anxiety, athletics, leadership


Anxiety is a very prevalent mental disorder among adolescents and can be unfavorable to their developing mental, cognitive, and social health. Although it comes in many forms, social anxiety disorder, which can affect peer relations, academic success, and sport performance, can be especially difficult during teenage years. More specifically, high school sports provide many situations and stressors that can trigger social anxiety. Some major aspects of high school sports that can trigger social anxiety are working with teammates and learning from coaches. This review seeks to provide a better understanding of the effect that the coach–athlete relationship has on anxiety in high school student-athletes using two of the most common styles of coaching found in self-determination theory (SDT): autonomous and authoritative. Other subtypes of autonomous coaching styles and their effectiveness are also explored. Additionally, ideas are given on how to better train coaches to work with student athletes who are experiencing social anxiety.