‘Burnout’ is the absence of motivation as well as complete mental and physical exhaustion.
In the pursuit of sporting excellence there may come a time that sport takes over both an individual and a whole family’s life. The sport becomes the be all and end all, the only thing that is talked about, the mood of the family is set by sporting achievement or failure and all spare time is taken up by travelling and practising the sport.
However, this environment is a recipe for disaster. If not enough time is spent on recovery both mentally and physically for the child then burnout is just around the corner and worse than that by their teenage years they may well have given up on their sport altogether.
BURNOUT IS CAUSED BY TOO MUCH STRESS AND NOT ENOUGH RECOVERY.
There is not just a single factor why young athletes burn out but there are three recognised theories.
- The child feels they are losing their identity because of the dominance of a particular sport in their life.
- By spending too much time focussing on one sport the child eventually loses motivation and enjoyment and feels trapped in a sport they have dedicated a lot of time to.
- Too much pressure placed on training and winning leads the child to physical and mental exhaustion.
What set off as ‘fun’ has suddenly taken over everything. Let’s not rush children. Sport should be seen as a lifetime investment.
If they are good enough and enjoy their sport then high level and professional sport will find them. It does not have to be the other way round.
Once the love of a game goes then performance will suffer and parents will be left to reap what has been sown.