If you’re a coach and an athlete came to you wanting time off because they’re struggling with their mental and physical health, you might feel as though they’re letting down the team. Certified strength and conditioning specialist Amanda Tierney shares her point of view,  which will make you look at the situation in a completely different light.


Read the transcript

[Tina]  I’m a high school or collegiate coach, and I had an athlete come to me. I could tell they were having a hard time, and they’ve asked me for some time off. They’ve asked me and said that they really need to take care of their mental health and their physical health. I want to be supportive of them, but also they committed to this team and they committed to doing the right thing. Maybe not the right thing, but they committed to being there for the team and supporting the team. And I want to be there for them, but it’s hard because I know I’m losing out on performances that will make our team better. What should I do? 

 [Amanda]  Is performance the only thing that can contribute to the team?

 [Tina]  Let’s say in this example or for this person, yeah, maybe it is. That’s how they feel about  it.

[Amanda]  So they’re like one of your top performers. 

[Tina]  Yes.  

[Amanda]  What would happen if they broke their leg? Would you want them to keep running, or would you want them to take some time off just to heal so that they can perform?

[Tina]  Absolutely give them time off. 

[Amanda]  What would be different with mental health?

[Tina]  It’s a very good point. Is there anything else you would add to this person right now, this coach who might be watching this?

[Amanda]  I think that the nice thing about being a coach, at least for me, is I get to coach a lot of different individuals. And truly you get to use your own creativity and your strengths as a coach to help that athlete thrive. If someone’s going to be kind of ignoring any  mental health concerns or physical health concerns to try and perform the best that they can, it’s likely that that’s going to be the barrier and hindrance to their performance. So I think just trying to cultivate an environment where an athlete can come to you and say, “Hey, I’m really struggling with sleep,” or “I’m really struggling with my nutrition or mental health,” or “My toe really hurts every time I run,” and  kind of keeping them all on the same playing field, and providing the resources in the same way that you would if they need to go to the athletic trainer because they broke their leg. I would just say keeping things prevention and performance-focused could be really helpful long-term for your goals and the goal of the athlete. 

 [Tina]  Great; thank you so much.

check it out

Recovering from RED-S is hard. It’s even harder if you’re working through it alone. Even if you have professional support, they’re not available 24-7, and that can lead to going down search engine rabbit holes that have the potential to derail everything.

Our online resource, RED-S: Realize. Reflect. Recover, will answer all those questions swimming around in your head about recovery. It will give you the opportunity to connect with the experts you’ve come to know here, and to surround  yourself with a community of others who are going through it too.

THANK YOU! to Athletic Greens and Tracksmith for supporting this YouTube series and RED-S: Realize. Reflect. Recover.

Go to athleticgreens.com/reds to get five free travel packs of AG1 and a free one year’s supply of vitamin D3+K2 with your subscription!

When you go to https://tracksmith.com/tina and use the code TINA15 at checkout, you’ll get free shipping and Tracksmith will donate 5% of your order to Rising Hearts, the Indigenous-led nonprofit founded by Jordan Marie Daniels.

more about amanda:

Amanda Tierney, MS, CSCS, CEDS-S is located in St. Louis, MO and is originally from New Jersey/Philadelphia. She has two young kids, a wonderful husband, and a howling beagle mix. She is an eating disorder informed & sensitive fitness provider who works with athletes and general ED programming with safely integrating the movement/sport training/therapeutic recreation aspect to their recovery. Amanda has a private training practice,Discovering Balance: Fitness Coaching and Support, and is the director of The Victory Program and Fitness at McCallum Place. You can find her at https://www.rockthebalance.com/.

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