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Post Info TOPIC: Mental problems Help for players
GBJ


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Mental problems Help for players


Does anyone know what kind of support players get if any from the LTA etc with any mental health issues they have?

Obviously a lot of top sports professionals have help from sports psychologist but it just seems to me that the LTA for example should maybe be investing in the general mental health of players. It's obviously not an easy thing to grind it out week to week around the country/world on the tours. I was just listening this interview with Timea Bacsinszky http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05p2d6j#auto (go to 6hr36min) where they talk about her mental health and that of Mardy Fish which has obviously affected both's ability to play. Both, along with our own Naomi Cavaday have been bravely open about the issue.

Mental health issues are such a commonly experienced and normal thing to go through and there are a number of basic but not widely understood things that I would hope those involved in the strains of such a lifestyle would be made aware of - perhaps through something like the Mental Health First Aid course http://mhfaengland.org/. I wonder how aware the typical budding Heather Watson/Andy Murray wannabe is of how normal it is to experience things like anxiety and depression and how such things are normally not long term and there is a lot of good help out there.

It just seems to me that guys like Marcus Willis (who I think suggests that his issues with his weight are due to how hard it is to live the pro player lifestyle) and Dan Evans could be doing a lot better if there had been a culture of awareness about this kind of thing in the LTA when they were juniors and they had a stigma free way of discretely getting help if they need it now.



-- Edited by Madeline on Wednesday 18th of March 2015 04:21:04 PM

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Tennis legend

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RE: Mental Health Help for players


That all sounds very sensible. You'd hope the LTA would have something in place but I wonder if they actually do.

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Satellite level

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Your spot on this is an area where young players eg Dan Evans need the top guys who are. £250

per hour !†



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Gary Lewis


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Surely, if you have a mental health problem you go and see a doctor.

Marcus Willis is making excuses if that's what he's saying.

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Tennis legend

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I can see reasons, connected to the pro tour lifestyle, some of which GBJ points out, that pro tour tennis players could be susceptible to mental health issues as some have been that we know of and perhaps plenty more that we don't.

I think it reasonable to think that the LTA would at least have information in place and other lines of support in addition to GPs. Many big employers link up with mental health organisations to arrange support sessions to help their employees overcome issues and return to the workplace.

For players it seems at least reasonable that as well as I say some general information and pointers there should be someone inhouse in whom they can confide in, say if they need to take time away from tennis and then manage a return.

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EddietheEagle wrote:

Surely, if you have a mental health problem you go and see a doctor.

Marcus Willis is making excuses if that's what he's saying.


†Marcus has not got mental health issues - all sportsman have there up and down days Like we do . I believe that the mental side of the game is an area that could be worked on with a lot of players †. Surrounding yourself with plenty of motivators is an important start†



-- Edited by A1 tennis academy on Wednesday 18th of March 2015 09:04:02 AM

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Gary Lewis


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I think Eddie maybe didn't mean his two lines to be linked as much as they seemed to be and was referring to what Marcus had supposedly said ( as per the opening post ) re his weight and the pro player lifestyle.

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There's a difference, isn't there, between generally keeping healthy mentally and dealing with specific mental health issues - rather as there is between generally keeping physically healthy and dealing with particular physical issues. So help in coping with stress generally is a good thing - and should be accessible to all. Equally, one would hope that someone who had a specific issue could also receive help for that issue.

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Tennis legend

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I think the thread should be entitled player welfare and not mental health issues - there is a difference.

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All-time great

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I agree this is not about mental health, although point taken mental health problems are common in the community at large. Eating disorders are an issue and the LTA should probably screen for it given nutritional optimization is essential for optimal performance.

In terms of enhancing performance I think you are thinking more of tougher minds re Stephen Peters who confusingly is a Psychiatrist but his techniques are really designed to optimise performance in those perceived to be mentally healthy. Undoubtedly training to optimise resilience may benefit a few individuals where it is a specific area that needs fine tuning to make that step. Bradley Klein obviously insight into the fact that his emotional reaction to his performance, line calls etc impacts on his game and is trying to manage it. I would say he has a personality though as opposed to a personality disorder not that I know him and others who do may disagree. Evo, OG probably have personalities that will lead to different careers. There is an element of taking horses to water and beyond that it is upto the horse, some just aint thirsty enough.

As pointed out earlier in the thread any player with a mental health issue needs to see a doctor but there is a place for basic screening tools for depression and perhaps even behavior that may suggest drug abuse.

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County player

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RE: Mental problems Help for players


I very, very much doubt Marcus Willis has any mental health problems given such an obvious lust for life and a laugh. I couldn't stop laughing myself when I heard that American commentator gobsmacked by his, how do we put this politely? 'rehydration and nutrition choices.'

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Yes, it's important to distinguish real mental health issues/mental illnesses which Mardy, Timea, Naomi and Rebecca Marino all suffered from, and not (deliberately, accidently, indirectly, or whatever) conflate that with players who e.g. have trouble coping with stressful match situations/closing out, or just generally find the lifestyle hard work.

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Tennis legend

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Yes. Absolutely PaulM.

Which is why I think the title should remain as is - it recognises the reality of actual medical mental health issues - problems - illnesses - disorders etc. It 'owns' them, as my US friend would say. Without diluting it into the general stress issues pointed out by PaulM, which affect practically everyone to a greater or lesser extent.

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The only thing I can remember when Neil was at the NTC was a woman...who I think was a 'lifestyles person'. I think Neil had to attend a couple of meetings with her. And at one point she banned them from playing on the xbox haha! That's all I remember happening though. I don't think the LTA prepare players mentally in a lot of areas though.

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I expect being banned from the X-Box was enough to send him barmy.



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