5 Keys to Avoiding Burnout in Knight 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.
Trust is Key
One of the biggest things to keep in mind when it comes to Knights and potential burnout situations, is that it’s hard to get a Knight to open up when they are upset. They tend to clam up, due to their emotional makeup.
In these instances, you have to ensure that the Knight trusts you. Trust is very important to the Knight and it goes a long way in determining how much they will be willing to open up to you about their feelings in situations like this.
If you don’t have their trust, it is unlikely a Knight will ever truly let you know how they really feel.
Knights have a tendency to label or judge things as good or bad too quickly. This can affect how they respond to the sport they are playing, how they are being coached, and how they are interacting with their teammates, which all have a role in potentially burning out.
Help them once you’ve gained their trust by showing and teaching them that some things are ambivalent, and that there are both positive and negative elements to most things. This could help them by relieving some stress they are feeling.
Pressuring the Knight
Knights often have a problem with something called the avoidance conflict. This is a situation where two things need to be done, but both are unpleasant. In terms of burnout, a Knight athlete may feel ready to quit, but may also want to have that tough conversation with their parents or coaches as well, however, it will be extremely difficult for them to plan and prioritize these two situations, and will only stress them out further.
Parent and coach pressure is already one of the biggest causes of youth athlete burnout. So, make sure Knights feel as little of that pressure as possible.
This will ensure that if they are feeling burnt out for different reasons, they aren’t as hesitant or conflicted about being open with you about it. Then, something can be done to manage or alleviate the situation.
Also worth keeping in mind is that rules are very important to the Knight, and it will likely cause them some anxiety if they have teammates who are constantly breaking rules or coaches who try to be friends with their players and run a loose program.
It may be best to find a team that shares some of the Knights ideals, so it will be more comfortable for them, and they’ll be able to make friends quicker.
While they don’t like coaches who run a loose program, they do like the coach to be genuine and sincere with them, taking a friendly approach while still upholding and maintaining a set of rules for the team.
Knights: Parents and Coaches
It will help a Knight enjoy sports if their coach takes time every once and awhile to recognize them and what they bring to the team. That will make the Knight feel unique and special, and will make them feel as though the coach doesn’t see them as another face in the crowd, and rather, an important part of the team’s machine.
A Knight will enjoy team sports more if they have close friends on the team.
Encourage them to try and make friends with similar interests and values to them, because that will give them someone they can confide in on the team, and who will understand where they are coming from when they have problems.
It’s important to never make a Knights success or failures a public spectacle. They embarrass easily, so if you want to praise them or help them in a teaching moment where they may have failed, it’s best to do that in private or on the side. This way, they won’t feel embarrassed in front of their teammates and/or coaches.
These are all strategies that can be employed in order to reduce the stress that can lead to burnout in Knight athletes.
Here are the 5 key points to take away when trying to reduce the risk of burnout in Knight athletes:
- Get the Knight’s trust so they are comfortable confiding in you.
- Teach the Knight about how to deal with the avoidance conflict and making tough decisions where both choices may yield poor results.
- Find a team for the Knight that shares their personal values and ideals.
- The coach of a Knight should make an effort to tell them why they are a key player on the team.
- Encourage the Knight to make friends on their team.
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.