Raising Resilient Athletes


The Need for Changes

Andrea_Henkel_Burke_The Need for Changes

Sometimes the best thing that can happen is failure. It forces a chance. But we don´t need to get there when it´s possible to plan the chances from the beginning.

As a young athlete, the pressure to perform at your best can be overwhelming. They may feel like they need to follow a strict training regime, maintain a perfect diet, and avoid any injuries or setbacks. You may already see the need for changes when young athletes take it too seriously. It is important that hard work keeps being fun and exciting! 

Knowing that there is not this one pathway that produces Olympians also means there is not one perfect way to get there. When we are talking about changes, I am not saying that every session needs to be different, or that a whole plan needs to be changed after an unsuccessful competition, but there are some situations also young athletes need to make some adjustments to ensure long-term success and well-being.

One reason for changes in a young athlete's career is injury prevention. Young athletes are still growing and developing, which makes them more susceptible to certain injuries. Overuse injuries, such as stress fractures or tendonitis, can be prevented by an age-appropriate training schedule where changes of activities should be included, as well as changes of load and incorporated rest days. 

Another reason for changes is to improve overall performance. Young athletes are usually able to learn and adapt quickly. That´s another reason why a training regime should include lots of different or alternating activities. Including different training techniques and approaches not only makes training exciting for young athletes, but it´s also to find what works best and maximize their potential. This can include working with a coach, checking out what the other kids are doing, attending camps or clinics, or even trying out different sports to build overall athleticism. It's also important that young athletes get the chance to learn to listen to their bodies. This means finding the fine line between not pushing too hard and not being scared about being a little tired after a training session. 

Changes in a young athlete's personal life can also affect their career. For example, changes in school schedules or family commitments may require athletes to adjust a training or competition schedule. And when it comes to this situation it is helpful that the athlete knows that changes can offer new possibilities. Even when it gets challenging for a short timeframe, the school should never suffer from athletics or vice versa. Balancing academics and athletics is important to maintain a healthy and fulfilling life.

Lastly, young athletes may need to have changes in their careers simply to enjoy the sport. Burnout and loss of passion can happen at any age, so staying engaged and enjoying what they're doing is important. Setting new goals or exploring new challenges keeps things interesting and fun.

In conclusion, it is healthy when a young athlete recognizes that occasional changes in an ongoing career are essential for long-term success and well-being. Injury prevention, performance improvement, personal life changes, and enjoyment of the sport are all valid reasons for mixing things up to a certain degree. By staying adaptable and open-minded, athletes can build a strong foundation for a successful and fulfilling athletic career.

Do you have a Dream? Keep going towards it :)


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