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Original Issue

Ask The Coach Guidance for those lost in sports

Dear Coach: My daughter is 15 and has been playing tennis since
age seven. She recently quit the junior circuit because of
burnout. Now she's not doing anything athletic, and I'm worried.
What should I do?

Dear Lost: Diagnosing the reasons your daughter quit is the first
step toward coaxing her back into sports. Daniel Gould, professor
of exercise and sport science at UNC Greensboro, says three key
factors contribute to burnout: physical stress, perfectionism and
excessive pressure from parents and coaches. "Find the causes and
eliminate those stressors," Gould says. "If she's physically
overextended, reduce her hours. If you're making the stakes too
high, find a less intense level for her." Recognize, however,
that her interests simply may have changed from tennis to a
nonathletic discipline.

Dear Coach: I'm a high school sophomore, and I have a choice to
be either the starting first baseman on the junior varsity or
second string on the varsity. Where am I better off?

Dear Backup: Put aside your ego and play jayvee. "Sitting on the
bench is a vicarious experience," says Leonard Zaichkowsky,
professor of sport psychology at Boston University. "Some
learning does take place, but to improve you need playing time."
Try to make up for the drop-off in quality by drilling with the
varsity whenever possible. But when it's time to suit up, make
sure you're on the field. "The competition will be weaker," says
Zaichkowsky, "but the overriding factor is quality game time."