Are you encouraging Youth Sports Burnout in your child?
Do you play to win or do you play to have fun? According to growing evidence, there’s a huge rift between kids who play sports to have fun, and the priorities of coaches and parents bent on winning. This difference in goals is the main reason kids get youth sports burnout.
Be sure to read the baseball question I received from a mom below and my response. Also be sure to check into “A Perfect Season“, which is a new book that has transformed the way I coach, parent and live life. You can purchase it right here also!
Every once in awhile, I receive a question from one of my visitors that makes me reflect and think about how I coach and live my life. I received the following question from one of my visitors to My-Youth-Baseball.com and it got me thinking about youth sports burnout:
Hello coach, my 14yr old son wants to make it on the freshman high school baseball team. Problem is he has never been on any team before. He is basically learning everything now.
He is working with someone that is giving him hitting lessons 3 times a week. He told him yesterday that he would not make the team in January unless he practices everyday, including Sundays, and even that won’t guarantee it because he started so late. My son is pretty determined now and says he will practice every day.
Any suggestions, please? Any techniques he can do?
This question made me really think about youth sports and where our priorities are. It made me think of how adults push kids toward youth sports burnout.
Here is how I answered this youth sports mom’s question:
Thanks for the question! I hope I can be of help to you.
First of all, I do not agree with your son practicing seven days per week. There are a couple things that could happen with that type of regimen. Two of the biggest concerns I have are:
- He could injure himself due to overuse of muscles and joints.
- He could be a casualty of youth sports burnout and it seems like this is a sport he is just beginning to love.
As far as the injury, be careful… If his arm is sore, that is his body’s method of telling him to give it a break. Just make sure he is not over-doing it with his arm. If he hurts his arm in the off-season, he would have absolutely no chance of making the team in the spring.
With my “youth sports burnout” comment, I just want him to keep loving the game. When the time comes for tryouts in the spring, he should be totally looking forward to the season. My fear is that he will be burnt out from all of his off season stuff that he won’t really care when the season gets here. Even more, he may get sick of the sport before the end of the season.
I am not saying these things are going to happen. If he is careful and really wants to do this for himself, then let him go at it. However, if he complains of pain or just decides he wants a break, listen to him.
Now onto your questions for drills…
First of all, I would totally recommend purchasing an Insider Bat for him. Click here to learn about this hitting trainer. I am a huge believer in this tool and it is something he can do on his own. Make sure to watch the videos and look at all the information. If he is sold, order it. He will have it in his hands quickly!
I would also recommend keeping him in “baseball shape.” I would recommend asking his coach/trainer about weight programs and conditioning drills. In simple terms, he needs to make sure his lungs and muscles are in shape for baseball. Short sprints, weight lifting (lifting for baseball, not just to get bigger) and long distance jogs for endurance are important. After coaching for numerous years, I have found strength and conditioning to be one of the biggest factors in high school success.
Lastly, just make sure he is doing what HE wants to do. Baseball is a great game and we don’t want to burn out a 14 year old kid. Keep things simple.
Please let me know if you have any other questions!
Have a good day!
I never did hear back from this baseball mom, but I really hope she listened to my thoughts. I hope her son doesn’t become a victim of youth sports burnout!
Youth Sports Burnout is a big problem in today’s society because adults and kids have different goals when playing. Kids, typically, play because the game is fun. Coaches, sometimes, coach only to win (they forget the fun and learning aspect of the game). Parents, sometimes, think their kid is going to be the next Mickey Mantle, so they push and push and push until the youth athlete wants to quit (it isn’t fun anymore).
Lastly, be sure to purchase and read Dan Clemens’ book, A Perfect Season. Clemens takes readers on a behind the scenes tour of his 12-year-old son’s baseball season. “It was perfect,” he says, “but not in terms of wins and losses.” Rather, Coach Dan’s team achieved their goals of learning, competing and having fun – the three things he emphasizes that should drive youth sports.
Clemens offers many insights that will help youth coaches – and their players – enjoy A Perfect Season of their own:
- The mantra of fun, learn, compete guides decisions on and off the field.
- The difference between Responding and Reacting as a way of dealing with lackluster play, frustrating umpires, and angry parents.
- Why curve balls and metal bats should be banned in the youth game.
- Why yelling at kids doesn’t improve performance.
- Why communication is a coach’s most important off-the-field responsibility.
- Why kids should participate in multiple sports and learn to play several positions.
- Why coaches must define success before selecting players for the team.
Click here to purchase the book!
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