We’ve all experienced burn-out in our lives, whether that means needing a full vacation, a quiet weekend, or simply reminding yourself why doing what you’re doing is important to you. The same concept applies to athletes, especially young athletes! There’s always that one young child on the field who doesn’t seem to have his head in the game. Usually, it’s the one picking the grass apart. Or, you might face a challenge with your athlete when it comes to getting ready for practice or a game. If a battle starts to surface, and your athlete starts to protest, we have a few tips to keep the spirit and love of the sport alive.
- Prioritize Rest and Relaxation
Just as you count down the days and hours until the weekend, and even though it might seem like your athletes have all the energy in the world, they too, count down the minutes until their next break. Young athletes still require some R&R! Even more, when kids experience “burnout” they’re more likely to associate the negative feelings of tiredness with the sport. Ensuring your athletes are getting the proper rest after practices, and before and after games, can make all the difference in how they handle both the physical and mental stresses of the game.
- Cheer from the Sidelines
Many of us don’t like to do things unless we get something out of it. For athletes, especially those just starting to fall in love with a sport, the positive feelings they get on the field don’t solely stem from passion, at least not yet. They also come from the sidelines! Cheering your athlete on and encouraging other friends and family members to attend games and show their support too, can help build your athlete’s confidence and confirm their love of the game. When they experience positive reinforcements from loved ones, their willingness to “keep it up” flourishes.
- Add Some Fun
Sideline snacks, celebratory dinners, team sleepovers, fun colored gear, and simply running around to blow off steam, are all examples of the “fun” young athletes have playing sports. Hocsocx, for example, excites athletes with bright colors and crazy patterns that they love to wear! The next time your athlete resists going to practice or a game, remind them of all the ways they enjoy being on the team and why it might not be as fun if they gave up.
- Balance Competition with Enjoyment
Along with reminding young athletes of all the fun and enjoyment sports bring, there also needs to be a balance with competition. After all, the definition of a sport (according to the Oxford dictionary) is “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” Teaching your athlete about good sportsmanship, playing their best to help carry their team to victory, but also simply playing the game out of love is a tricky balance. But, after finding the right recipe, it can ignite a new fire in young athletes.
- Spark Inspiration
Movies, television, books, and role models can spark new inspiration in athletes when they’re feeling discouraged, burnt-out, or find themselves away from the game for too long. Sparking inspiration can inspire athletes to work harder, play harder, and get their heads back in the game. Exposing young athletes to heroes in the media or professional athletes in real life, can give them a new sense of encouragement and drive to one day become a professional themselves. But, once this spark of inspiration hits, good luck getting them off the field!