Swimmer’s Ear – Episode 13 – Burnout

In this episode of the Swimmer’s Ear I discuss some research I’ve been doing for my Masters project. How do parents, peers, and coaches impact a swimmer’s engagement in the sport? Whose fault is it when a swimmer quits for good?

Below is the citation and link to the PDF article of the research mentioned as well as the abstract summarizing some of what Coach Sarah talked about in this episode.

Source: Fraser-Thomas, Jessica & Côté, Jean & Deakin, Janice. (2008). Examining Adolescent Sport Dropout and Prolonged Engagement from a Developmental Perspective. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology – J APPL SPORT PSYCHOL. 20. 318-333. 10.1080/10413200802163549.


This study examined youth sport dropout and prolonged engagement from a developmental perspective focusing on physical and psychosocial factors. Twenty-five dropout and 25 engaged adolescent swimmers, matched on key demographic variables, participated in a retrospective interview. Results indicated that dropouts were involved in fewer extra-curricular activities, less unstructured swimming play, and received less one-on-one coaching throughout development. Dropouts reached several developmental milestones (i.e., started training camps, started dry land training, and were top in club) earlier than engaged athletes. Dropouts were more likely to have had parents who were high-level athletes in their youth, were more likely to be the youngest in their training group, and were less likely to have a best friend at swimming. Findings are discussed in relation to past research; future directions and implications for researchers, sport programmers, coaches, and parents are suggested.

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