Sports psychologist gives athletes advice on how to stay optimistic during COVID-19 crisis

Coronavirus

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — With the Coronovirus pandemic shutting down all sports, some athletes are finding the downtime tough to deal with.

“Any sports psychologist tries to get his athletes, or her athletes to be very, very strong mentally.”

Retired Professor of Psychology, Dr. Jerry Williams has worked with student-athletes for years and says they need to be mentally tough to get through this.

“The lessons you can learn as an athlete transfer very well to life and right now we need mental toughness, very much so.”

Dr. Williams say not all athletes are as tough on the inside as they appear on the outside.

“Really underneath a lot of them are very uncertain and have a lot of doubts and a time like this brings a lot of those doubts up and if they are faced with not having their sport to play, who are they? So they are wondering a lot right now, the mentally tough ones can get through that.”

Dr. Williams says a break in routine is creating anxious moments for all of us, and athletes who are used to routines are going to have to adjust until things get back to normal.

“The more they define themselves by the sport, the more they have lost and it really, really hurts and they don’t know what to do, they are floundering. That’s what we see a lot of with people retiring, their sport is over and they don’t know what to do with themselves, but if they define themselves by caring for others, or building a business or other things.”

Williams says most athletes feel invincible, but that has changed in the last few weeks because of the coronavirus the best mental medicine right now just might be optimism.

“The choice to be optimistic leads to a better life than the choices to be pessimistic, so yes be optimistic is my suggestion and may not work out but you are far better off in the meantime than if you are pessimistic and unhappy and worried and stewing.”

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