Wait…that’s normal?! | Power Differentials Ep 4

Episode description

In this episode, we talk about something that often gets overlooked in sports culture: the normalization of negativity. Athletes deal with injuries and intense pressure all the time, but we don't always talk about it openly. We are going to explore how this affects their mental health and performance, and why it's so important to address these issues in the sports community.

We discuss some of the unspoken rules in sports and the relationships between coaches and athletes. We'll talk about what healthy coach-athlete dynamics look like. We dive into the psychological aspects of power and control in sports. We'll examine the narratives surrounding these ideas and how cultural norms and biases impact sports psychologists' work. Next, we'll explore some of the more normalized aspects in sports. We'll discuss how emotions are connected to sports rules and identify some strange but accepted practices in the world of sports.

Then, we take a look at elite amateur sports and how emotions are often disregarded in favor of focusing on performance. We'll explore the five common beliefs about emotion and why they can be detrimental to athletes' mental health. We also talk about how emotions are often misunderstood and how expressing them shouldn't be seen as a weakness. Emotions and sportsmanship go hand in hand, but there are often misconceptions about how they should be expressed.

Next, we emphasize the importance of acknowledging and expressing our emotions in a healthy way, regardless of gender. Speaking of gender, we discuss some of the contradictions in expressing emotions based on gender. Men often feel pressure to hide their emotions to avoid appearing weak, while women face restrictions in expressing anger because it's seen as too masculine. We'll challenge these ideas and highlight how expressing our emotions is actually a positive thing.

There are mixed views on physical punishment in sports. Some coaches believe that yelling and hitting motivate players to perform better. We'll talk about the different forms of punishment that athletes endure, such as running laps or doing suicides. We'll also touch on how this negative association can impact athletes' attitudes towards cardio. Conditioning is a skill required for success, and it shouldn't be turned into a negative experience.

We explore manipulative tactics from coaches, such as scapegoating players, a practice can breed resentment and anger among teammates, and can erode trust and hinder team performance. On the other hand, effective teams foster a competitive spirit among teammates and aim to improve each other's skills. We'll explore the importance of understanding the distinction between healthy competition and unhealthy comparison.

Moving on, we have a discussion about body image and eating in sports. We'll talk about conditioning and training and how they influence body image and eating habits. We specifically discuss the cultural demand for a certain body type in sports, particularly focusing on hockey twenty years ago. Mat, our skinny white ginger, has personally experienced body shaming. We get his take on this and also touch on the extreme measures athletes sometimes take to achieve their desired body image.

Lastly, we'll talk about the mindset of athletes who continue training despite injuries and emotional struggles, as well as not wanting to appear weak.


Unspoken Rules in Sports (00:13)
Exploring Power and Control in Sports (01:05)
Normalization of Emotion in Sports (02:34)
The Evolution of Emotional Expression in Society (04:17)
Emotion and Sportsmanship (06:13)
Contradictions in Expressing Emotions Based on Gender (08:03)
Emotions, Performance and Flow State (09:08)
Balancing Logic and Emotions (13:36)
Misconceptions of Mental Toughness (15:57)
Conditioning and Punishment in Sports (20:08)
Manipulative Tatics and Team Dynamics (23:25)
Body Image and Eating in Sports (27:25)
Study on Athlete's Training and Emotions (30:33)
Training Despite Injuries (31:31)

Episode guest

Lindsay Piper

Registered Provisional Psychologist