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Avoiding Burnout as the Parent of an Athlete

Read these essential tips for parents

Sponsored post. Written by IMG Academy

As parents to children who play sports, we want to be on top of our metaphorical game for our kids. While practices and games can take their toll on our children, taking care of our young athletes can also cause some exhaustion for parents as well. Sports parent burnout is real, but there are strategies, such as sending our kids to sleepaway tennis camps or other sports camps, that can help us refresh and be at our best.

Take a time out: Do you attend every single practice and game? While your intentions are good in always being present at your child’s events, you need a break sometimes, too. Can your spouse, parents, sibling, or another team parent sometimes take your place? You could even consider creating a rotation or schedule for who takes your child to practice or games, and this will also benefit your child because they’ll be on a predictable routine.

Don’t be afraid to delegate: Did you volunteer to be a team parent? That’s great! But sports seasons can be long, so don’t try to take on every single responsibility if it’s possible to delegate some tasks. It’s okay to ask for help, and there may even be another team parent or another family member in your child’s life who would love the opportunity to pitch in.

Stay in shape: Just because you’re dedicating so much time to your child’s athletic endeavors doesn’t mean that yours should be put on hold. Staying active is a great way to keep yourself physically and mentally fit, and it also sets a great example for your child. There may even be opportunities where you can train with your child, which doubles as bonding time!

Eliminate other sources of stress: If the amount of time and effort that you are dedicating to your child’s sports endeavors can’t be reduced, figure out where you can cut back in other areas. If you find yourself lacking the time to cook on practice nights, consider a food delivery service, or meal prep ahead of time. If cleaning the house is being neglected, hire a cleaning service, or enlist other family members to help.

Don’t needlessly go into debt: The most cutting-edge equipment and the most expensive shoes or clothing won’t make your child a better athlete. While having the correct equipment is obviously important, it’s counterintuitive to overspend when a less expensive option will accomplish the same goal.

Bond with team parents: Social connections are critical. Your child will enjoy the bonds they form with their teammates, so it’s also important to bond with the other team parents. Not only will your relationship with other team parents satisfy your need for social connections, but they could also benefit you if an emergency arises, and your child needs a ride to or from a practice or game or if you need help with your team parent responsibilities.

Let your child’s coach do their job: It is your job to be your child’s parent, and it is the coach’s job to be their coach. Not only does coaching your child lead to added stress for them, but it’s unnecessary stress for you as well. By all means, support your child, be their cheerleader, and be there for them when they need to vent. But, let your child’s coach do the instructing and provide the constructive criticism.

As Lindsey Hamilton, Head of Mental Conditioning for IMG Academy, explains, "With the expert coaches we have on staff throughout all of the sports represented at IMG Academy, it helps parents to step back from the coaching role easier, knowing their child’s development is in great care."

Send your child to a sports sleepaway camp: While this may sound selfish initially, just think about it. With some exceptions, most kids are excited to go away to camp, and, frankly, they want to get away from you just as much as you could use a break from them. Sending your child to sleepaway tennis camps or another sports camp has a long list of benefits for them, from building sport-specific skills to helping them develop independence. But, there are benefits for you too! A vacation from the usual routine of driving to practice and games will give you a chance to relax and take some time for yourself, so, when your child returns home, you’ll be refreshed and ready to give them your best.

Just enjoy yourself: It’s easy to get caught up in our child’s performance when they play sports or to get upset about a call made by a coach or official. Next time you attend one of your child’s games, try to just have fun and enjoy the excitement of the competition. As an added bonus, you’ll also be setting an example for your child to see that they should try to have fun while playing their sport.

Hamilton adds, "There is so much for parents to enjoy at IMG Academy, located on the beautiful gulf coast of Florida, from tennis and golf training, and workouts with the performance coaches, to parent education sessions and relaxing days spent at Legacy Hotel. Everyone in the family can enjoy the environment at IMG Academy."

Sports parent burnout is real, and it benefits both you and your child to take steps to avoid it. From sending your child to camps, such as sleepaway camps, to practicing self-care, you can proactively take action to be a great sports parent!

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