Publication Date

Spring 4-26-2017

Document Type

Capstone project: Open access

Degree Name

MA Leadership Studies

Department

Leadership Studies

Abstract

Student athletes face challenging situations during their time at college which can cause their experience to be a negative one if they are not fully supported. This can be due to several factors; most athletes face an immense amount of pressure to succeed in the classroom as well as in their sport. Also, many athletes are moving away from home for the first time and this can be a daunting feeling. They are expected to manage all of these challenges, and if mishandled, it can lead to an overwhelming amount of negative stress resulting in an unsuccessful time as a student athlete. Furthermore, the intensity and pressure of their sport can be detrimental to other areas of their life. Many of these young athletes do not possess the leadership skills necessary to manage these tasks and remain in a healthy state of mind.

My recommendation is not to take away these challenges, but rather offer support systems which empower student athletes to be able to manage the struggles they encounter in university settings. This mindfulness program enables people to be present and aware of themselves, acknowledge what their body is saying to them, and take action in a calm focused way to move into a healthy state of mind. My program offers communication at the individual and group level, techniques to be present, manage stress, and motivate positive thoughts which create pathways for successful experiences.

Mindfulness practices are new to sports and are not currently applied to college athletics; however, the stress and challenges associated with being a student athlete are ever present. Therefore, I argue that college programs/coaches need to provide support systems which help their students be successful. This would then become a platform whereby they could succeed athletically, academically, personally, and prepare them for life outside of college.