20 June 2024


Mental Health: A topic that affects all of us.


In recent years, the significance of mental health in the realm of sports has gained substantial recognition. Athletes, both at the amateur and professional levels, face immense physical and psychological pressures that can profoundly impact their well-being. Understanding and addressing mental health is crucial for athletes to perform at their best, maintain a balanced life, and ensure long-term health. This article delves into the importance of mental health in elite sports and sports in general, highlighting a valuable educational initiative by the European Judo Union, promoted by Martyna Trajdos.

Mental Health in Elite Sports

Elite athletes are often perceived as the epitome of physical and mental strength. However, the reality is that they face unique challenges that can take a toll on their mental health. The pressure to perform, constant competition, public scrutiny, and the demand for perfection can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout. High-profile cases, such as those of Simone Biles and Michael Phelps, have brought to light the mental health struggles faced by top athletes.

Recognizing and addressing these issues is paramount. Mental health support can help athletes manage stress, enhance focus, improve performance, and, most importantly, maintain their overall well-being. Incorporating mental health strategies such as mindfulness, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and resilience training into athletes’ routines can make a significant difference.

Anna-Maria WAGNER (GER) spoke out following her Tokyo Olympic Games experience. © Gabi Juan

Mental Health in Sports in General

While elite athletes face intense pressures, mental health is equally important at all levels of sport. Amateur athletes, youth participants, and even casual sports enthusiasts can encounter stress and anxiety related to performance, competition, and personal expectations. Encouraging a positive sports culture that prioritizes mental health can lead to more enjoyable and sustainable participation in sports.

Coaches, trainers, and sports organizations play a vital role in promoting mental health awareness. By fostering an environment that values psychological well-being, they can help athletes develop healthy coping mechanisms, build resilience, and enjoy their sporting experiences.

European Judo Union’s Initiative on Mental Health

In an effort to promote mental health awareness and education within the sport, the European Judo Union (EJU) has launched a comprehensive training program. This initiative aims to equip athletes, coaches, and sports professionals with the knowledge and tools needed to address mental health issues effectively.

Martyna Trajdos, a prominent judoka, has lent her support to this initiative through a promotional video. As an accomplished athlete, Trajdos understands the pressures of competitive sports and the importance of mental health. Her involvement underscores the critical need for mental health education in sports and encourages the sporting community to prioritize this aspect of athlete development.

The EJU’s training program covers various aspects of mental health, including stress management, emotional regulation, and building psychological resilience. By integrating these elements into the training and development of athletes, the EJU aims to create a healthier, more supportive sports environment.

Promoting mental health in sports is not just about enhancing performance—it’s about fostering a culture of care, support, and understanding that benefits everyone involved. As the conversation around mental health continues to grow, initiatives like the EJU’s training program will play a crucial role in shaping a healthier future for sports and athletes alike.

Join the program: https://www.eju-education.net/course/view.php?id=32

Author: Thea Cowen