Do You Think You Know How to Coach the Burnout-Athlete-Sport-Player?

One of the most important questions in youth and high school sports is, “How to coach burnout-athlete-sport-player.” Why do young athletes burnout? Why does a promising baseball player give it up at the age of 16? Or, what makes a star tennis player on the way to national competition, suddenly give up the sport at the age of 14?

It’s called burnout, and it generally refers to the emotional, physical, and psychological withdrawal from a sport or activity that was once a passion. Learning how to coach burnout-athlete-sport-player can be a highly rewarding and lucrative career.

5 Principle Causes of Burnout

  • Unable to continually cope with their own competitive drive and perfectionist personalities.
  • Continually “playing up” against older competition and bigger and stronger athletes.
  • Overzealous parents
  • Overzealous coaches
  • Overtraining

A study funded by the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) found that burnout came in four stages, a model first set up by Ronald E. Smith, a University of Washington psychology professor.

  1. Demand is placed on an athlete, including high expectations, excessive amounts of time, and extraordinary workout routines.
  2. Though the athlete initially enjoys the activity and the time involved, the player eventually perceives the demands as excessive.
  3. Anxiety, tension, and possibly insomnia become a problem.
  4. Performance begins to decline and the sport player eventually withdrawals from the sport.

The #1 Answer to the Question, “How do You Coach the Burnout-Athlete-Sport-Player?”

What’s the secret, you ask? Well, it’s really rather simple. You stop burnout before it happens. Ok, how do you prevent burnout?

6 Ways to Prevent Burnout in Young Athletes

  • Limit the amount of travel time.
  • Limit the amount of time spent “playing up.”
  • Educate coaches, parents, and players on stress management techniques.
  • Minimize the amount of parental coaching.
  • Positive reinforcement. When coaching youths, at least five positive remarks should be offered for every negative remark.

Ok, but what if an athlete is already showing signs of burnout? How to coach burnout-athlete-sport-player is a but more difficult when the player already shows signs of withdrawal.

The #1 Way to Stop Burnout

TAKE A BREAK! That’s right, the best way to answer the question, “How to coach burnout-athlete-sport-players”, is to stop coaching them for awhile. It may be difficult as a coach to tell one of your top players to take a few months off, but it may be necessary. Have the player take a few months off, try another sport, train on his or her own time, or just hang out with friends for awhile. Set a date for their comeback and let the athlete have the time off.

If you are a coach, and you are asking the question, “How to Coach Burnout-athlete-sport-player”, here are the two best answers.

  1. Prevent burnout by recognizing the signs – increased anxiety, tension, and stress – and then taking steps to reduce the excessive demands that are often placed on young athletes.
  2. If your athletes already show signs of burnout, allow them to take a break!

Now that you know what to do – go out and coach your young athletes to be the best they can be without burning them out!

Give this strategy a try and see for yourself that it works. If you liked this coaching tip, leave a comment or use the handy bookmark buttons below to share it with others on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, etc. Thanks!

Fred Philips
Business Coach
Writing Team, Coaches Training Blog Community

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