5 Keys to Avoiding Burnout in Musketeer 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.
Open Communication with the Musketeer
Musketeer athletes may be feeling burned out or stressed due to circumstances created from the sports they play, like any other athlete type. While they are very affable, Musketeers may feel a little nervous about bringing these feelings up to their parents or coaches, because they athlete will typically not like to be ones who “rock the boat”.
It may be best to keep an open line of communication with Musketeers, so they won’t feel that bringing up how they’re feeling will be an instance of them causing others problems, and instead, feel like a more natural and organic conversation.
If you are going to be having a tough conversation with a Musketeer about things that are stressing them out in their sport or day-to-day lives, give them some advance warning of the conversation you want to have with them.
This extra time will help them come into the conversation more comfortable, both ready and able to say exactly what they want to, helping them get whatever it is they need to say off their chests, relieving stress.
Musketeers and their Team
One thing that will definitely lift the spirits of a Musketeer is if they are given opportunities to help others on their team.
They enjoy helping others, so activities where they can peer-coach or offer instruction in a constructive and effective way will really be a true morale boost for them.
An example of this would be if you had a Musketeer who plays baseball or softball. Have them work as a third or first base coach in practice scrimmages, or invite them to offer help or advice to teammates during fielding or hitting drills– these would be some activities that would satisfy their desire to help their teammates, while also keeping them engaged and energized within their sport.
Musketeers are drawn to team sports, so if they are primarily participating in an individual sport, it may be in their best interest to play a team sport during the offseason of their primary sport, in order to allow them to spread their wings socially.
Obviously this is a bit tough to do if their primary sport is demanding and any free time should be placed towards activities with less physical or emotional strain. If playing an extra sport in the offseason would put too much physical or mental/emotional strain on their bodies and mind, finding other activities where they can interact with others around their age would offer some of the same benefits.
The key here is really just ensuring they have enough time where they can interact and connect with others.
If your Musketeer is playing a team sport, they could be at risk for being taken advantage of by their teammates, due to their strong desire to help those around them, and others taking that and using it to their own advantage.
Look out for situations where this may be occuring, because it could cause them some mental and emotional stress trying to jump through hoops to assist teammates who are taking advantage of their kindness and willingness to help.
Winning isn’t Everything
To a Musketeer, they have a tendency to feel their teammates and the experiences they share come before a win. Because of this, some teammates, parents, and coaches may take this a little too seriously and believe they do not care about winning.
Considering the growing competitive atmosphere surrounding youth sports, this can cause stress for the Musketeer and everyone else.
It’s important to keep the Musketeer in good spirits if others start to question their dedication to winning.
Remember that Musketeer athletes are dedicated to the team, and just may not be as firmly dedicated to winning, especially winning at all costs, as others may be.
A positive trait the Musketeer has that may be an issue in terms of the stress they feel from playing sports is their willingness to admit mistakes. Sometimes, they are too quick to claim a mistake as their own, even if the responsibility for that mistake belongs to someone else on the team.
This kind of behavior puts a lot of pressure or stress on the Musketeer, because they may begin to feel they truly make a large amount of mistakes, which is likely not the case– they just don’t see the other contributing factors that caused the mistake to be made.
Stay positive with your Musketeer and remind them that a lot of times, mistakes that are made are due to a confluence of events, and not just the actions of one player. Do this without singling out one of their teammates, because that will frustrate the Musketeer, who likely cares deeply about their teammates, and doesn’t want them to be chided for making mistakes.
These are all strategies that can be employed in order to reduce the stress that can lead to burnout in Musketeer athletes.
Here are the 5 key points to take away when trying to reduce the risk of burnout in Musketeer athletes:
- Ensure the Musketeer it’s okay to say what’s on their mind by keeping an open line of communication with them.
- Give the Musketeer opportunities to help their teammates.
- Find social activities for a Musketeer to get involved in, whether it be a team sport or a club.
- Help a Musketeer manage how they help others, or they may be at risk of being taken advantage of.
- Remember that the Musketeer may be focused more on the wellbeing of their team than winning.
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.