Most athletes love the athletic performance off-season training, the constant physical training in the weight room, the buildup of successive practices. However, even the most focused sports veteran experiences burnout at one point or another.
In essence, burnout is a feeling of being done. The effort you need to make progress is not there, everything feels harder like climbing to the peak of the mountain, with a boulder on your back.
For any individual or team to succeed the ascent is how athletes prepare in their off-season training leading to greater strength, fortitude, endurance, and consistency.
Here are five ways to help you or your team push through burnout.
1. Switch Up Your Training
Doing the same thing over and over leads to burn out. The monotony can kill the spirit, while constantly mixing things up when training is burnout’s nemesis.
Most athletes like set routines, it is easier to plan out and complete it; however, set routines plans lack creativity. The goal is to make things interesting again.
One can try changing up the order of exercises, reps, sets, or anything similar. Maybe as many rounds or reps as possible (AMRAP) within a set time limit. Make it a challenge or competition.
Most often, just changing your routine can make a big difference. Changing things as simple as different sets or rep numbers with your resistance training, or adding new training techniques like plyometrics, or incorporating resistance bands can be great for a change.
For practice, take the same advice. Change it up; do your drills, in reverse or add some competition or challenges to the mix.
2. Try A New Sport Or Activity
Nothing helps break the monotony of training, like giving a new sport or activity a shot. trying something new.
Take a day from your normal training protocol. If not part of your fitness training, take an exercise class or swim some laps in the pool. While you may need to compensate for this day off, your overall mind and body will be set up for long-term success.
As far as practice goes, explore new drills, game formats, or strategies. Invite a guest coach, athlete or athletic trainer to help educate and share some new ideas; trying something that they’ve done in the past with success that will reinvigorate the team.
3. You Are Allowed To Take A Day Off
Keep it simple. If you’re feeling burnt out, especially your body, take a day where you do nothing sports-related.
Don’t feel guilty, your body’s hard work deserves a reward and a break is great for your overall wellness. Plan your day off ahead of time and put it in writing to help ease those guilty feelings.
Just sitting on the couch and do nothing is not the answer, try being productive. Maybe you need groceries or really want to see that movie everyone’s been talking about. Also, use the time for relaxing activities, take a bath if you can, read a book or get that proper amount of sleep your body and mind need for recovery.
4. Create A Taper And Measure Your Progress
Tapering your sports performance training is usually done towards the end of the season, as one tries to peak mentally and physically for competition.
However, a smart athlete or athletic trainer builds in recurrent mini-tapers in the middle of the season for two reasons: measure progress and avoid burnout.
Lowering the intensity or length of a practice or training session can help mentally and physically boost you. The goal is to gain confidence and making these modifications can give your mind a reward, helping to elevate burnout.
5. Find The Fun
You got into this sport for a reason. If you are not having fun, then burnout is inevitable. Find the joy again.
Team bonding activities away from training or scrimmages are the perfect cure for a low mood. Plan a night out, keep it simple. Go bowling or hit some golf balls.
Sometimes we don’t remember to make the time to have some fun. Remember, just because training is tough, doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the lighter moments in life.
If you have a two-a-day practice or pod workouts, make an excuse to get your teammates over on a weekend night and have a poker tournament.
By finding the fun again, you are able to push forward and leave burnout in the past.