5 Keys to Avoiding Burnout in Eagle 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.
Eagles Care About Their Image
Eagle athletes are very image conscious, and will therefore work hard to please others (that is one of their core-strengths). However, this can backfire for them because they may hide the fact that they are feeling emotionally or physically burnt-out from sports.
This could be because they don’t want to let teammates down by stepping away from the team in order to recoup, or because they don’t want to disappoint their parents or coaches by telling them they need a break or to slow down.
For parents and coaches, if an Eagle seems upset or depressed, take time to get to the core-issue of what is bothering them when talking to them.
Confirm with them that if they are feeling burnt-out it’s okay to take a break and slow things down! Tell them no one will be disappointed or mad at them, because it is important to everyone that they are happy and healthy first and foremost.
The Eagles Relationship with Others
The parent/child and coach/player relationships are very important to Eagles, as they often hold mentors and people in authority in very high regard. Due to this tendency, one thing parents of Eagles should be aware of is to not bad-mouth coaches or other players in front of the Eagle.
This will cause an internal dilemma for the Eagle, because they will feel the need to take sides, which is tough for them since they want to please others. This could cause them additional sports-based stress they don’t really need in their young athletic lives, which is very easily avoidable and in almost all cases, completely unnecessary.
With the growing competition in youth sports and the drive of some parents on their children, this may seem harder to do now more than ever. But, one of the major general risk factors for burnout in youth athletics is pressure from parents and coaches, and this will apply to the Eagle more than almost any other athlete type.
Sometimes Eagles have a negative tendency to be too focused on others, whether that be teammates or coaches.
It’s important to remind them that they can only control themselves and their own reactions, and they just have to trust others to handle their business as well.
This could be tough for Eagles, and may cause them to become anxious if it appears others aren’t working as hard as them, or aren’t executing at the level the Eagle wishes they could be. Remind your Eagle that team sports are all about teamwork and trust, and that if they lead, others will follow.
Like we’ve seen from other athlete types in this burnout series, there are some positive tendencies that can manifest themselves as issues by creating stressful situations. In an Eagle athletes case, this comes from their work-hard attitude.
Help Eagles Relax
Eagles are known for their hard-working mindsets. Sometimes, this can be pushed too far, and will result in burning themselves out emotionally and physically, since they are always pushing forward.
Even though they know how to work effectively, due to their desires to improve and please others, they may work themselves too hard, which will put strains on themselves both physically and mentally/emotionally as well.
There are some ways to help relieve this kind of stress, including inside and outside their sports-based activities. When playing sports, it may be beneficial to teach an Eagle that it’s okay to slow down by including some breathing and relaxation techniques into their warm-ups or cool-downs before and after athletic activities.
Other than sport-based relaxation, it is important to help the Eagle find things outside of their sport they can use to unwind and have fun doing.
This will give them an outlet where they won’t have to push themselves as hard, and can be used as a way to recharge mentally and emotionally, and relax themselves physically.
Finally, remember to praise the Eagle when they do something positive! This may seem like something small, but to them hearing about something they did well from others is a positive boost that really helps spark their mindset every once in a while, and can help stimulate them moving forward.
These are all strategies that can be employed in order to reduce the stress that can lead to burnout in Eagle athletes.
Here are the 5 key points to take away when trying to reduce the risk of burnout in Eagle athletes:
- When talking to the Eagle, make sure you get to the core issues that are bothering them.
- Don’t speak ill of coaches or teammates of the Eagle in front of them, they will feel the need to pick sides, creating more stress.
- Remind the Eagle that they can only control what they can control, what others do is up to them.
- Make sure the Eagle isn’t working themselves too hard. Help them relax.
- Praise the Eagle when they do something positive!
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.