Think of the adjectives that come to mind when you think of an athlete. Most people would use words like strong, tough, fit, quick and “on-top.” These qualities, albeit true, often pigeonhole college athletes and give them the impression that they have to uphold a front of complete perfection, ranging from their physical attributes to their mental health.
Student-athletes experience the same stress-inducing instances that typical students do, but some additional stressors include high athletic performance expectations, strict time demands, and being in the public eye. This constant pressure for achievement, excellence, and acceptance from others can cause student-athletes suffering from depression and anxiety to bottle their pain to seem strong. Much of this can be attributed to the sports culture, which typically does not encourage an athlete to address how they feel or talk about their feelings. However, speaking about mental health illnesses does not make an athlete weak. Think about mental health as being a separate muscle group in an athlete’s body – an athlete needs to make sure it’s healthy and getting the proper treatment and enrichment that it needs to be successful.
Mental health illnesses in college students and student-athletes are not uncommon. In the 2016 American College Health Association National College Health Assessment, approximately 31% of men and 40% of women in college reported feeling so depressed it was difficult to function in the past 12 months. A survey of nearly 21,000 Division I, II, and III college athletes at nearly 600 schools indicated mental health issues were not uncommon. In a 2016 publication from the NCAA, approximately 30% of students self-reported feeling overwhelmed. Thankfully, in 2017, the resources for student-athletes who are struggling are abundant. Asking for help is one of the bravest things a person can do. Many times, when initially discussed with coaches or teammates, mental health issues can be targeted and the appropriate help for the athlete can be determined. Many universities offer mental health programs on campus, and some even provide services and therapists within the athletics department.
The most important thing for a student-athlete struggling with a mental health illness is to realize that it is okay not to be okay. Help is out there. It is equally essential for universities and their athletic departments to promote mental health awareness and offer resources for their students and student-athletes.
When doing research in the recruiting process for my daughter I came across the LRT Sports website. I was immediately intrigued as this was another dimension of the recruiting process that many people don't even consider. My daughter and I could "short list" schools based on the education she was looking for, as well as the opportunity to play her sport. LRT Sports not only gave us pertinent information into the recruiting process with different interviews of coaches and players, it also gave us insight into current and/or former players' opinions on the coach of that school in her sport. We could use this information to re-prioritize my daughters list of schools based on this feedback. I have many friends that are, or will be, going through this process shortly and I highly recommend using LRT Sports as part of anyone's recruiting process.
The college process presents a myriad of challenges. Factor in athletics and it becomes even more daunting. Now, add the fact that you have zero experience with sports. What is a the mother of a college bound student-athlete to do? LRT Sports has truly lived up to its promise. It has kept "the college recruiting process honest and easy by providing first hand information about coaches, schools and the recruiting process." Their interviews with current students, coaches, and professional athletes have provided realistic guidance. I am much more informed because of LRT Sports! The coach ratings are the most helpful. LRT Sports interviews allow us to hear from students as to how the adults are impacting not only their athletic experience but also how they are helping to shape their adult self.
The C.A.L.C. was thrilled to have Keirsten Sires come and speak to us on multiple topics relevant to high school athletics today, including recruiting. Keirsten reached all of our students and left them with great strategies that will not only help on the fields, courts, and mats, but also in the game of recruiting. She was a true professional and delivered a wonderful message.
Now that the recruiting process and the related stress is over, I wanted to thank you for your guidance. You did so much more than we had expected. Once you started the process by matching the best academic schools first, not the best sport programs, I knew you were the one. The way you laid out a timeline of contacting coaches, visits, and camps completely took any guesswork out of the plan for us. All of the student athletes that you put us in touch with gave us a look from the inside, and made us more comfortable knowing what was coming. Finally, using your website as a resource for knowing what to expect from different coaches based on former recruit reviews gave my son confidence before our meetings. There is no way we could have figured this out on our own, you really put us in a great position when decision time came.
I think hearing from other athletes is very beneficial. To be able to learn from people’s mistakes, and to be able to have access to those voices is really helpful; especially voices that have been there and done that. It’s very important for people to have access to information that could benefit them, and in this case there are many voices that can help the next wave of athletes.
If you have something that’s going to spell [the recruiting process] out for you… it’s so valuable. I think what everyone at LRT Sports is doing to spread the word and help advocate and educate athletes on the recruitment process is incredible.
Without question would have used LRT Sports. It would have probably been one of the most valuable tools that I could have had. If you want to know what these coaches are really like then I think this is the best tool out there. I’m really glad you are allowing recruits to have a resource like this moving forward.