Life as a student athlete can be intense. Waking up bright and early for a morning workout, working hard at school, and then toughing out a late night practice or game can be overwhelming. The practices and games that a high school athlete must attend can leave little to no free time. From an outside perspective it’s easy to wonder what athletic burnout consists of, however, the tension from a competitive sport can add many stresses to one’s life.
Athletic burnout can be defined as mental, emotional, or physical exhaustion caused by over training and lack of recovery. This does not have to be in a literal sense, as a student athlete can be subject to burnout without training for hours on end. It is the repetitive routine, on top of life outside of sports that can be the breaking point for some athletes.
“I quit track in the past because I didn’t see a benefit for me, and I really couldn’t find the motivation to improve. Track didn’t feel as important to me as basketball did. Overall I was trying to make myself do something that I didn’t want to do, and that just made me the burnout even worse,” senior Alexis Cumiford said.
One large factor that contributes to athletic burnout is an athlete’s motivation. It’s easy to lose drive and passion for a sport when motivation is not centered on a focused goal.
Some athletes have strong motivations protecting them from athletic burnout. Oftentimes they have played for a long period of time and the sport just carries too much importance for them, or they plan on playing their sport on a higher level in their futures; some people have never felt the symptoms that come with overworking the mind and body past it’s limits.
“I have felt the symptoms of athletic burnout plenty of times. It feels like you’re exhausted all the time, and it feels like a chore no matter how much you love the sport. It’s like your body and mind are fighting each other,” senior Sariah Brown said.
Feeling burnt out does not mean that one should just quit their sport. There are many ways to reverse the affects that athletic exhaustion can cause. Sometimes it’s as simple as changing up your routine, or giving yourself a few off days.
“My advice to anyone who is losing motivation or feeling burnout with their sport would be to think about all of accomplishments you’re striving for and focus on that. Think about why you started, because if you play a sport there was a time where you had to love it in order to start,” junior Sydney Brewster said.
There are many aspects of life that are stressful and nagging, but a passion should never be that. As an athlete you have a responsibility to support your body and mind. If you feel overwhelmed it’s okay to change things up and help yourself.