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Youth Sports Burnout Driven by Achievement by Proxy Syndrome

Dr. Chris Stankovich, a sport psychology consultant and advocate for positive youth sports development summarized the experience of many American children playing sports today:

“Youth sports burnout in America is increasing at an alarming rate, and millions of kids nationwide are becoming both mentally and physically fatigued from playing sports too intensely, often year-round. Sadly, this phenomenon seems to be getting worse, and not better. This is probably due in large part to several contributing factors: Our country’s great love of sports; increasing numbers of families turning to sports as a means of a free college education (or even an opportunity at professional sports); and parents living vicariously through their children and holding on to the pluralistic ignorant notion that “more is better” in terms of their kids playing sports better than they themselves did as kids.”

Parents and coaches often push kids to play sports at competition levels and intensity that doesn’t suit the age, development or temperament of the child. Sports burnout in younger and younger children is becoming the phenomenon of our time.

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