5 Keys to Avoiding Burnout in Trailblazer 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.
Trailblazers have a Unique Thought Process
One of the most important things to remember about Trailblazer athletes is that they typically have very unique interests they would like to pursue outside of sports. A typical Trailblazer will be aesthetically driven, with outlets like food, fashion, and art drawing their attention.
This makes it important to let Trailblazers explore their non-sports interests.
Because they are aesthetically driven, allow them to select a non-sport activity to participate in during their sporting down-time that will allow them to escape their daily stresses as well as the stresses they feel from competing in their sports.
Focusing too much on their sports will cause them to feel stressed, and won’t refine some of their more aesthetically driven tastes.
For a Trailblazer these activities could include things like cooking classes, drawing in their freetime in a sketchbook, listening to or making music when they want to relax, things of that nature.
Trailblazers are Social
Trailblazer athletes also get energy from interacting with others, it may be a good idea to arrange practices or development drills from their individual sports where they can interact with other players around their age in a less-competitive, more knowledge and skill-building based atmosphere.
An example of this could be a Trailblazer golfer getting together with other golfers around their age or skill level every once and awhile to play a round just for the fun of it, or work on skills like putting or their drives as a group.
Trailblazers can typically be “pie in the sky dreamers”, and also have a tendency to pour their all into something, energy and effort– only to crash later on. In terms of burnout, it’s a tendency that is worth keeping an eye on.
A Trailblazer may start off their season full of energy, with lots of goals and results in mind, and will attack those goals full-speed ahead when the season begins. If they run out of energy or fail, and begin to lose interest, it’s important to remind them that some things take time to develop, and remind them of the process it takes to get to where they want to be.
It’s hard to reel a Trailblazer’s dreams and goals in, so if they fail, they could become more likely to burnout due to the stress of not being able to do something. This could cause them to have lower self-esteem and anxiety in some cases.
Help Trailblazers focus on smaller goals that help them work up to the bigger goals they likely have in mind.
In this vain, it may help a Trailblazer if there is a plan or steps that they help draw up for themselves that will help them reach their big goals.
In some cases, it’s not just about the Trailblazer themselves. They could want to have outlets where they want to bond with their parents, but in a way they know both they and their parent will enjoy.
Trailblazers want to see their parents exhibit some zest for life– it is recommended that a Trailblazer and parent find a hobby they can both participate in together, but make sure it’s something they are both passionate about.
This sort of activity will be beneficial during the offseason of your Trailblazer’s sport, and will give them something to look forward to, no matter how demanding their season is, or how it ends.
Fundamentals and X’s and O’s
There is a tendency for Trailblazers to not focus on fundamentals. In fact, for some, fundamentals represent the most tedious and boring part of sports.
Trailblazers don’t typically work on their fundamentals, and doing so may cause them to find less enjoyment in their sport.
This is especially true if it’s a sport where working on fundamentals is a large part of their day-to-day practices and activities it would be beneficial to try and balance this out by making the fundamental drills more engaging, and less technically driven.
For example, if your child is a tennis player working on serves, it may be beneficial for them if you set it up as a game, where they aim for targets on the court as they serve. This keeps the activity engaging, and will make it seem less like fundamentals, and more like a game-like activity.
Finally, it is important to remember that X’s and O’s do not really interest the Trailblazer, and it may be better for them to hear the philosophies behind them rather than having to see them drawn out.
In order to keep the Trailblazer interested, and also relieve some stress they may feel from having to learn a playbook, it would help them to better understand if the X’s and O’s were explained the “big picture” or concept behind plays.
These are all strategies that can be employed in order to reduce the stress that can lead to burnout in Trailblazer athletes.
Here are the 5 key points to take away when trying to reduce the risk of burnout in Trailblazer athletes:
- Let Trailblazers explore their non-sports interests.
- Find group activities or workouts for your Trailblazer to participate in to satisfy their need for social interaction.
- Help a Trailblazer put their goals in perspective.
- Try to find activities that you and your Trailblazer can do together.
- Help spice up the way Trailblazers see fundamentals and how they grasp the X’s and O’s in their sport.
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.
Learn about famous Trailblazer athletes like you!
- Cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers, Richard Sherman
- Kris Bryant, third baseman for the Chicago Cubs