coping as a varsity freshman : LUSENET : APA Division 47 Exercise and Sport Psychology : One Thread

I'm having a terrible time finding my way this, my first year of collegiate athletics. My sport of choice is basketball and I have never been so frustrated, confused, angry, and resentful of it. Playing time is an integral issue in my case, as I suppose it is with many others, however my problems seems to run deeper than that. There is an obvious double standard which exists on my team which goes unspoken. Veterans can make mistakes on the court but rookies can't. When I get a chance to play I concentrate too hard on not making a mistake that will take me out of the game and in doing so I make said mistake. When I see the veterans making the same errors they play on without punishment. Not playing is the worst form of toruture that a competitive athlete can endure and I turn to you for much needed adivice. Compounding my problem is the fact that my coaching staff feels that I am not performing because I am not ready to compete at this level. Little do they know that they are the source of all my (and their) woes. If they would just give me the chance to play the way I know I can play I would be sure not to dissapoint, I'm sure of it. If my chance doesn't come along soon I'm afraid my game will atrophe and never be the same, as it is I'm alredy a shell of my former self (on the court). Help me please.

-- Chedo Ndur (, February 05, 1998


I would suggest either telling your coaches how you feel or asking them for private training. I am a college athlete and know what you are going through. I am now a junior and on my third coach and second assistant coach. Each caoch has had a different philosophy and it has been hard adjusting. I have found that letting them know how you feel is the most effective way of dealing with your problem.. Depending on your coach, this might not be easy. Asking for private training lets your coach know that you are unhappy with your performance and/or playing time; it also lets them know that you are frustrated. This way you know exactly what they want you to do.

-- Theresa Rosbert (trosbe1@UMBC.EDU), January 15, 1999.

From my experiences of college and high school athletics, I recommend that you take it easy on yourself. Wasting too much time thinking on mistakes waste valuable psychic energy on the court. You should not worry about the problems in the game or whenever veterans are making the same mistakes and not getting punish, instead you should just worry about yourself. You are young and the young players normally have it tougher because the coach is trying to see what your made of. My advice is to forgot the problems once you are on the court and jusy concertrate on basketball. When your are on the court and your start to worry about making a mistake, you should say a key word to yourself to calm fdown. For example you throw a bad pass, you could say to yourself "blank" meaning that you should forget about that mistakr and go on playing. if you not forget about the mistake, you whole game will suffer and you will waste valuable psychic and physical energy. You should evaluate your mistakes on the bench or after the game, and if you have any questions you can ask your asistant coach. Be careful on how you phrase your questions and the time you ask your questions. I recommend after or before practice to ask your coach questions on how to improve your game. Thus, this is all that you can do because ypu are a young player is trying to prove himself. Therefore, this is why I reccommend that you don't waste valauble psychic energy on worrying about mistakes on the basketball court while going through this tough period.

You are a young player so I suggest you have fun and go to school, o mean after all you are playing college basketball. Remeber you came to school to play basketball and to get an education. Now, if there are personal problems, I would recommend that you see a your schools sport psychologist and go from there.

-- Richard Griff (, January 27, 1999.

Just make sure not to let your frustration take you completely out of your sport. I was once a college freshman on a varsity team and I also had a difficult time adjusting. Unfortunately, I quit my sport after that year. My problems were not the same as yours. I played plenty, in fact I think that I started most of my games, but I was still overcome with self - doubt which made it hard for me to adjust psychologically. In retrospect I realize that no one expects freshmen to be the stars on the court or on the field. They expect you to struggle. Look at it as an opportunity to improve your game with the valuable feedback you can get from your coach. Two years from now you will probably be one of the best players on your team and have the respect of all the players and coaches as a result of your dedication and hard work. Don't give up.

-- (, June 03, 1999.

As a girl's basketball coach I would encourage you to do several things. The first is not to put the blame on anyone else for your preformance. This sounds harsh, but when you think about it, you have the ultimate control over what you do on the court. You can't dictate your teammate's behavior, or your coach's, but you can your own.

respond best to a player who comes and talkes to me outside practice in a calm, logical manner; who explains to me how they feel and why. I can't always change my behavior to what they want, but I can help them understand why I play one player over another. Sometimes there is just communication misunderstanding. As far as playing time, remember a coach takes into consideration many things when deciding who plays. When veteran players make the same mistake as you perhaps she knows this is not a very common mistake that this player usually makes, or that she knows by experience that this player can handle the situation by making up for the mistake in some other way. I tell my players they can get more playing time by "making a difference" when they do get in. Try to think of only the positive things you are going to do instead of mistakes that might happen, hustle your heart out during practice, show the coach you are willing to put in more than the required work, and be an enthusiastic player on the floor, and I think you might get some chances. Remember you have to earn your playing time, it is not a given. good luck

-- lynda camenzind (, February 25, 2000.

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