Balancing the Load: Burnout in High School Athletes

Injury Prevention, Uncategorized

Fall is in full swing which means a whole new workload for high school student-athletes. Not only are students adjusting to new classes, teachers, and peers within those classes but it also means high school athletics are well underway. This can be an exciting time as the athletic experience can be a very memorable one. However, it can also be a great source of time, energy and stress for student-athletes.

Many local high school athletic programs started back in July with sport specific camps and strength-conditioning programs. Sports like volleyball and football may have been going ever since. Other sports like basketball and soccer are going through the rigors of pre-season with tryouts, cuts, and preparing for upcoming seasons.

At the same time, clubs for different sports train year-round and compete during the off-season for their corresponding high school sport. This results in student-athletes being “in season” for most of the year. Practice before, during, or after school as part of high school athletics followed by club practice two times a week and games on the weekend. This can put an immense amount of physical and psychological stress on the body resulting in overuse injuries and burnout.

Burnout typically results when an athlete is under continued physical and mental stress from their sport without appropriate physical and mental recovery time. Some of the early signs include:

  • Decreased performance
  • Increased fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating and forgetfulness
  • Disinterest, moodiness, irritability,
  • Increased anxiety
  • Lingering injuries

Often, there is a notion in today’s sports culture that “more is better.” However, without sufficient recovery, this notion can cause a deterioration in performance rather than improvement. Overtraining can not only have a physical impact but a psychological one as well.

Athletes can learn and develop a number of tools through sports psychology and counseling to help manage the extensive demands of their training schedules and prevent burnout. Several tools, like stress management and diaphragmatic breathing, can not only help with burnout but enhance performance in a number of other areas to help an athlete achieve their peak performance more consistently.

Contact us at S2S Functional Performance to see how we may be able to help you or your student-athletes.

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