Tips for students who miss the normalcy of sports and activities


As the nation continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, the future of school sports and all extracurricular activities remains unclear. Each school is weighing the options and risks to determine the best path forward. But even for those sports and activities that are able to resume in some capacity, athletes will likely be competing in empty stadiums, musicians will play in vacant auditoriums and actors will perform for empty seats.

Sports psychologist James Houle works with athletes at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and says many of their frustrations continue to grow as they miss things like preseason workouts and practices. He’s been meeting with an increasing number of athletes to help them cope with the changes this school year and offers tips, advice and affirmations to help athletes keep everything in perspective and stay mentally healthy through this difficult and uncertain time.

Houle recommends students follow the three S’s to help them through these uncertain times.

  • Stay present —Rather than worrying about what you’re missing out on, think about what you can do right now. Houle says when we live our lives day to day we tend to be happier, even if we’re in a difficult situation.
  • Shift your focus —you can’t change the current state of the world, but you can control how you react to it while finding ways to continue to move toward your goals. Try doing some solo workouts and practices or finding another activity to focus on and fill your time.
  • Seek connections —talking about your struggles with other students, coaches, parents or counselors can help you realize that you’re not alone. At Ohio State, sports teams continue to meet virtually. Houle and his team often join them to ensure that they’re getting the support they need.

Watch the video below for more details.