Burnout is one of the most common reasons why athletes seek out my advice and one which has a huge affect on athletes at all levels.

Burnout is a state of emotional and mental exhaustion often caused by stress. Burnout can leave you feeling unable to play at your best and make small adjustments in your game seem insurmountable. Burnout shows its ugly head by limiting your motivation, destroying your interest in what you’re doing and creates feelings of helplessness and hopelessness and will create a negative outlook to what you are doing. The unhappiness and frustrations that burnout causes can threaten your current position on your team or lead to people questioning your overall abilities. The good news is burnout can be overcome and prevented. To help you prevent yourself from burnout follow these useful tips:

1. Start and end your day with somerelaxationRather than jumping into bed and going to sleep and then jumping out of bed and getting to your day devote fifteen minutes of your time both in the morning and at night doing something relaxing in your bed. This could be meditation, writing in a journal, completing some deep breathing or reading something that inspires you. I strongly recommend finding a book about an athlete that is inspiring but anything relaxing will work.

2. East healthyWhen you eat right you provide your body with the opportunity to be fuelled. Playing sports is demanding on your body’s energy systems; make sure that you are putting in the necessary fuels needed to keep your body going.

3. Sleep rightNow I know that I am starting to sound like your Mom but eating right and sleeping are huge contributors to fighting off burnout. Make sure that you are getting a good amount of sleep every night. This is not something that you can just do the night before a game. Create a normal sleeping pattern and you will feel more energized.

4. Take a daily breakAthletes often very busy. From the professional athlete right down to the beer leaguer every athlete has a list of things that they need to get done on a day to day basis. The key to preventing burnout is to schedule in a time each day where you separate yourself from the world and allow yourself to relax and recharge. Take a moment for yourself will give you more energy when you get back at your to-do list.

5. Manage your stress before, during, and after the game Stress causes burnout 99% of the time. To eliminate stress we need to rid ourselves of the worrying that goes on associated to our sport. Remember when we are in the present worrying does not exist.

6. Love the game Sports are supposed to be fun. When we love to be playing our sport and allow ourselves to truly enjoy our sport we are on our way to avoiding burnout. Create a list of things that you love about the game of hockey and keep them near your bed. Relive this list on a regular basis.

I hope that this list will help you prevent yourself from burnout. If not, you are not alone. Millions of athletes everywhere are experiencing burnout just like you. The key to getting over burnout is to admit that you are being overtaken by burnout and seek assistance from a mental training professional like myself. If not you may soon be leaving your sport or need to take an unnecessary break due to injury or frustrations from your sport.

Shaun Smith is the founder of Absolute Mental Training. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email him at