Why It’s Important for Lacrosse Players to Have a Break
We talk a lot about becoming a better lacrosse player and reaching your full potential. Since we’re talking about an athletic endeavor, most of the work that’s necessary to have success on the field is physical.
After all, you can’t expect to get better and reach new heights without putting in the work. However, if a lacrosse player is going to stay involved in the game for a long period of time – like a number of years – it’s important to take regular breaks.
There’s nothing wrong with being all lacrosse, all the time if a youth player is the one driving the process, but it’s the responsibility of the adults in his or her life to make sure they think about other things occasionally. This helps prevent the dreaded “sports burnout” from happening. The last thing any of us want to see is for a player with a bright future in the game simply walk away because they can’t stand the sport anymore.
That’s the opposite of what we’re trying to do here!
It’s important for an athlete to rest their body in order to give their muscles ample time to recuperate and remain healthy, but it’s just as important – if not more so – to give their mind a break. As we’ve talked about a number of times, lacrosse is just as mental as it is physical.
Three common causes of sports burnout include early specialization, over-scheduling, and the athlete having a lack of control over their outcomes.
Just because a youth athlete shows promise in one particular sport – whether it’s lacrosse or something else – that’s not a signal to throw all other sports out of the window in order for them to just focus on lacrosse. Playing other sports allows for athletes to work their bodies and minds in different ways, while also giving them an opportunity to miss the one sport that they’re not constantly playing.
The decision to keep playing a sport – regardless of whether or not they are “good” at it – should be the athlete’s and the athlete’s alone. They’ll likely make the decision by thinking about whether that particular sport is fun or not. As we’ve said many times here, lacrosse is a game, and games are supposed to be fun! Enjoying what you’re doing is important to actually keep it going over a prolonged period of time.
Giving athletes an opportunity to have control over their schedule and outcomes of playing a sport will help them feel empowered with regard to the decisions actually being made. We all know that it’s sometimes difficult for our kids to listen to us, even if we’re giving them sound advice and they land on the same conclusion on their own. But allowing them to take some ownership is good for their growth and development as a person, too.
The whole point of introducing lacrosse to youth athletes is to help them experience something that will have lasting effects on the rest of their life. That can’t happen unless we prevent sports burnout from happening as much as possible.