By Tracy Greenbaum, 6 Points Head Tennis Coach and High School Guidance Counselor at Western High School in Davie, FL
With World Mental Health Day that took place this past week, I wanted to reflect on some thoughts that I had as both a tennis coach and as a high school guidance counselor. In my counseling role at my high school I am reminded daily how important it is to be aware of what other people are going through. As most of us go about our daily lives we tend to get to get wrapped up in our own “to do” list and sometimes we forget that everyone is going through different situations and everyone handles situations very differently. As a guidance counselor I am trained and experienced in looking for signs of depression, anxiety, and other areas of mental and emotional disorders. What I can tell all of you out there is the most important thing that you can do on a daily basis is to listen. Listen to your friends, family, co-workers. You don’t have to be a mental health counselor to be a good listener and a supportive friend. And of course seek out help for yourself or people that you care about who are going through tough times. There are so many resources out there in your community. And for teenagers out there who are reading this, seek out help. Find an adult or friend who will listen.
As a coach, my goal is to get the best out of my players. I want to be tough on my players, but we can’t forget the human element in coaching. Why is my player not putting out 100% today? Is he or she being lazy? Don’t just assume that, as perhaps there is an underlying issue that you may not know about. There is a way to be tough but caring, observant, and sensitive to your players needs as well. Some of the best coaches that I know (shout out to coaches Barry, Beth and Steve as well as all of our 6 Points coaches) are the best listeners.
I’ll leave you with one last thought. For all of us 6 Pointers, sports is our passion and way of life. When you are feeling down or had a tough day, use your sport your as your outlet and pour your heart into it, and if you need to talk to someone, I can’t think of anyone better to talk to than your favorite coach!