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Burned Out? How To Handle Losing Passion For Your Sport

We all remember when we started playing sports.

Whether it was a childhood dream to become an athlete or an accidental passion for competition, sports bring people together and bring out a passion in people that pursue athletics to be the best they can be.

But what happens when we are pushed to the limit and begin to forget not when we started playing, but why?

What happens when we are pushed to the limit and begin to forget not when we started playing, but why?

We have all heard stories of athletes that claim they hate their sport because it doesn’t bring anything to their lives. Think of a past teammate, or current teammate. Someone who dreads going to practice, or complains the whole time. There are many people who lose their passion because they forget why they started playing. There are so many instances of people having a love for a sport and losing it over time due to what is commonly known as “burn out.”

So what can athletes do to reinvigorate their love for a sport that seems to have been lost?

There are two ways that burn out can be approached; as the athlete who is experiencing it first-hand, and as a teammate, trying to help.

First, let's identify how a teammate can help someone dealing with burn out.


Talk to your teammate about how they’re feeling.

I know it sounds cliché, but asking your teammate why they are feeling like their time as an athlete should come to an end can really help someone re-examine their motives. This may not cure them of feeling that way, but at least they will be able to talk it out rationally, rather than keep their feelings inside. Teammates are there to work with you through anything that is hindering your game and burn out can be a major factor in athletic success.


Remind your teammate of their importance to the team.

There is nothing worse than feeling like you are going through the routine of athletics with no purpose. Whether that be to get through college, or simply because they fell in love with athletics at an early age, thinking back to how much joy your sport brings you can revamp your desire to play.

There is nothing worse than feeling like you are going through the routine of athletics with no purpose.


Be Encouraging.

Encourage your teammate to do what they think is right for the path they want to pursue. This one may be tough because of course, you do not want to lose a teammate, but if they are 100% content with stopping, then it is not your place to limit them to one path. Support is incredibly important to the success of a team, and without support and understanding, the chances of a teammate quitting are increased.

Now, what can you do if you are the athlete trying to get over a case of feeling like sports bring nothing to your life. Think of a time when you’ve thought, “I hate practice, I hate my sport, and I do not want to continue playing.” Chances are there is another reason holding you back.


Take a break.

Now this can be hard in the middle of season, or during a training season, but if it is a possibility, take it. Being away from the organized structure of athletics can remind you of why you started playing in the first place and why you love playing so much.


Rely on your teammates and support system.

As mentioned before, talking it through can help more than people think. Chances are, an athlete is not going to be willing to give up on something that they have worked so hard for because we are competitive by nature. If you are passionate about finishing something, or being the best, then remember why by reaching out to teammates.


Work to find something positive in every practice.

If there is something that you are struggling with, work at making that better every day. If you notice yourself being negative at practice, focus on trying to be positive. If there is a skill that has been getting you down, focus on perfecting that. By setting small goals for each practice you will find positivity in pursuing your sport.

Of course these are not fool-proof ways to get over burn out, but the best thing to do is try. Losing teammates for any reason is disappointing, but when an athlete loses their love for something, it is particularly disappointing.

Remember that there is nothing wrong with being frustrated with your sport, or feeling overwhelmed with the commitment that it costs, but your love for your sport reminds you why you started playing in the first place.

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