Athletes, Lifestyle, Quitting, Transition

Sports: When to call it Quits?

There comes a time in every athletes career when a decision needs to made on whether to continue pursuing the sport or to call it quits. This is certainly a big decision and one that carries with it a large amount of emotions. There are usually many factors to consider when making this decision. The athlete must ask themself “am I making the right decision?”.

Many athletes prepare for this transition and actually set a specific time when they retire. For me personally, I made a decision several years prior to the 1988 Olympic Games that I would retire after the event (if I was to make it that far – which I fortunately did). However, many athletes are forced upon the idea of calling it quits much earlier than they expected.

For an athlete to make the decision to quit their sport, it can be a very emotional issue. There are many reasons why this may occur and in most cases, not an easy decision. Athletes may fight against quitting and hang on for a period of time hoping that situations improve. This is quite normal and suggested because making this critical decision will likely be a major change in one’s lifestyle.

Some common reasons why an athlete decides to quit may be: a major injury or persistent injuries, personal financial challenges, or a change in lifestyle or environment to name only a few. But one reason, which is one of the hardest to deal with, is the issue of failure. Stress in Sports .

Most athletes like to win and many live their lives for this purpose. In the early stages of sport, a young athlete participates for fun, and as time and development increases, so does the seriousness. However, as sport levels increase, so does the difficulty. The problem arises when it becomes apparent that the athlete does not have the ability or talent to take their sport to higher levels.

As a coach or parent, it is very frustrating and sad to see students struggle in their training and not progress as other students do in their same group. It is even more frustrating for the student!!  Parents may search for excuses and attempt to find reasons for the problem Coaching the Parents. Some may blame the coaches for a lack of attention, some may blame the child for lack of effort. However, although these factors are not uncommon, the real reason may be that the student just doesn’t have what it takes to achieve future growth in the sport.

It is especially frustrating for the parent who has financially invested so much for so many years. For many parents in this situation, calling it quits is not an option. Unfortunately, this results may create a longer sense of agony and frustration for both the athlete and parent.

Most veteran coaches are familiar with this situation and can easily see the signs. They know their students well and can determine when an athletes progress has maxed out. This is when it is important to conference with the parent to explain the situation and offer options.

Quality of life is important for everyone. When it is apparent that an athlete is emotionally struggling, something needs to change. Calling it quits, if necessary, can be the best decision ever made. Fighting it, especially for a long period of time, can make life miserable. Let’s not let this happen!!

“Through a lifetime of sports as both a successful competitor and coach, I am familiar with many aspects of sports development.  How it begins, how it evolves, and how it effect lives are all questions that need to be answered and discussed.  Let me know if I can help you or assist in any way.”

Scott Johnson  


Athletes, Benefits, Competition, Evaluation, Lifestyle, Preparation, Sports, Success

Choices A Parent Should Consider for Their Child's Development: Sports: Choosing the Right Path for Your Child

youth baseball player

Which direction should I go in?

How do I get there?

Am I making the right decision?

So many choices
So many influences
Mixed messages from coaches and friends

These are just a few of the questions that many parents and students ask themselves in the pursuit of success in a sports career. The truth is, there is no clear path to anyone’s success. A major question to consider is, what is the objective? Where is the motivation coming from? This is key in determining which path to take. Is it coming from the parent or is it coming from the child? This is an important factor in determining the strength of the motivation (The Motivation Factor).

The age of an athlete is very important in determining which direction to go in. For example, a student at the age of 5, 6, or 7 years old typically will not have the maturity or understanding to know how to make these types of decisions. For children of this age, it is important that they experience as many activities as possible, so they can determine what they like best. This may take several years to determine. It is not uncommon for a child to have a passion for one activity and in several month’s make a change to participate in a different activity. This can be frustrating for the parent if they are trying to persuade their child to pick one solid destination.

multi sports youth         I often tell parents that are clients in my own program that it is important that their children experience different activities, so they can experience as much as possible while they are young. We have many students in our program attend classes periodically throughout the year because they are involved in different sports activities which conflict with our schedule. I believe this is a positive way to approach where the children are going with their lives.

As a child gets older, these decisions become more defined. They begin to figure out who they are, and in many cases, determine what their likes and dislikes are. The preteen ages, especially for the boys, is a great time to start figuring out which direction they may want to go into. For girls, this decision may come earlier as girls tend to mature at a much earlier age.

baseball player hurt

Another factor to consider is the burnout and injury factor associated with students starting a sport at an early stage in life. Sports can be aggressive and physically demanding. If you are involved with sports, you are going to have injuries. It comes with the territory (Injuries: Prevention and Repair). The body, with all its complex physical anatomy, can only take so much wear and tear. The earlier the student begins to participate in sports the earlier the body begins to experience the impact of physical demands. At the higher levels of sport, the greater the impact of stress on the body (.

I often tell parents when they are considering whether their child should pursue a competitive atmosphere, I let them know that the earlier the children get started, the earlier their career may end. It is important not to rush this decision and I personally believe that starting a child in the competitive atmosphere at the age of 6 or earlier is not necessary for them to reach success. Not only is the competitive atmosphere physically demanding but it is also emotionally demanding.  Most young children do not understand how to cope with this demand.

vollyball girl serious look

Okay, so the goal has been set and the child has determined what direction they want to go in. Now the decision needs to be made on what it’s going to take to achieve that goal (Setting Goals: The Path to Success). There are so many factors that go into play here. Is the sport offered by the school, or is it a club scenario? If the program is offered by the local school system, the child can participate with much lower costs and easy accessibility. However, if the program is a club system, the costs could potentially be much higher and accessibility more difficult.

In addition, the club programs may offer a higher level of coaching and instruction. These programs, in most cases, are for-profit organizations which make it more appealing for high level coaches. However, if your child is not at a particularly high level of sport, the club program could wait until the level of sport requires this type of training. Much like the High School football and basketball player who excels in their sport. These athletes may get the opportunity to progress at a higher level with a successful collegiate program.

A life in sports can be a great life.  It can be very rewarding and teach lessons that can be applied in all aspects of life.  Many successful athletes have become successful in their professional lives as well.  Sports teaches discipline, focus, and an understanding of hard work to achieve goals.  Whether a sports career ends with great success or not, the experience is enough to make all participants Champions.

showcase medal ceremony











Athletes, Health, Lifestyle

The Retired Athlete: A Story of Fit to Flab to Fit: Back to a Healthy Lifestyle

Whether your an athlete or just someone who likes to stay healthy and in shape, it takes time and effort to reach results you strive to achieve. For some, this comes easy. For example, athletes, both recreational and competitive, have a training schedule that is usually consistent enough to reach and maintain that healthy lifestyle. However, for others, it may be a great challenge to reach the healthy objectives they desire. Many people live an unhealthy lifestyle: not eating the proper foods, overeating, not exercising regularly, etc. Even genetics play a role in this scenario. Some people are born with a high metabolism and some with lower metabolisms. There are other factors such as medical issues that play a role in someone’s quest to a healthy lifestyle.

Continue reading “The Retired Athlete: A Story of Fit to Flab to Fit: Back to a Healthy Lifestyle”