A decreased ability to concentrate, confused thoughts, motivation low, increased irritability, grumbling, quarrelsome, overly sensitive to criticism, anxious or depressed. This may sound like a typical teenager, but they are also signs a coach watches for in athletes.
Good coaches recognise the signs of over-training and adjust their athletes’ schedule so the next phase of over-training, burn-out, doesn’t occur. A great coach will not let these signs develop because they know how to pace the training sessions without over-stressing the athlete.
What has fitness training to do with students? Burn-out may occur in any person in any profession at any age. Many parents don’t realise how much pressure they place on their children when they load up their awake time with sports training and competition outside of school hours. Some students are playing two sports a season. Some parents don’t realise they may be setting their child up for burn-out later that school year because they haven’t planned enough recovery time for their student.
If you are a parent who encourages outside sports for their children, then you should consider these three things:
- Training and playing sport are tiring, very tiring.
- A tired student will find it difficult to concentrate in class.
- In today’s world, a person has a much better chance of achieving a high income with good grades than becoming a highly-paid athlete.
An over-committed student who finds it difficult to concentrate in class will eventually fall behind on their grades. They may require the help of a coach, an academic coach.
When athletic students attend tuition sessions, we ask parents to consider dropping one activity before introducing a program of tuition. There is no sense in adding to an already over-loaded timetable. Nothing will be achieved. The tuition, depending upon the grade the student is in, will probably take one full year to bring them aligned with the class. That is only one season of any one sport, so they will not miss much when dropping one activity to replace it with tuition.
As an academic coach (with a long background in fitness training) I watch for signs of over-training in our students and act on it. Sometimes, that action will be to remove tuition from the student’s time-table if nothing else is removed. We do this for the well-being of the student.
You don’t have to be a sporting student to fall behind. At times a high achieving student places themselves under unnecessary pressure because they have not learnt to budget time or to study correctly. A student like this will benefit from some one on one guidance so they may learn from an expert how to research and produce assignments, or how to prepare for secondary school exams.
So, as the school year progresses, watch for signs that indicate your student may not be keeping up and is silently crying for help.