More than ever, athletes are being pressured to push themselves to the limit by joining multiple teams at once or by playing multiple sports per season. While athletes can always benefit from a competitive edge, excessive playing can quickly lead to burnout.
Athletic burnout is defined as physical and emotional exhaustion of an athlete and is particularly prevalent in young athletes between the time they enter middle school and the time they leave high school.
Burnout can have lasting impacts on young athletes. For one, it can lead athletes to quit playing sports all together and, perhaps more seriously, it can lead to injuries.
According to research by sports psychologist, Dr. Chris Stankovich, there are three main causes of burnout:
Athletes, especially younger ones, are likely to compare themselves to their peers, which can cause heightened competitiveness or low self-esteem.
Parents and athletes may rely on sport scholarships to help athletes get accepted or pay for college, so their time and focus is entirely on sports.
Sometimes parents are guilty of living vicariously through their children--which can be especially prominent on the playing field. Parents take it upon themselves to "coach" from the sidelines, which puts extra pressure on their kids.
In order to help avoid burnout, CoachUp highlights three pieces of advice that parents should pass along to their athletes:
Athletes need to effectively communicate with their parents, coaches and captains on how their body is feeling and their ability level in order to avoid injuries.
This may mean more time stretching and conditioning or more time allotted to mastering a skill, but athletes can benefit from taking a step back from their team and assessing what they need on an individual basis. This is a great opportunity to utilize a private coach so that athletes have the time and energy to work on whatever they see it.
Patience is Key
If your athlete is returning to a sport after an off-season, it's important to remind them that it may take time to get back into the swing of things. A common mistake occurs when athletes get down on themselves early on in the season, which makes it that much harder to get back on track.
At the end of the day, sports provide the opportunity for athletes to grow, develop, and most importantly have fun. Here at CoachUp, we believe parents have the responsibility to make sure their athlete is having fun and not getting burnt out.
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