Ethical Coaching Positive Coaching

Why Taking a Break from Competition Might Be the Best Thing for Athletes and Teams

man lying beside on green tennis balls

Competing in sports can be exhilarating, challenging, and rewarding. However, sometimes taking a break from competition can be just as important as competing itself. Taking a break from competition can provide numerous benefits for athletes, coaches, and teams. 

I know this is an unpopular opinion, but let’s look at the benefits of taking a break from competition in sports.

Taking a break from competition
Taking a much needed break. Photo by Pixabay on

Reasons for taking a break from competition

Physical and Mental Rest: When athletes take a break from competition, they can give their bodies and minds a much-needed break from the stress and demands of competition. This break can help prevent burnout and injury and improve overall well-being and health.

“A break during the year can help avoid these overuse and overtraining issues that come from intensive specialization. And a break doesn’t have to mean your athlete sits on the couch and doesn’t do anything athletic: Trying a different sport solely for fun can help balance them out and improve overall athleticism.”

Opportunity for Reflection and Growth: When athletes take a break from competition, they can reflect on their performance and goals and identify areas for improvement. This opportunity will lead to personal growth and development and a renewed sense of motivation and focus.

Renewed Enthusiasm and Passion: When athletes take a break from competition, they can return to the sport with renewed enthusiasm and passion. This can rekindle the love for the sport and the joy of playing, leading to a better overall experience for athletes and their teams.

It’s absolutely to plan our breaks properly. 

“What’s important to keep in mind is that the goal should be to step back before you’re feeling burnt out. The time for a break is when your motivation and excitement are still relatively high. Once burnout has occurred it’s harder to recover and find your motivation again.”

Skill Development: Taking a break from competition can also allow athletes to focus on skill development without the pressure of competition. It’s important to note that gap periods in any discipline can improve technique, strategy, and overall performance.

Injury Prevention: By taking a break from competition, athletes can give their bodies time to recover and heal from injuries, preventing further damage and improving overall health and well-being.

Team Bonding: When teams take a break from competition, they can focus on team bonding and building relationships outside of competition. Periods of community rest often lead to more robust team dynamics and better performance in the long run.

On the importance of breaks and proper rest.

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In conclusion, taking a break in sports can provide numerous benefits for athletes, coaches, and teams. By giving athletes time to rest, reflect, grow, and develop their skills, it can also lead to renewed enthusiasm, improved performance, and better overall well-being. It’s vital for athletes and teams to recognize the value of proper breaks and to prioritize rest and recovery in their training and competition schedules.

As I said at the beginning of this article, this is an unpopular opinion, and some of my detractors have made their feelings about it clear. Ultimately, this is about the mental and physical well-being of the athletes. 

I will continue to push all and any principle that aims to help athletes. 

Deborah Gilboa, MD, explains, “If we teach our kids the habit of getting on a hamster wheel and never getting off, no matter what the cost is, that’s the life that we’re teaching them to lead in their academics, their jobs, and in their relationships.”

— Coach José

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