Most of us are familiar with the concept of burnout in our own lives and while we can do everything in our power to avoid it, our young athletes are not always as fortunate.
Once a child reaches physical and/or emotional exhaustion, they are likely to want to quit a sport they once loved.
When a young athlete gives up sports, they are also surrendering all of the health benefits that come with it. We develop the self-care patterns that will carry us into adulthood when we are young, and an active child is far more likely to grow up to become an active adult.
Parents that do not recognize the warning signs involved with youth athlete burnout could be placing unnecessary barriers between their child’s ability to be a healthy adult. When children reach the 11-13 age range, the athlete dropout rate increases yearly and the time has come to take a closer look at the reasons why.
Excess stress is one of the main reasons that has been found, while other athletes tend to feel a certain sense of entrapment. There are also other children who find the world of sports to be too controlling and they are not able to enjoy participating because they do not feel as if they have the same amount of autonomy that they are accustomed to.
Even children that are able to participate in sports and compete at the highest of levels have been known to experience burnout. Parents should remain on high level for physical, emotional and mental signs that will typically manifest themselves, such as fatigue, decreased levels of energy, irritability, increased frequency of illness and inconsistent performances.
Youth athletes may also experience burnout due to feelings of incompetence and the idea that their contributions are not significant. To help your child steer clear of burnout, you will need to give your child time off from the sport periodically and teach them the proper stress management techniques so that they have the necessary tools to handle it.
Take a closer look at the stress that the child is experiencing, in addition to the interactions that they are having with their teammates. If you see them starting to feel as if they are not important to their team, it is important to remind them of the crucial role that every athlete plays in their team’s success.
Burnout in youth athletes happens all too often and it is more preventable than most parents realize. By learning more about what causes burnout and becoming more proactive about preventing it, you can assist your young athlete during the more difficult times and keep them from losing out on the myriad of health benefits that youth sports have to offer.
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