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How to know when it's time to quit your sport

When we were younger, sports were as simple as 1, 2, 3. Your mom drove you to practice afterschool, you goofed off with your friends and then you competed in a fun game the following Saturday morning, with donuts to follow of course. But as we get older, the sports we chose to play can get extremely competitive, time-consuming and overbearing. 

Depending on how long you've been playing, making the decision to quit can feel like one of the hardest choices you'll ever make. You might feel trapped, anxious or conflicted, but you're definitely not alone. Continue reading to see how other GL girls knew it was time to say goodbye to their sport. If you relate to more than a couple reasons, it may be time to hang up the cleats...(or leotard or tap shoes).

You dread going to practice and games.

Although practice and games consist of hard work and focus, you should still enjoy the majority of your time there. Elina G. says she "was dreading soccer games and practices. I even started wearing a watch to see how much time I had left! I loved the sport, but playing competively wasn't the right decision for me."

If the competitiveness zapped all the fun out of your sport, it may be best to quit and take a break for a while. Joining a recreational league is always an option!

It consumes your life...in a bad way.

Maybe you're sacrificing time that's usually spent on schoolwork or your family just to stay on top of practices, training, and games. Or even worse, you've begun to sacrifice your mental health and happiness, like Jane L. 

"I knew it was time to quit cross country when it began to consume my life. I began sacrificing my mental peace and happiness for it. In order to remain mentally and physically happy, I needed to quit and learn how to love myself and the sport again." Either way, no sport is worth the toll on your mental health.

Your coach is not supporting you.

In all seriousness, having a toxic coach is *not* okay. If he or she constantly makes degrading comments or blatantly disregards your opinion, it's time to really consider if your sport is worth the harrassment (which, it probably isn't!).

Hayley M. says that "competitive dance used to be a stress reliever, but it slowly turned into a stress inducer. The coach pretty much ruined it for me." Your coach is there to motivate you to reach your goals and help you grow as a player and a person. In other words, they shouldn't be the origin of your stress and self-critique.

You just don't like the sport anymore, even if you're good at it.

If you're getting first place in back-to-back track meets or scoring 20 points in every basketball game, people may think you're living the dream. However, just because you're good at the sport, doesn't mean you love it.

When Sophia Z. joined her high school swim team, she "realized that the girls there actually liked swimming. It was a shock to me that people swam not for the rush of winning or the pressure of needing to continue a sport they started, but because they genuinely enjoyed it." Simply put, the misery may not be worth the wins.

You've simply grown bored, and you want something new.

If you've been doing your sport for over 10 years, like Claire H. with gymnastics, we totally understand why you'd be ready for a change. Claire says, "I felt I had already accomplished everything I had hoped to, so eventually I realized it was time for me to move on and try something new."

Making a huge change in your life can be incredibly scary and nerve-racking. But if you don't take a chance, you'll never know what oppurtunities lay on the other side!

All GIFs via Giphy

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by Elise Jones | 2/3/2021
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