High school sports impact mental health

Exercise has been known to improve mental health, but when it comes to San Marin sports, some athletes feel it has a varied impact. Sports typically have practices after school, leaving limited time to get work done. Between that, and pressure to be a good athlete, student-athletes can feel a lot of stress during their seasons.

Junior Talya Satkin stepped back from cheer this year due to academic pressures.

“We only had practices three times a week, but I have a job and other schoolwork to do, so not doing cheer has helped me have more time for that,” Satkin said. “I’ve had more time to be less stressed out about how much I have on my plate.” 

Satkin feels more prepared to take on this year’s workload because she knows what to expect, and quitting cheer has also created less stress and more freetime. Ms. Mathews, who is a science teacher, as well as a coach for both cross country and lacrosse, notices that the

commitment can have different impacts on student-athletes.

“It goes two ways; some students are really on top of it and are really good with time management, and others are just so fixed on the sport that they forget about school, or they don’t have time after school to do both school and sports,” Mathews said.

Mathews realizes that sports take up a lot of students’ time, but she feels that she is more empathetic because she is both a teacher and a coach. She understands that students tend to have a lot on their plates. Not only is it tough to balance school, jobs, and time to yourself, but the actual sports put a lot of stress on athletes.

“There’s higher expectations for me because people see me as being a good athlete,” Freshman and JV football player Michael Sargent said. “They see me at a higher level, and playing the quarterback position obviously has more pressure to it.”

Sargent explained that not only does football take up a lot of time after school, but it also involves a lot of physical challenges. Even though it is tough, he feels rewarded by all of his hard work.

“Practices are tiring, especially with the conditioning,” Sargent said. “It’s physically and mentally tough, but the pressure just helps me to think more about the successes and winning instead of the failures.”

Some feel that playing and being active is a good stress reliever, and others think that the people are what helps to alleviate stress.

“The one season I wasn’t playing a sport I just got very depressed, and felt like there weren’t a lot of people there for me,” Sophomore Jenna Sampson said.

Sampson plays for the JV girls volleyball team, and also played softball on the JV team. She finds that being able to do sports helps her relieve stress and is especially grateful for the bonds she forms with the other people on the team. She feels that helps to improve her mental health.

“When you get on a team you become so much closer with people on the team. Every team I’ve been on for San Marin has really felt like a family,” Sampson said. “Knowing that people are there for me makes me feel better and less stressed.”

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