Sports Burnout Signs & What Parents Should Do
Summer sports are just around the corner, and that means a lot of practices, games, and travel for young athletes. For some kids an intense sports schedule can lead to sports burnout, especially when sports stop being fun and turn into something that feels more like a job. In worst case scenarios sports burnout can lead to anxiety, depression, substance abuse, reckless behaviors, and even suicidal ideation. Fortunately, sport psychology tips and strategies can help prevent sport burnout problems from occurring.
Some of the signs of sports burnout include, but are not limited to:
- Lack of interest in playing sports (especially if the child previously showed a lot of excitement).
- Passive-aggressive behaviors, like being late to practices even when the child had plenty of time to be prepared.
- Direct comments about not wanting to play (or play as much as he did in the past).
- Increased frustration and anger, often without any direct source.
- Low motivation to play, and little pride over on-field accomplishments.
Sports burnout is not a recognized psychiatric disorder, but it is very real, and tens of thousands (if not more) kids are affected by it each year. With some kids playing upwards of 60, 70, and 80 games a summer (not to mention practice and travel), it becomes easier to see why so many kids these days are burned out from sports. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help:
- First, work as a family to decide the right league for your child. Not every kid should be on an intense “travel team,” as some kids would be perfectly fine playing a smaller number of games in a recreation league.
- Talk about all that is involved in travel leagues, including costs, time commitment, and travel. Make sure your child is especially aware of the time commitment before you sign him up.
- Talk openly about sports burnout and ask your child if he or she is feeling tired and burned out from playing (if you notice symptoms).
- If your child is feeling tired, see if you can take some time off by checking with the coach.
- If your child is depressed, engaged in reckless behaviors, or using drugs/alcohol to cope with sports pressure, seek professional help immediately.
For more information on sports burnout check out our Parents Tool Kit or Sport Success 360 today! Also, our popular e-book is the perfect travel companion for tips on the go!