Most people that have burnt out on a sport have done so because they spent many years focused entirely on improving their rankings. The first step to returning to a sport is to forget the past. Don’t hold yourself to achievements from several years ago. In other words, start fresh, with a new set of personal records and expectations.

The same applies to training. Don’t hold yourself to a practice schedule you had several years ago. You might not think that training a couple of hours a week will be adequate but it will get you back into the habit and, hopefully, help you find a new love for the sport. Remember, you most likely have many more obligations now that you had when you first competed. You probably won’t have the same amount of time to dedicate to the sport. And that’s OK.

Once you commit to returning, do so for your own sake. Don’t return with goals to medal or place at a competition. Return to see how far you can push yourself. If it’s a team sport, let people know on the team that you are looking for low-key involvement.

While you shouldn’t return to competition to prove something, you should consider returning for the sake of people who care for you. The mental and physical benefits of engaging in regular activity will no doubt be felt by your friends and family.

If you do return to competition, consider entering small, local competitions to help get a new set of personal standards. Use these from here on, instead of your former standards. Again, if it’s a team sport, consider joining the team a level or two down from where you used to compete and have fun.

Probably the major piece of advice, is to relax and enjoy the sport again. If you start to feel that you or someone else is adding expectations, take a step back and remember, your are doing this for fun.