Coping With A Lack of Support
Are you struggling with a lack of support from your family and friends?
Lack of support is a sticking point for one soccer player who recently completed our soccer survey:
“I personally can cope with criticism and low support but to be constantly told by family and friends that I won’t achieve my football goals even though they’ve never seen me play takes a toll on me.”
“I know my qualities which is why I never pay attention to low support but the thing my family, especially, doesn’t understand is that I’m doing this for them as well. I’m soon to be a professional soccer player within the next coming weeks and I just wished they’d be happy for me as I am for myself.”
A lack of social support can be an additional mental burden to bear that can interfere with soccer players’ capability to play at their peak on the pitch.
No matter how confident you are, it is comforting to know you have a strong support system to help you navigate through adversity, be a sounding board during tough times and even revel in your successes.
A support system serves several purposes:
1. Validation – It is reassuring to know that other people recognize your skills, abilities and effort. Validation provides a sense that all your hard work was well worth the effort.
2. Emotional Pick-Me-Up – Emotional support from family and friends can help you through bad games, injury, adversity and the grind of a long season.
3. Objective Evaluation – You can be your own worst critic at times. A strong support system can help you objectively evaluate your performance in games and assist in keeping your confidence high.
4. Advice – A strong support system can provide guidance or lend an ear when you need to get something off your chest, such as team conflict or personal issues.
5. Ovation – Successes are always best when shared with others. Having someone that can join in your celebration of success, whether it be playing a great game, achieving your goals or playing professionally, can increase your feelings of joy, pride and confidence.
Social support, as you previously indicated, is a valuable resource for all athletes.
The question remains:
What can you do to build a support system or deal with a lack of support from your friends and family?
1. Not all people will automatically know what you need as an athlete. Discuss your needs and feelings, in an appropriate manner, to your family and friends. Be specific when communicating to your friends and family about how they can assist you.
2. Some people may not be capable of giving you exactly what you need. These circumstances are outside of your control and are something you should try to accept.
3. Lean on those who understand the nature of being an athlete. Good sources of support are past coaches, teammates and friends who understand the nature of being a competitive athlete.
4. Focus on the support you have rather than those who don’t support. A few sources of strong support outweigh having many people giving you the bare minimum of support.
Social support is an important aspect of your athletic life, so you should seek to make those connections as positive and productive as possible.
Ultimately, it is up to you to take action when it comes to building your support network.