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Every parent only wants what’s best for their children: to see them achieve great things and become the best they can be. But when does that desire for greatness become detrimental to the child? Let’s take a look at what causes a child to burnout in youth sports and steps on how to beat it.

There are many signs to a burnt out child athlete. Your child may be losing interest in the game. Their motivation to go to practice and perform their best begins to decrease significantly. Going to these practices and games becomes an everyday fight because mood swings become more prevalent. They are easily agitated and no longer care enough about their performance which makes them no longer coachable.

On the other hand, their anxiety levels may increase because they are too worried about their performance that they overthink every move they make. Injuries become exaggerated, and any minor ailment becomes an excuse not to attend practice or a game. Becoming sick more often is also a sign of a child athlete becoming burnt out. You might notice a change in their eating habits or constantly being tired. If you notice any of these signs in your child, it might be time to take a step back from the persistent sports routine.

Fortunately, there are ways to combat these burnouts. Take the time to talk with your child to see how they’re feeling. Approach the conversation with empathy and understanding instead of anger, frustration, and guilt. Don’t be afraid to share these feelings with the coach. If they have your child’s best interest in mind, they will be willing to work with you to help your child relearn the love of the game. Cut back on the amount of training they’re involved in. Temporarily stepping back from private sessions, extra workouts, and multiple teams can be very beneficial for the child. Let them decide when they’re ready to get more training.

Plan social events with their teammates to help them understand that sports can lead to some rewarding friendships and doesn’t have to be serious all the time. Skip a practice on occasion; not just for other obligations, but for the sake of playing hooky and do something fun with your child.

Remember that they should be playing for the love of the game, not for you to relive your childhood vicariously through them. Maybe they’re only playing soccer because you were once an All-American player in college, but deep down they have dreams of becoming a basketball star. Allow them to try out different sports, let them explore their hidden talents. You both might be pleasantly surprised.

With all the sports training programs available for youth sports these days, it’s easy to fall victim of having a burnt out child athlete. Parents and communities are urged to pay more attention to the burnout factor. Valuable life lessons can be learned from playing a sport so give your kids the opportunity to become great, but allow them to control the pace.