Edward Lefurgy: How Coaches Can Make a Difference

Edward Lefurgy- How Coaches Can Make a Difference
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Sports have long been celebrated for their physical benefits, but their impact on mental health is equally significant. Amidst growing awareness about mental health, coaches are uniquely positioned to influence young athletes on the field and in every aspect of their well-being. This role is crucial as it extends beyond teaching sports skills to fostering an environment where young minds can thrive mentally and emotionally.

The Mental Health Benefits of Sports

Participation in sports can lead to improved mental health in several ways. Regular physical activity is known to decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety. It enhances mood by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural mood lifters. Furthermore, sports can provide a structured outlet for stress relief and can improve sleep, which in itself is a cornerstone of psychological health.

Sports also offer a unique social environment. Being part of a team fosters a sense of belonging and community. For many young people, their teammates become a support network, essential for emotional well-being. This community helps athletes feel connected and understood, which can combat feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Coaches as Mental Health Advocates

Coaches play a pivotal role in their athletes’ mental health. They are often seen as role models and authority figures, placing them in an ideal position to promote mental well-being. A coach’s influence can extend beyond physical training to include providing support, understanding, and guidance.

One exemplary figure in this realm is Edward Lefurgy, a school counselor and basketball coach in Coldstream, British Columbia. With a profound commitment to youth development both on and off the court, Lefurgy has integrated mental health support into his coaching practices. By doing so, he enhances his athletes’ performance and contributes to their overall mental resilience and emotional growth.

Strategies for Coaches to Support Mental Health

Creating a Supportive Environment

A coach’s first step in promoting mental health is to create a safe and supportive environment. This includes being approachable and willing to listen and encouraging athletes to share their concerns. Coaches should foster an inclusive team culture where respect and empathy are paramount, and bullying or negativity is not tolerated.

Encouraging Open Communication

Open lines of communication are vital. Coaches should make it clear to players that it’s okay not to be okay and that they can talk about their feelings without judgment. Regular team meetings that include discussions about mental health can normalize these conversations and make them part of the team’s routine.

Educating on Mental Health

Coaches should educate themselves on mental health issues and share this knowledge with their teams. Understanding the signs of mental health struggles, such as withdrawal, changes in performance, irritability, or fatigue, can help in early identification and support. Coaches can also bring in experts to talk to their teams or provide resources for further support.

Balancing Competition with Fun

While competition is a natural part of sports, an excessive focus on winning can lead to stress and anxiety. Coaches should ensure that they balance the competitive aspects of sports with fun and enjoyment. Encouraging play that emphasizes effort and improvement over winning can reduce pressure and enhance the joy of the sport.

Implementing Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques

Incorporating mindfulness and relaxation techniques into training can also benefit mental health. Practices such as yoga, meditation, or even simple breathing exercises before a game can help athletes manage anxiety, improve concentration, and enhance overall performance. Coaches who integrate these practices into their routines demonstrate a commitment to their athletes’ mental as well as physical health.


Coaches have a significant opportunity to improve their athletes’ mental health. By creating supportive environments, fostering open communication, educating themselves and their teams about mental health, and incorporating stress-relief practices into their routines, they can help young athletes lead healthier, more balanced lives. The impact of such coaching extends beyond the sports arena, helping individuals develop life skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.

In essence, sports offer more than just a physical workout; they provide a platform for vital life lessons and mental health support. Coaches like Edward Lefurgy, who embrace this broader role, are not just training athletes but nurturing future generations. Their dedication and actions show how sports can truly be a game-changer in promoting mental well-being.

Published by: Nelly Chavez


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