Avoiding burnout

Discussion in 'SoCalScene' started by Surf Zombie, Apr 5, 2018.

  1. Surf Zombie

    Surf Zombie Bronze

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    2007 DD plays on a highly competitive team, lots of practice, tournaments, travel, etc. At present she loves the game, her teammates and goes to and from everyday with a smile on her face. I hope it stays that way (unless of course she develops a passion for something else).

    Wanted to thrown this out to see if anyone has any sage advice about avoiding burnout.

    We’ve been doing our best to “keep it fun.” Go see and do non-soccer things when traveling to tournaments, have her teammates over to hit the beach, stuff like that. And of course, never criticize her play or coach on the car ride home. Just try to be supportive, great job, all that.
     
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  2. Bananacorner

    Bananacorner Bronze

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    How much practice does she have? How many games? I'm guessing it must be a lot if you are concerned about burnout? Do they have months off (a month or two in winter, summer)?
     
  3. Surf Zombie

    Surf Zombie Bronze

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    They play a ton. Practice 3x week (1.5-2.0 hours) mid August through June 1, off June & July. 10 tournaments, 20 league games over the fall & spring and indoor games & Futsal all winter.
     
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  4. JackZ

    JackZ Bronze

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    I occasionally will ask my son if he wants a day off from a practice or training. It helps him understand that I'm there to support him and never want him to feel I'm making him or that he has to go to these things on top of school work and a social life.

    This has become more important now that he's double training for HS track (sprint practice is usually 60-75 minutes) and club soccer a three times a week (3rd day is a strength/agility training day).
     
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  5. Bananacorner

    Bananacorner Bronze

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    You are right to be concerned. I wouldn't have thought so a couple of years ago, but for my experience. One of my DDs had a very rigorous practice schedule, and I knew it was too much, but she loved her team and wouldn't take time off when I asked her (mostly because girls were punished for missing practices). She kept at it and kept at it, fighting to keep her starting position and get more and more playing time (which she did). And I worried and kept checking in with her. I could tell that it was a lot, and I could see that a lot of girls on the team were no longer having fun -- it had become work. But it was also a very high level of play and very competitive, and so I let her make the decision.

    Then, the worst thing happened... One day, without warning, she told me she wanted to quit soccer. Just like that, it was as if a light switch turned off. There was no, "hey, I think I want to consider other teams that don't have this schedule" or "I really need a couple of days/weeks off." Just, "no more, I'm done with the sport." All or none, that's my girl.

    It took me awhile and some maneuvering, but I talked her off the ledge. I tell this to you not because I think it will happen to you (there were lots of variables involved in the story), but because I think you are smart to be concerned. I like JackZ suggestion to ask if they need a day off, but I also know sometimes they won't take the time they need. My only advice is that you need to do your best to try and determine if she needs some time and give it to her, whether she wants to take it or not. Unfortunately, a lot of teams overwork these poor kids without a thought as to burnout. I guess they figure there is one in line behind them who will step up and take their place...
     
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  6. timbuck

    timbuck

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    10 summer tournaments?
    Isn’t summer vacation only about 10 weeks?
    Or like 6 summer and 4 in spring/winter?

    That’s 30-40 tournament games. Which is a ton.
     
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  7. Bananacorner

    Bananacorner Bronze

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    Have to get that GotSoccer ranking rising!
     
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  8. mirage

    mirage Silver

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    Most likely boys. Puberty will change things, and life happens. I remember a big change with my daughter when she was 11 and when she was 13. Gratefully she's 25 now and I would not want to go through that again.... Boys are sooooo much easier.

    Frankly, whatever you do won't matter. If the child is into soccer, he/she will pursue without your encouragement or not. As. for a burnout, one should not confuse occasional desire to want to take a break or go do something else to "Soccer Burnout". Its just doing other things.

    I know many parents believe they actually control their kids but in reality, the only thing control leads to is a epic failure between a parent and a child. That said, guide, set boundaries, provide options and occasional course correction are all well within good parenting and applies to soccer experience.

    The most sage advice I can give anyone about this subject is to be prepared (and willing to accept) for whatever happens. Have alternatives to keep your kid engaged constructively, in an event that she gives up soccer. At the end of the day, unless you are willing to force the child to continue on what she doesn't want to do any longer, its best to have alternative/options. Who knows, when she consider the options, may elect to go on with soccer but then its her choice, not yours. Just put yourself in her shoes and imagine if you were told to continue something that you don't want to do any longer.

    The notion of child not knowing better than you, because you think the kid just needs a break or that somehow it will prevent burnout is a fallacy. If its going to happen, it will. Meanwhile, if you throttle the kid back, when she wants to go full force, you might be doing more harm than good.
     
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  9. Dargle

    Dargle Bronze

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    Having seen club soccer through from the youngest ages to the oldest and back again, I have a different perspective on what has been called "burnout" from overplaying or playing at too high a level (as opposed to physical overuse, which can cause injuries). There are a large number of kids who lose interest and quit the sport over the years. I have seen it on teams where they practice 2x a week and play maybe 3-4 tournaments plus State Cup in addition to league (in other words, a pretty manageable schedule) and I have seen it on kids who have made to the highest level of Premier or DA, practicing 4x/week and doing additional strength work and out-of-state travel frequently. I've also seen a ton of kids who never went to club, but continued to play AYSO (practicing 1x a week and playing 1 game and the occasional tournament) quite happily until they too quit around high school. In other words, it's pretty common for kids to quit for all sorts of reasons. Really strong players have quit and really weak players have persisted. As far as I can tell, there's no magic formula to keep your child happy and interested in soccer throughout their youth. Maybe keeping them away from dating would help, but good luck with that.

    Does that mean vacations and breaks are irrelevant? Of course not, they probably come back a better player if they recharge their batteries, recover a little physically, etc. It does mean, however, that not putting your child on the high level team that practices a lot and is more pressure-packed may only mean that they never play on the high-level team. They might still "burnout" in a few years in the sense of losing interest in playing. If your kid is really happy and desperate to play a lot (within safe, physical, limitations), it's probably not going to make that much of a difference in their long-term youth soccer "career" to prevent it. You have to listen to your kid and not other parents. Don't dial up stress/pressure/privates if they aren't interested and asking for it. If they are, though, and you can swing it as a family, the only time I have seen it as truly harmful to their continued playing career is when a marginal kid gets on a DA team and is then cut in a subsequent year. The "shame" of going back to a regular club team can sometimes lead the kid to quit when they normally would have continued to play (and play well), blissfully ignorant of the higher-level team option.
     
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  10. SoccerMom05

    SoccerMom05 Bronze

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    Great feedback. My DD will be 13 in a few months and wants to practice 5 days a week. Sometimes I think as a parent do I step in and say enough? Club practice going on 3 days a week, 4th day of agility. Possibly Futsal during off season so that leaves us with Saturday's if there are no games. When should parents step in? Of course this question is for the parents that have been through this with their kids
     
  11. Surf Zombie

    Surf Zombie Bronze

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    No summer tournaments. 10 tournaments total throughout the year.
     
  12. MakeAPlay

    MakeAPlay Silver Elite

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    You step in when injury is a concern. Otherwise, the players that make it out of club and continue to play in college are driven individuals and you need to nurture that drive. You will see it go in waves. My daughter is currently in the midst of her biggest break from soccer since she was 10 (going on 3 months due to injury) and she cannot wait to get back on the pitch. I can honestly say that she talks about soccer more with me now than ever before. As long as injury isn't the issue then I say let her play as much as she wants.

    Good luck to you and your daughter.
     
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  13. 46n2

    46n2 Bronze

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    Relax and enjoy the time with your child. Why would you worry about if she ditches soccer for something else...Trust me we are on a soccer forum, talking about soccer, talking about our kids....and soccer......its ultimately their choice not ours....BUT I do feel you. My oldest is impulsive, and depending on what her friends are playing , she moves like the wind, and we try alot of different sports , but luckily for me she always reverts to soccer. I let her experiment with different things, ultimately each time she came back........just make sure she know she can switch sports if she wants , alot of our friends do this and very few kids never come back. Dont be afraid to give them options
    I have a friend that burns out their kid, by constant pressure, coaching, etc......watch out for that, thats the killer , the parent , not the sport.
    Burn out --we are training 4 days a week, this year 4 local tourneys and 2 out of state, shes busy but no burn out , just a kid with energy and passion to move, juke, jump, shoot, play anything ,any sport........
     
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  14. SoccerMom05

    SoccerMom05 Bronze

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    Thanks MAP.. I appreciate your valuable feedback. I wish your DD a speedy recovery.
     
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  15. eastcountysoccer

    eastcountysoccer Bronze

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    This topic is one that is very annoying to me. Every player is different. Parents should listen to their kids and do whats in their best interest in the short term. Don't worry about the long term, so much is out of the parents control. Some kids can play everyday and never take a day off while others need time away. The spectrum is very broad. There is no handbook or guide.
     
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  16. coachsamy

    coachsamy

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    Every player is different and there is no handbook, however there is a deep correlation on kids burnout with gullible parents and tracksuits.

    The biggest part of a burnout is when the game is no longer fun for the kid. (Yes I know that's kind of Captain Obvious stuff) Let me break it down, kids play/practice in teams where they are having fun because they are playing at least 60% of the game, the coach treats the kids with respect and provides a good environment for the kids, then what happens? Some tracksuit shows up takes away this player with all these stupid promises of reaching the next level and blah blah blah. The gullible parent falls for the trap, takes their kid to that super team with tracksuit, the kid is not playing as much, teammates are not as encouraging, and the GAME is not longer fun for them and they say goodbye to it.

    Then add the time wasting of tournaments and far away non-DA league games (Nobody should be playing league games outside a 40 miles radius for a non-DA league), missing on other activities with their non soccer friends, vacations, and the hour+/each way commutes to practices, only because the Kool Aid is sweeter at the far away big box club.

    Fun will help avoiding burnout.
     
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  17. Chalklines

    Chalklines Bronze

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    Personally I'm not a believer in burnout but I am a believer in distractions and negative influences on athletes from outsiders when they hit their teens. If she keeps a close group of sports related friends who share in the same activities/goals burn out won't happen.

    Once those non athlete friends start coming her way, the distractions start and the grass starts looking greener on the other side.
     
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  18. full90

    full90 Bronze

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    The one thing I wish we would've done differently is to not feel bad about skipping a tourney or league game. We are DA now and our coach is like "hey it's a long season, don't feel bad about missing something." So all of us have taken that to heart and go on vacations, etc...We all look back and laugh at club soccer and the immense pressure that every tournament/league/CRL game was of the utmost importance. If we had the strength to say "um yeah we are gone the weekend of the (we now realize) meaningless Albion Cup tournament" it would've been a win for our family and kid. As it is we have a closet full of meaningless tourney medals that no one looks at or cares about and a lot of sacrificed weekends for really no reason.

    And whoever said it above...if they quit, they quit. You can do everything "right" regarding breaks and whatnot and they still want to do something else. OR they never have a day off and love it for years and years on end.

    We do ask our kids "do you still love it?" "What do you want to do next season?" "What are your goals?" and then help them plan accordingly. When we hear flack about 4 days a week DA (which is too much IMHO) we reply back "you wanted to be DA. This is what it means. If you don't want DA, totally fine by us...here are other club options. Maybe next season you move to club." Then it's the kid's choice and we are there for follow through. (Once they are dressed and in the car it's usually fine).

    Coaches can be huge allies in taking the pressure off to not miss. A missed practice here and there for a mental health day or a birthday dinner should be encouraged and not punished. If a team culture of fun and hard work is there, then a missed day is no more or less than a missed day.
     
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  19. MakeAPlay

    MakeAPlay Silver Elite

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    I love this! I just showed my player her box of meaningless club medals (it's now in my possession) this past week (she was on spring break) and it was a great walk down memory lane for her. I can tell you that I definitely remember the games more than she does. What she does remember are the locations, the friends, the pool time at the hotels, the long talks about everything that we would have while in transit and most importantly the fun. Fast forward and now she doesn't stress out on missing a training because of class and she even got to work training and rehab around Coachella.

    Keep it fun, let them lead the journey with your guidance and support and it will all work itself out. Good luck to you and your player.
     
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  20. Chalklines

    Chalklines Bronze

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    Good luck with Coachella. That's a journey your daughter should not be leading you on.

    How olds your player? (And yeah.... I get it. You can't keep them away from drugs/sex/alcohol forever)
     

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