Ben Zobrist

S5 E3: Ben Zobrist on Pressure and Anxiety (Part 2)

Released October 13, 2022

In the conclusion of our two-part series on Beyond Theory, former professional baseball player and mental health advocate Ben Zobrist delves deeper into his personal struggles with anxiety, depression, and the pressures of performing at the highest levels of sports. This revealing conversation sheds light on the often-overlooked mental health challenges faced by elite athletes and offers insights into strategies for managing mental well-being, both on and off the field.

This episode emphasizes the importance of normalizing mental health conversations, particularly within the realm of sports, and ensuring that those struggling with mental health issues have access to the support they need without fear of negative consequences. Ben Zobrist’s personal experiences and insights serve as a powerful reminder that even the most successful athletes are not immune to mental health challenges and that prioritizing mental well-being is crucial for both personal and professional success.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Confronting the stigma of mental health in sports:

Elite athletes often fear being perceived as “undependable” if they speak up about mental health struggles, highlighting the need for a culture shift within sports organizations.

  1. The crucial role of sleep in mental well-being:

Sleep deprivation can significantly impact mental health and performance, making sleep hygiene a critical component of overall well-being for athletes and non-athletes alike.

  1. Therapy and support systems for faster mental health progress:

Engaging in individual therapy, group therapy, and having a supportive community can accelerate mental health progress and provide a safe space for vulnerability.

  1. Encouraging open conversations about mental health in sports:

Sports organizations must create an environment that allows athletes to be open about their mental health challenges without fear of negative consequences.

  1. Protecting youth athletes from excessive pressure:

Parents and coaches play a vital role in ensuring that youth sports prioritize fun and skill-building over excessive pressure and adult-sized expectations.

  1. Actionable steps for promoting mental health awareness and support:

Increasing mental health awareness in sports requires education, access to judgment-free spaces, and empowering individuals to find their own solutions with proper guidance.

This episode highlights the unique pressures faced by athletes and the need for specialized support systems that cater to their specific needs. By understanding the challenges and stigmas associated with mental health in sports, practitioners can better equip themselves to provide effective, tailored support to athletes at all levels.