Question: My daughter will be in the 10th grade this year and has said that she might like to have the summer off from soccer. She played on her high school team and plays on a travel team as well. While we encourage her to play we don’t force her. If she isn’t playing what should she do to stay in shape?
Answer: Your daughter may be on the verge of sports burnout. It tends to occur after an athlete has played for a few years and tends to peak between the ninth and tenth grades. A lot of hormonal and social changes are occurring at that age in both boys and girls and the athlete can feel overwhelmed by it all.
If social demands are extreme, the free time can be filled by those demands and the athlete may not return to playing. On the other hand, if the time off from the grind of a playing schedule is used effectively it can be a very good thing. Especially if the athlete wants to train to improve his/her athleticism instead of playing.
By becoming more stronger and more explosive the athlete can become more of a force on the field. It also allows time for small nagging injuries and aches to heal instead of continuing to play and aggravate them to the point that they become major issues or injuries. We have trained several athletes who were injured playing. They all returned to their respective sports better than they were prior to the injury that forced them off the field. We were able to work on core and areas that weren’t injured and once they were cleared by their doctors and PT’s we began post-rehab to get them back on the field better then ever.
If your athlete shows potential and desire to play at a collegiate level then schedule training time with someone who can benefit the athlete. Try to go to professional or collegiate games to see what it’s like beyond high school.
Don’t let them drift too long without direction because it’s not difficult to get headed in a wrong direction.
God bless and keep training,