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How Coaches Can Reduce The Stress Levels Of Their Athletes

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This PCA 1-on-1 interview features Candace Hogue (@cmhogue), a doctoral candidate in the Health Education & Psychology of Physical Activity Program at the University of Kansas. Hogue's mentor is PCA National Advisory Board Member Mary Fry (@maryfry10). Candace conducts both research and applied work in the field of Sport & Exercise Psychology. Specifically, Candace examines how caring, task-involving (mastery) climates vs. ego-involving (performance) climates impact stress and motivation.

In this interview, Hogue explains to Former PCA President Tina Syer (@tinasyer4) that it was truly the life lessons she learned throughout her athletic career that continue to influence her passion for helping kids through her research today. Primarily, this interview dives deep into Hogue's research on a caring climate and give tips and tools for parents and coaches on creating this climate.

Highlights of the podcast include:

  • How ego-involving environments result in higher stress levels than collaborative, supportive ones.

  • How ultra-competitive (ego-involving) environments result in higher levels of physiological stress (physical reactions to stress). This includes mental and physical well-being, weight gain, the ability to recover from injury, etc.

  • Physical stress levels (cortisol levels) decrease in collaborative, supportive environments at any performance level (youth through college).

  • In supportive and collaborative environments, athletes are willing to put more effort in and try new techniques and skills. They also have higher enjoyment levels, are more self-confident, and have less anxiety.

  • Hogue advises parents to ask coaches about their coaching philosophy to determine the environment before joining a team.

  • If a kid is put into a stressful athletic environment, parents can combat that by giving their kid the support system they need.

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