4 Keys to Avoiding Burnout in Maverick 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.
Mavericks will Freestyle
When a Maverick is playing youth sports, those involved with them (parents, coaches, and teammates) have to realize they will sometimes go against the grain and end up doing their own thing.
This behavior will obviously have positives and negatives– sometimes a Maverick’s adjustments or improvisions go against the game-plan, but may end up working in the team’s favor. Like the saying goes “sometimes you have to take the bad with the good”, because the bad results that come with this sort of behavior, are sure to have great moments as well.
Essentially, it’s important to remain supportive of the Maverick’s inventive style.
Stifling their creativity is something that will make a Maverick feel trapped in a very rigid system, which is not how they enjoy playing sports or really how they enjoy doing anything, and that sort of system will feel completely unnatural to them.
In order to ensure they are as effective and stress-free as they can be it’s important to let them play to their natural instincts, as long as their improvisation isn’t negatively affecting the team. Allowing them to be who they are will help them enjoy their sporting activity more, and will lessen the likelihood that they suffer from athletic burnout.
If their improvisation starts to negatively affect the team or their own performance in sports, sit down with the Maverick and have an honest conversation with them about boundaries that need to be placed so they can reduce the harm they may be causing their team.
In this situation, it would be helpful for the Maverick if you ask them how they would go about minimizing the mistakes their improvisation may cause. This will allow them to brainstorm and come up with some limits for themselves, which will in turn, make them more comfortable falling a little bit more in line with everyone else.
Mavericks and Organization
A coach who places too many rules on their team will not be a favorite of the Maverick. However, even if the Maverick doesn’t like it as much, they could benefit from having a more military-minded coach. The key for the coach in this situation would be to ensure that the reason or rationalization for their rules are explained to the Maverick, that way they can see that the rule isn’t in place to stifle their creative mindset, but rather– help the functionality of the team.
Organizationally, Mavericks may need help staying on track.
Mavericks are often sloppy with details, so if they have a lot going on outside of their day-to-day lives (homework, sports, other extra-curricular activities, etc.) it could become hard for them to manage and prioritize all they have going on, which will lead to some stressful situations.
To help alleviate these potential stressful situations, helping the Maverick plan out their week with a schedule or planner may be a smart move. This way they can reduce any stress they are feeling from having a lot on their plate.
Ideally, the Maverick will learn a skill that doesn’t come naturally to them (organization and thorough planning) while also making sure they don’t forget anything important, and therefore, reducing their stress.
Mavericks should have outlets where they are allowed to utilize their free-flowing thought process outside of their sport.
This will give them a creative outlet where they can let their mind do what it does naturally, which will be something they can use to relax and unwind after physical activity or participating in their sport.
These are all strategies that can be employed in order to reduce the stress that can lead to burnout in Maverick athletes.
Here are the 4 key points to take away when trying to reduce the risk of burnout in Maverick athletes:
- Realize that a Maverick is going to do things that are unconventional, it’s best to let them improvise if it’s not harming the team.
- The Maverick will need help learning how to organize things.
- Have outlets lined up where the Mavericks can utilize their free-flowing thought process, outside of sports.
- The style of coaching could have a huge impact on the Maverick, stricter coaching is better, but providing an explanation of the reasoning behind the rules is critical.
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.