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What is burnout?

Burnout basically means physical or emotional exhaustion caused by long-term stress.

Children just starting out in sport are unlikely to be affected. If they get seriously involved, it could then become a factor.

The symptoms of burnout can be physical, mental and/or emotional.

What are the causes?

Burnout can happen if excessively high expectations are placed on a child by parents or coaches and they are pushed too hard too quickly.

Children who go all out in their sport and neglect other areas of their life, like schoolwork, may also fall foul.

The symptoms can be confusing for parents but being aware of them is important because the severe cases can lead to clinical depression.

What to watch for in your child:

  • Constantly feeling tired
  • Easily frustrated
  • Not wanting to go to practice or training
  • Increased irritability
  • Headaches or minor body aches
  • Worrying about failure and adult expectation

    Watch out for the development of these symptoms. And act quickly when you spot them.

    The road to recovery

    Rest and relaxation is the best cure and talking about any problems is also a good way of improving things.

    You won't have all the answers but just understanding the problems will be a help.

    Don't expect too much from your child. Make sure you know what their aspirations are and try to help them achieve those goals rather than pushing them.

  • My kids could do more. They're more into 'Angelina Ballerina' than the rudiments of 4-4-2 formation. But there's time. I'm careful not to force the issue.
    - Martin Schiller, father of two


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