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BURNOUT IN ATHLETES:Overtraining and Overreaching, Recommended Intervention

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Sport Psychology(psy407)
VU
Lesson 43
BURNOUT IN ATHLETES
Too much exercise can result in a reduction in the effectiveness of the immune system to fight disease and
an increase in negative psychological mood. In a very practical away, exercise can be considered along a
continuum from not enough exercise to too much exercise. Negative psychological and biological outcomes
are associated with too little and too much exercise. Over-training in athletes represents a paradox, because
many of the benefits associated with exercise are reversed in the athlete who trains too much. For the
athlete, the question of how much is too much is a complex one. Athletes are continually challenging the
delicate balance between training and overtraining, since high levels of training are required for success in
sport.
The lecture is divided into four sections that include:
Defining burnout and other terms
Models of burnout
Symptoms and interventions for burnout
Recommendations for athletes, coaches, and parents.
Defining Burnout and Other Related Terms
Burnout in sport and exercise is "a syndrome of physical/emotional exhaustion, sport devaluation, and
reduced athletic accomplishment". As can be observed, the focus of this particular definition of burnout is
upon physical and mental exhaustion, reduced interest in sport, and reduced performance. Common terms
include overtraining, overreaching, staleness, and withdrawal.
Overtraining and Overreaching
Overtraining implies that the athlete trains beyond the level that is ideal for maximum benefit. Overtraining
is maladaptive behavior that may lead to staleness and burnout. Overreaching is a form of short-term
overtraining that is a part of normal training. Overreaching that extends for long periods of time at high
intensities eventually becomes overtraining. Staleness is the initial failure of the body to adapt to training.
Models of Burnout
We will look at three different models of burnout. They are:
The stress model
The investment model
The sociologically based empowerment model
Stress Model of Burnout
The combination of staleness, overtraining, and burnout are referred to as the training stress syndrome. If
the training stress syndrome is not reversed through rest or some other creative intervention, the end result
will be withdrawal from sport (sport drop-out)
Thus, burnout is viewed as a response to chronic stress. It is characterized by psychological, emotional, and
perhaps physical withdrawal from a sport or activity the athlete formerly pursued and enjoyed.
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan
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Sport Psychology(psy407)
VU
Investment Model of Burnout
In its simplest form, investment model of burnout can be viewed as an imbalance between the costs and
benefits associated with athletic participation. In its more complete form, it is conceptualized as being a
function of five determinants of commitment to sport involvement. The five determinants are, reward,
costs, satisfaction, investment and alternative. How the athlete evaluates these five determinants will
determine whether his commitment is based upon enjoyment or entrapment. If sport commitment is based
upon enjoyment, the athlete will participate enthusiastically. If sport commitment is based upon
entrapment, it is only a matter of time before burnout sets in and the athlete withdraws from sport.
Empowerment Model of Burnout
Empowerment model of burnout is based on the notion that burnout in sport is a social problem caused by
an overly controlling and constraining social structure. The model suggests that burnout in sport occurs in
connection with two conditions:
1. When the sport experience is so constraining that the young person is unable to develop a desirable
alternate identity, the athlete seeks to liberate himself from sport.
2. When the social organization of sport is so structured that the athlete comes to believe that he has no
control over his life, the athlete seeks to liberate himself from sport.
Symptoms of Burnout and Interventions
There are two sets of symptoms that include physiological and psychological symptoms of burnout.
Physiological symptoms include:
1.
Increased resting and exercise heart rate
2.
Increased resting systolic blood pressure
3.
Increased muscle soreness and chronic muscle fatigue
4.
Increased presence of biochemical indicators of stress in the blood
5.
Increased sleep loss
6.
Increased colds and respiratory infections
7.
Decreased body weight
8.
Decreased maximal aerobic power
9.
Decreased muscle glycogen
10.
Decreased libido and appetite
Psychological symptoms include:
1.
Increased mood disturbances
2.
Increased perception of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion
3.
Decreased self-esteem
4.
Negative change in the quality of personal interaction with others (cynicism, lack of feeling,
impersonal relating)
5.
Negative cumulative reaction to chronic everyday stress as opposed to acute doses of stress.
Recommended Intervention
The first and primary step in addressing burnout is self-awareness. The athlete must first recognize he is
suffering from burnout and communicate his feeling to a sympathetic parent, coach, or sport psychologist.
The second step is to take time off from the offending activity. In the final and third step, relaxation
strategies may be beneficial as coping strategies for reversing the debilitating effects of stress and burnout.
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan
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Sport Psychology(psy407)
VU
Recommendations for Athletes, Coaches, and Parents
Below are some recommendations for players, coaches and parents on how to avoid burnout.
Recommendations for Players:
Play for your own reasons.
Balance sports with other things in life.
If it is not fun then don't do it.
Try to make practice as fun.
Relax and take time off occasionally.
Recommendations for Coaches
Cultivate personal involvement with player.
Establish two-way communication with athlete.
Solicit and utilize player input.
Work to understand player feelings and perspective.
Recommendations for Parents
Recognize the optimal amount of "pushing" needed.
Back off and lessen involvement.
Reduce importance of winning.
Show support and empathy for child's efforts.
Don't coach if not the coach, and separate roles if you are the coach.
Solicit child's input
References
Cox, H. Richard. (2002). Sport Psychology: Concepts and Applications. (Fifth Edition). New York:
McGraw-Hill Companies
Lavallec. D., Kremer, J., Moran, A., & Williams. M. (2004) Sports Psychology: Contemporary Themes. New
York: Palgrave Macmillan Publishers
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan
126
Table of Contents:
  1. SPORT PSYCHOLOGY DEFINED:Issue of Certification, The Research Sport Psychologist
  2. SELF-CONFIDENCE AND SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Successful Performance, Verbal persuasion
  3. SELECTING SELF-TALK STATEMENTS:Skill accusation, Controlling effort
  4. GOAL ORIENTATION:Goal Involvement, Motivational Climate
  5. CAUSAL ATTRIBUTION IN SPORT:Fritz Heiderís Contribution, Other Considerations
  6. CAUSAL ATTRIBUTIONS IN COMPETITIVE SITUATIONS:Locus of Causality
  7. MOTIVATION IN SPORT:Social Factors, Success and Failure, Coachesí Behavior
  8. FLOW: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF OPTIMAL EXPERIENCE, Goal Setting in Sport
  9. PRINCIPLES OF EFFECTIVE GOAL SETTING:Clearly identify time constraints
  10. A TEAM APPROACH TO SETTING GOALS:The Planning Phase, The Meeting Phase
  11. YOUTH SPORT:Distress and anxiety, Coach-Parent Relationships
  12. ATTENTION AND CONCENTRATION IN SPORT:Information Processing, Memory Systems
  13. ATTENTION AND CONCENTRATION IN SPORT:Measuring Attentional Focus
  14. PERSONALITY AND THE ATHLETE:Personality Defined, Psychodynamic Theory
  15. THE MEASUREMENT OF PERSONALITY:Projective Procedures, Structured Questionnaire
  16. PERSONALITY AND THE ATHLETE:Athletic Motivation Inventory, Personality Sport Type
  17. SITUATIONAL FACTORS RELATED TO ANXIETY AND MOOD:Type of Sport
  18. ANXIETY, AROUSAL, AND STRESS RELATIONSHIPS:Emotion and Mood
  19. ANXIETY, AROUSAL, AND STRESS RELATIONSHIPS:The Inverted-U Theory
  20. ALTERNATIVES TO INVERTED-U THEORY:Apterís Reversal Theory
  21. COPING STRATEGIES IN SPORT:Measurement of Coping Skill
  22. RELAXATION STRATEGIES FOR SPORT:Progressive Relaxation, Autogenic Training
  23. AROUSAL ENERGIZING STRATEGIES:Team Energizing Strategies, Fan Support
  24. AROUSAL ENERGIZING STRATEGIES:Precompetition Workout, Individual Goal Setting
  25. IMAGERY:Skill Level of the Athletes, Time Factors and Mental Practice
  26. IMAGERY:Symbolic Learning Theory, Imagery Perspective. Sensory Mode
  27. IMAGERY:Paivioís Two-Dimensional Model, Developing Imagery Skills
  28. THE ROLE OF HYPNOSIS IN SPORT:Defining Hypnosis, Social-Cognitive Theory
  29. THE ROLE OF HYPNOSIS IN SPORT:Achieving the Hypnotic Trance, Hypnotic Phase
  30. PSYCHOLOGICAL SKILLS TRAINING:Psychological Skills Training Program
  31. PSYCHOLOGICAL SKILLS TRAINING:Performance profiling, Performance routines
  32. ETHICS IN SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Competence, Integrity, Social Responsibility
  33. AGGRESSION AND VIOLENCE IN SPORT:Defining Aggression, Catharsis hypothesis
  34. AGGRESSION AND VIOLENCE IN SPORT:The Catharsis Effect, Fan Violence
  35. AUDIENCE AND CROWD EFFECTS IN SPORTS:Social Facilitation, Crowd Hostility
  36. TEAM COHESION IN SPORT:Measurement of Team Cohesion
  37. TEAM COHESION IN SPORT:Predicting Future Participation, Team Building
  38. LEADERSHIP IN SPORT:Fiedlerís Contingency Theory, Coach-Athlete Compatibility
  39. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Special Populations, Clinical Patients
  40. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Social Interaction Hypothesis, Amine Hypothesis
  41. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:The Theory of Planned Behavior, Social Cognitive Theory
  42. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Exercise Addiction, Bulimia Nervosa, Muscle Dysmorphia
  43. BURNOUT IN ATHLETES:Overtraining and Overreaching, Recommended Intervention
  44. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ATHLETIC INJURIES:Personality Factors, Coping Resources
  45. DRUG ABUSE IN SPORT AND EXERCISE:Stimulants, Depressants