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What Every Young Athlete Can Do To Manage Stress and Burnout

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What Every Young Athlete Can Do To Manage Stress and Burnout

Young athletes have many activities to juggle. From sports, gym, homework, exams, social life and family time, finding the time to sleep, eat and recover properly can be difficult. When you are sleep deprived or you haven't eaten since school, this is going to have an effect on your training and performance.

Mental stress is just as taxing as physical stress. There are only so many stresses you can handle at once. Now it's okay to have setbacks and hurdles to overcome every so often, however understanding why they occurred and how to rectify it next time is the key to ensuring constant progress.

If you are going into trainings and games under higher amounts of stress than normal your mind is going to be flustered and overactive, leading to a state of anxiety. When your mind is in this anxious state, your body will soon follow, meaning your muscles will tighten up, you'll start second guessing decisions, and you'll feel like you're half a second behind in the game. Your mind has to be in a state of clarity and relaxation in order to see and feel like you're playing the game on your natural instincts.

Some strategies you can implement to help alleviate some of these stresses and regulate your physiological well-being include using a calendar to stay on top of your time management, taking breaks, guided meditation and staying away from social media.

During your school weeks there are plenty of school tasks you need to be going on top of all your sport training, and it can be very easy to lose track of them all. Using a calendar to keep track and plan out time to complete tasks, train and also time to relax and recover is a great tool to use to help organise your life and keep the important tasks high on the priority list.

Additionally, taking a training off once a fortnight or month (depending on the workload) can help rejuvenate yourself to want to be at training and enjoying what you're doing. Preventing athletic burnout is crucial at young ages as developing a bad relationship with exercise early on can lead to lack of physical activity later in life.

Following a guided meditation on game days can help settle the mind and focus yourself on where you are and the game/race ahead. Being able to ground yourself in the task you are currently doing and not letting your mind wander with your thoughts is an important skill to learn and can be utilised during games as well.

Staying off social media in the couple of hours before your game can again refocus your thoughts on what you're meant to be doing. Rather than spending the morning on TikTok, go out for a walk, listen to music or try some meditation to focus yourself rather than outside factors.

If you're coming into a training session worn out, let your coach know. Whether it be cutting out some sets of your workout or focussing on the quality movements and finishing with some fun, your coach will understand what's best for you in that circumstance.

Additionally, if you know you're going to have a tough period of exams or just a lot of homework/assignments coming up, inform your coach and they will decrease the work you have to do in the gym.

Keep working alongside your coach and maintaining good communication to ensure you're making progress!

If your young athlete needs help with improving their sports performance and managing life, get in touch with us today.

Matt Hucul
Junior Strength Coach
Inner Athlete (AUS)
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