Youth athlete burnout can be caused by a variety of factors, but one of the most common reasons for burnout is due to overbearing parents. An overbearing parent is one who pushes a "more is better" mantra and forces an unrealistic expectation upon their athlete to succeed.
Unrealistic expectations can range from expecting 100 percent effort 100 percent of the time to pushing the need to ultimately play at the collegiate level one day. By pushing their child too far, parents can not only damage their child's love for the game but can also break down their self-confidence.
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In order to avoid becoming an overbearing parent and make sure your child has a positive sports experience, here are behaviors to avoid:
- Coaching your child in the car on the way to the game or from the sidelines
- Putting unnecessary pressure on them
- Yelling at the coach or the officials during the game
- Not paying attention while they are playing
- Having negative body language or verbal language before, during or after the game
- Complaining to the coaches after the game
- Assessing your child's performance as soon as the game finishes
At the end of the day, it's important to remember that sports should be fun. Fun doesn't mean that no one sweats or gets tired, everyone is always happy and laughing, and that practice is easy--but it does mean that athletes should enjoy what they are doing and that at the end of the day, it is only a game.
Parents, remember that it is your job to love, watch and support your athletes, and that it is their coach's job to coach them.
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