how to prevent youth athlete burnout | youth sports leagues fairfield | youth sports leagues milford | insports centers

Sports are supposed to be a fun and exciting activity for children; a healthy hobby that lets them escape from their problems. But sometimes, the high expectations, long training sessions, and year-round specialization can make sports feel more like a job than a hobby. This often leads to burnout.

Burnout is a natural response to chronic stress which many young athletes go through when they no longer find sports enjoyable due to increased physical and psychological demands. This almost always leads to withdrawal from the sport, sometimes permanently.

Risk Factors

Your child is most likely to experience burnout if the following factors are present:

Environmental Factors

• High training volumes

• Extreme time demands

• High performance expectations set by peers, parents, or coach

• Frequent intense competition

• Specialization in one sport from an early age

Personal Characteristics

• Perfectionism

• Need to please others

• Non-assertiveness

• Low self-esteem

• High anxiety

What You Can Do

Fortunately, burnout is preventable, and there are things that you can do as a parent to make sports feel less like a job for your child. Here are some ways you can take initiative and make sports more enjoyable:

• Mandate recovery. Make sure that your child is getting adequate recovery in between practices and games. This means a solid eight hours of sleep every night, and making sure they are fully healed from injuries before stepping on the field again.

• Help them prioritize. Some children think that sports are the most important thing in their lives; even more so than family and their education. Help them realize this is not the case, and who they are as a person stretches well beyond who they are as an athlete.

• Encourage them to participate in multiple sports. Studies have shown that there are of physical and mental health benefits for children who participate in multiple sports, instead of specializing in one.

Insports Centers provides a safe, stress-free environment for children to participate in as many sports as they’d like. As Fairfield County’s biggest and best indoor sports facility, we host a variety of leagues, tournaments, and clinics all year long. Visit our website to learn more, or give us a call at (203) 268-1214.