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Ask The Coach
January 29, 2001
Guidance for those lost in sports
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January 29, 2001

Ask The Coach

Guidance for those lost in sports

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Dear Coach: My daughter is a high school freshman and she plays basketball, soccer and runs cross-country. She's having a good time but often gets tired because she's so active. Is she overloaded on sports?
Triple Threat

Dear Triple: You don't need to intervene yet. Keep an eye out for indicators that she's burning out. "Reluctance to go to practice, compromising of schoolwork, a lack of enthusiasm could all be warning signs," says Deborah Wuest, a health science professor at Ithaca (N.Y.) College. Also, explain the upside of cutting back—specializing in one sport often means a higher level of performance—but make it her call. "A kid with guidance can look at the demands on her time and make an appropriate choice," says Wuest.

Dear Coach: I'm a male track coach at an all-girls' high school. Is it appropriate for me to tell an athlete she needs to lose weight?
Heavy Thinker

Dear Heavy: No, not even if you're Richard Simmons. "The idea that there's a relationship between an athlete's weight and her performance is not true," says Gloria Balague, a consulting sports psychologist for the U.S. track and gymnastics teams. "Adolescent girls are vulnerable to eating disorders. Words like 'lose weight' have a high impact, especially on athletes." Don't focus on weight alone; stress that performance depends on physical development through exercise, practice and proper nutrition. "That'll give her control over a range of factors affecting her success and not single out her weight," says Balague.


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