4 Keys to Avoiding Burnout in Engineer Athlete Types
Youth sports participation in the United States has continued to grow year after year. With the increase in demand for youth sports outlets for children of all ages, we have seen the development of countless sports leagues and teams to facilitate all of the young athletes and parents looking for a place to get involved.
With all of the money to be made, it’s no wonder that competition has also begun to increase in the ever-expanding world of youth sports.
As we explained in our Introduction to Burnout article, the rise in competition, caused by things like high-level travel teams selection processes and chasing college scholarships, has created strain for young athletes.
One result of this stress on young athletes is burnout. Burnout can be described as a condition that develops from chronic stress, either mental or physical, caused by overtraining or over-exerting themselves. This can lead to injuries, tremendous mental stress, and in some cases, the young athlete walking away from sports altogether.
There are common factors that lead to athletes burning out:
- Early sports specialization – focusing on one sport from a young age
- Playing one sport, but competing on multiple teams during a season
- Overlapping seasons without intervals of rest
- Year-round participation without an “off season”
- “Type A” personality including ambitious, determined, driven, intense
- Low self-esteem and high anxiety levels
- Parental or coaching pressure to train and compete at a higher level
However, because there is obvious differences to how certain people will react to stressful situations, we decided to look at each athlete type individually to help lay out a road-map of sorts for parents, coaches, and young athletes to avoid burning out.
The key to reducing the risk or effects of burnout is minimizing the stress felt by the young athlete, so we’ve focused on ways to reduce stress in ways that will benefit specific athletes based on their athlete type characteristics.
Engineers Avoid Mistakes
It may be easier to notice when an Engineer is feeling burnt-out compared to other athlete types. This is because they are quicker to show frustration and anger, which in the case of burnout will be outright irritability towards parents, coaches, and teammates. It’s important to recognize these signs, and when you notice them, help the Engineer recover and treat their burnout.
Along these same lines, Engineer athletes prepare for the worst and are typically very cautious to avoid mistakes. This sort of thinking can lead to high anxiety and stress that builds to burnout.
If they make a huge mistake during competition, their recovery from that mistake will be tremendously important for how they can and will move forward.
It’s important for someone, whether that be a teammate, parent, or coach, to be there for the Engineer and help them out of whatever slump they are feeling mentally.
Since they almost go out of their way to avoid any sort of mistakes during competition, it will take some practice and training to get an Engineer athlete comfortable with the process of making a mistake and then taking that situation and learning from it.
This is why it becomes important to encourage Engineers and let them know that mistakes can and will happen. Let them know it’s best to make these mistakes in practice, because this will help them learn heading into competition.
The Engineer will Love a Challenge
An Engineer will enjoy a challenge, and while they will get plenty of those sorts of situations in sports, it may be beneficial to look for activities outside of sports in which they can really spread their wings in this regard.
For example, Engineers enjoy thinking through things and finding solutions, so it is likely good for them to participate in activities that will help them do just that when not participating in their sport. This could include critical thinking activities like puzzles, strategy board games, role playing video games, and other activities along similar lines.
You could also include this sort of thought-provoking and critical thinking-centered activity in their sports preparation, to keep them interested.
For example, if you have an Engineer who plays quarterback, they would respond well to activities or drills that help them diagnose and recognize defensive coverages, and what plays and route combinations would be successful going against those defenses. Keeping workouts and drills engaging for youth athletes will help decrease their risk for burnout.
Work on Positive Imagery
One thing this habit of avoiding mistakes shows is that a good amount of young Engineers will more than likely have to work on the way they perceive things.
All Engineers should work on positive imagery, but for young athletes, this could be even more important because it will help them stay positive and optimistic in their sporting-lives, which is vital to avoiding and preventing athlete burnout.
Keeping a positive mindset will go such a long way in helping ease the stress an Engineer may be feeling through their participation in youth sports. Their key tendency is to tell Engineers that, “You have some strong feelings about certain people and/or things. Some of these feelings are negative emotions that can hold you back both in athletics and life, and identifying these feelings is an important first step.”
It is hugely important for Engineers to try their best to stay positive, and try to avoid those negative emotions.
If there are issues with certain teammates or coaches, it will affect their enjoyment of the sport, and can cause them to burnout at a much faster rate.
Routines Matter to an Engineer
Engineers are good at sticking with a routine and like to practice their sports or other skills until they’ve mastered them. Help them by trying to keep these repeated practices interesting and engaging, that way they are still working towards mastering a certain skill set. This way it won’t feel like an overly repetitive chore, and instead a way to get better at a sport or activity they enjoy.
A good example of this would be if you had an Engineer who played basketball who wanted to work on their free throw shooting until they got to a level of mastery they felt comfortable with. Sitting at the free throw line for an hour at a time can get pretty boring, so try to switch things up with the Engineer when they are working on their free throws.
Instead of just shooting, make it a challenge! Have them aim for a certain percentage, and if they hit that percentage, offer up some sort of incentive. Really doing anything to ensure it isn’t a simple free-throw drill will help keep the Engineer engaged while also satisfying their desire to master parts of their game through practice repetitions.
These are all strategies that can be employed in order to reduce the stress that can lead to burnout in Engineer athletes.
Here are the 4 key points to take away when trying to reduce the risk of burnout in Engineer athletes:
- If an Engineer is exhibiting increased irritability or anger, talk with them and see if they are feeling stressed or burnt out.
- Tell an Engineer it’s okay if they make a mistake, especially in practice.
- Allow Engineers to participate in non-sports hobbies that allow them to think through things to find a solution.
- Teach an Engineer how to focus on positive imagery.
There is always more to learn about one’s mental-game. We recommend athletes review their own Athlete Profile report for detailed, customized information on their athletic mindset and tips and suggestions for improvement, including avoidance of burnout.
For parents, we recommend the Athlete Profile for Parents report that additionally provides detailed guidance on how to most effectively parent and develop the athlete, including general guidance on how to avoid burnout. A full system for teams and coaches is also available.