about mental, physical health of student-athletes during pandemic
....."I actually do think that there are a few, so while I think (the pandemic) will have a lasting impact on our kids and they`ll remember it, it will probably feel a little bit like a scar, or a loss that just kind of stings when they think about it down the road," Hack said. "The flip side of that is, and what I`ve heard from some of the athletes is, it`s actually been a nice respite and a nice break from their crazy, hectic schedule, so they`ve been actually able to recuperate quite a bit."

Hack said some of the athletes he`s worked with have also used the down time to find their "why" again too.....

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Bethany`s Notes: An important read for every parent and coach on the mental and physical well-being of high school athletes during COVID-19.

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With competition on hold, athletic departments zero in on student athletes’ mental health
.....Coaches are also looking at ways they can better support athletes’ mental health. The P-P athletic department recently created a coaches’ Mental Health Committee made up of coaches, staff members and athletic trainers to have constant conversations about how they can better support student-athletes. 

“I think what’s great about the [coach’s] committee is that because it’s made up of so many people, it shows … that we are all invested in supporting our student-athletes,” Merrill said. “The formation of the committee showed that [the commitment to mental health] is more than just lip service. Our folks are working to get things done.”......

.....Merrill refers to mental health as a spectrum — it’s “very normal” for people to be anywhere on the spectrum of wellness, and giving student-athletes the resources to seek help is what P-P aims to achieve.

“But what’s most important is that we know [that] when they slide to the end and they’re just not feeling well, that they know the resources they have available and can utilize them,” she said.....

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Bethany`s Notes: Great news and focus coming from a NCAA DIII school. The more we can support students and help them understand the spectrum of mental health the better they can ask for resources when they need them.

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Athletes need mental health support beyond performance psychology
.....At Ithaca College, the vast majority of mental health support for athletes centers on performance in competition. The college’s sport psychology graduate program includes opportunities for students to work with individual athletes and sports teams at the college on their mental training. Teams that participate in sports psychology sessions cover topics like effective goal setting, resilience and stress management during competition.

Mental illness is notably absent from the curriculum. Instead, athletes are taught in spaces like the Sports Leadership Academy that they are only committed to their teams if they are constantly putting in extra work. They are taught that a real leader never has two bad days in a row. They are taught that the pandemic is a time to accelerate, not a time to coast. While these messages can be encouraging and inspirational for some, they can also be incredibly damaging, especially to athletes who are struggling the most with their mental health......

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Bethany`s Notes: Mental health for athletes goes way above sports psychology. Honestly, most mental health issues are systemic and have connections to all parts of your life, even all the back to childhood. We cannot just address performance because that only scrapes the surface of the larger issues.

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As a Casual Athlete, Do I Need More Sleep?

So how does sleep affect performance? Well, it may come down to simply what happens while we sleep.

During N3 sleep (the stage in which the body heals and repairs itself), slow-wave sleep growth hormone is released, which promotes muscle growth and repair, Dr. Rodriguez explains. What`s more, sleep can help the immune system. So if you`re not getting enough sleep — or enough quality sleep — your body may not be able to repair itself properly and keep your immune system up to date.

"Additionally, stress and anxiety before a competition may limit your sleep time," Dr. Rodriguez added. For athletes who may feel the pressures of races, long training runs, and extensive goals, sleep may actually be interrupted by stress.

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Notes:

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Recognizing and Battling the Mental Health “OPPONENT”
.....Following a disappointing race at Rio 2016, René Holten Poulsen continued to train hard. He was improving physically during the three years leading up to the 2019 World Championships, yet his times in competition were slower. Poulsen describes the incomprehension and frustration he felt through this difficult time, and what helped him get through it......
.....So, finally, I actually had an opponent. And from there, I started writing diaries, reading books, and working with a sports psychologist we have at Team Denmark. Writing the diary, and finding out what I felt, why I felt it, how it had affected me and how I felt about it, was a process that I went into just having to trust that, at some point, I was going to get out the other side. And I don’t know for sure if this is the reason why, but I just started feeling better and better......


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Bethany`s Notes: A rower from Denmark talks about the PTSD and trauma he experienced after the 2016 games and how it challenged him physically and emotionally the next 3 years.

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Mental health is personal to Wildcats forward Trinity Baptiste, who shares story with teammates

…..Mental health is personal to Baptiste, a senior graduate transfer from Virginia Tech. Baptiste’s mother was diagnosed with bipolar mental disorder when the UA forward was young.   “I was not able to be around her and be raised by her. So, from a kid, I had to learn … and I had to see how it affects people,” Baptiste said.....

“It’s important to have a good balance of your sport, family time, even time spent on the Internet,” Baptiste said. “Just as much as we train our bodies and work out every day, I think it’s important for us to really work on our mental (side), as well. Because you can look at someone and see that they’re strong — maybe admire them and watch them play and think, ‘Wow, they have everything going for themselves.’ But you never know what’s going on inside......

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Bethany`s Notes: Another great personal example of how personal experiences can help you better understand the mental health needs of others and show support for them.

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Mental Health for Athletes: How Mindfulness Can Help

....Quite often athletes find themselves in a mental environment that is not conducive to mindfulness. Analyzing past performances can create a mindset of judgement and resistance. Having a focus on outcomes often creates a situation where athletes grasp for more never allowing themselves to enjoy of the present moment....

....Focusing on future events creates grasping and paying too much attention to the past can create attachment which in turn may create feelings of discontent and regret. These emotions can play havoc on an athlete’s mental health.

In contrast when your awareness is on the present it allows you to notice things that create feelings of gratitude and engagement.....

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Bethany`s Notes
Notes: Have you tried mindfulness as a technique for sport? How has it worked for? What techniques have been beneficial? Please share with me your experiences.

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Great Resources

Beyond The Outcome (my blog)

Athletes Connected News From University of Michigan

Support For Sport

Balance Position

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Welcome / About Bethany
Thanks for your interest in Beyond the Outcome.

Brewster just recently completed her Master`s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She is interested in applying systemic therapies in team and individual settings. 
Players are often not only competing with other teams, they also compete with each other for positions, playing time, and, in some cases, scholarship money. These unique team circumstances can lead to conflict within and among team members, including the coaching staff. The need for more information on mental health is essential for both coaches and athletes.  This website provides a gathering of information and resources to help serve the sports community. 

Brewster is the current cross country/track and field coach for Edgewood College, located in Madison, Wisconsin. A highly decorated student-athlete while at the University of Wisconsin, Brewster has a total of 11 Big Ten championships to her credit. She was an All-American selection six times during her career. Post collegiately, she competed in the 1500m at the 2004 Summer Olympic Trails in Sacramento, CA. Brewster is a USATF Level 1 and 2 certified coach.
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