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   Don’t let the grind smother your love of playing your sport.  Get Mental : Erika Carlson    In a recent article in the...

   Don’t let the grind smother your love of playing your sport. 

Get Mental : Erika Carlson

   In a recent article in the Walnut Street Journal, it was reported that from 2008-2012 for ages 6-14 years, football participation decreased by 4.9 percent, youth basketball participation decreased by 6.3 percent and youth soccer had no growth.  

   Michael Bergeron, Executive Director of the National Youth Sports Health & Safety Institute stated that “The main reason kids fall away from sport is that the sport isn’t fun to the child,” and “We have to be aware that single-sport specialization, overuse, overworking kids searching for elite athletes; All of these things are causing kids to leave youth sport and not return.”

   In other words, kids are burning out.

   So why, when our culture seems to value the youth and collegiate sport experience more than ever, are kids burning out? First, what is burnout? Academically, burnout is defined as, a syndrome categorized by:

   1. Emotional and physical exhaustion often caused by overtraining

   2. Sport devaluation (a.k.a. staleness)

   3. Reduced sense of accomplishment (often leads to dropping out of sport).

   Burnout means the athlete no longer enjoys the process, challenge and accomplishment they once did. They don’t want to work at it and have lost joy in improving and competing. Sadly, once kids burnout and eventually dropout, the opportunity to gain the valuable experience and life skills youth sport provides is gone.  

   The GOOD NEWS! Burnout is complicated in regards to how it develops. There are potentially many factors involved. However, it can be relatively simple to “cure.”

   >> REFLECT “” Take some time to reflect on the following: What motivates ME?  What are MY goals? Why are MY goals important to ME? Who are the people I work hard for? Getting some clarity can refuel motivation and work ethic.  

   >> REST “” One of the first stages of developing burnout is not getting enough rest and recovery. As the body breaks down, so does the mental and emotional stability.  Competitive athletes often try to overcome this exhaustion by pushing through and working harder, which makes the problem worse. 

   >> TAKE A BEAK “” A vacation, spend more time with friends, engage in another hobby, do whatever you normally don’t have time to do. Missing your sport and your team can be a great way to come back fresh and ready to recommit yourself to training and competition.

Check out this article in the digital edition of SportStars Magazine… Battling Burnout By Erika Carlson 

Previous Article… Golden Goals 


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