Four weeks into basketball season your kid comes home and says, “I want to quit.”
Parents often look to youth sports to teach athletes the value of sticking with a task or job even when it gets difficult.
Instead of relying on power of authority or fear of punishment to keep kids from quitting, it is better to address the underlying problems that create the urge to quit.
According to the study done by sports psychology researchers, Greg W. Schmidt, PhD and Gary L. Stein, PhD, there are important distinctions between quitting because of a short-term conflict (dropout) and quitting after a long period of increasing dissatisfaction (burnout).
“The most prevalent reason youngsters drop out of sport is because they are attracted to other activities,” said Dr. Schmidt.
In contrast, athletes reach the point of burnout when they have been highly invested in a sport for a long time. Athletes at risk for burnout are often those who have practiced and competed for years, and who have built their identity and group of friends through sport. Fear of losing friends and social status, as well as uncertainty about what else they can do, can lead athletes to stay committed long after the sport ceases to be fun.
When your child wants to drop out after a few weeks or months in a new sport: