Every week, I see athletes who are performing poorly, because they are burnt out in their chosen sport. In many instances, they are unaware or unwilling to admit this fact. And, frequently, their parents are in denial of the fact that their child is mentally and physically spent. Some parents do not want to accept the fact that their youngster is mentally and physically exhausted.
Burn out is usually caused by over training and by competing too often. Some young athletes are simply overwhelmed with pressure from parents, coaches, friends, the media, boosters and teammates. Some can not juggle academics, sports and their social lives. Some have just been playing and competing for too long.
There are a number of cures for burn out. Sometimes, a short break is precisely what is needed. In other instances, the athlete needs to develop a new philosophy about his or her sport and about competing. In other instances, a coaching change is a good idea.
When I counsel athletes, parents and coaches, we explore what is right, best and most comfortable for all parties concerned.
Many athletes benefit from sports psychology training which teaches them how to manage the mental aspects of their sport, how to avoid burn out, how to be resilient and how to conserve and wisely utilize their mental toughness and their powers of concentration and focus.
Some kids need a new motivator or a new challenge to remain interested in their sport: Learning a new position, mastering a new skill, playing in a new league or setting some new goals are examples of new motivators which can have a positive impact on youngsters.
Last, burn out can be avoided and managed if the parents, coach, athlete, trainer and mental coach can all get on the same page and work together as a team. I spend a lot of time helping athletes and their teams to function in a positive a constructive manner. Once this happens, burn out can be avoided and the athlete can be freed up to reach his or her fullest potential.
Jay P. Granat, Ph. D. is a psychotherapist and the founder of http://www.stayinthezone.com - He has written several books and developed several programs to help people perform to their fullest potential at sports, at work and at school. Dr. Granat, a former university professor, has appeared in The New YorkTimes, Good Morning America, AP, ESPN, Golf Digest, The BBC and The CBC. He can be reached at email@example.com - His books include Zone Tennis and Get Into The Zone In Just One Minute.
He is also the author of How To Get Into The Zone With Sport Psychology And Self-Hypnosis, How To Lower Your Golf Score With Sport Psychology And Self-Hypnosis, 101 Ways To Break Out Of A Hitting Slump and Bed Time Stories For Young Athletes. Golf Digest named Dr. Granat one of America's Top Ten Mental Gurus. He was recently featured in a documentary film on long distance running. Dr. Granat writes a weekly column for three newspapers.