In this episode of The Journey of my Mother’s Son podcast, I sit down and talk with another one of my former players, Billy Hartranft.

Bill is now a licensed professional counselor and sports consultant with Mind Matters Counseling.  We talk about the importance of mental health in youth sports.

In his practice, Bill utilizes a person-centered, evidenced based approach to therapy that allows his clients the freedom to create their own path towards a successful and fulfilling life. His goal is to provide a safe, trustworthy, and judgement-free environment that is essential to helping people focus on their individual needs, and to begin moving towards a life full of purpose. Bill works with people of all ages, and has a decade of experience working cognitively and behaviorally with individuals on issues such as depression, anxiety, trauma, drug and alcohol addiction, self-esteem, mood/personality disorders, and family dynamics.

Bill is also a coach and former college athlete with a passion for the psychology of sports and peak performance. He enjoys using his experiences and research to help athletes increase their confidence and mental toughness, and to help coaches learn how to get the most out of their teams.

We discuss the importance of recognizing mental health issues in young athletes as well as removing the stigma that many times still goes along with getting help.

We put so much emphasis on getting additional training for the physical and technical aspects of sport. Yet, many times, we still ignore the mental health component that goes along with an athlete’s ability to achieve their peak performance.  We wouldn’t drive a car in which we’re only concerned about making sure that we have air in three of the four tires, so we shouldn’t expect our young athletes to perform at their highest levels without focusing on the mental side of sports as well.

Bill and I talk about how it truly does take “a village” in order to raise well rounded athletes who will one day become productive members of society.  Parents, coaches, administrators, family, and friends are all part of the process.  They all need to be on the same page to recognize the signals of a young athlete who may be struggling with their mental health.

We need to be sure that young people understand that it’s ok to ask for help.  Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but to the contrary, it’s actually a sign of strength.  We all experience mental health issues from time to time and it’s perfectly fine to ask someone for help.

Below are the links to both the video and audio only versions of the podcast: