Burnout in Athletes | NATA
Editor’s note: This column kicks off a series of mental health-related columns that will be posted on the NATA Now blog throughout May in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month.
ByTimothy Neal, MS, ATC, LAT
Assistant Professor/Clinical Education Coordinator
Concordia University Ann Arbor
The pressure of being a successful athlete entails non-stop activity of games, practice and physical conditioning.
Games and practice have traditional and non-traditional seasons, usually encompassing six or more months of the year. For many athletes, summers are spent on campus working out or practicing. Conditioning sessions that are physically taxing can take place as early as 5 a.m. to accommodate class or work schedules. Additional “voluntary” sessions of physical conditioning, film study, or skill development, along with the rigors of school work, the modern athlete is on “overload” as a result of participation demands from the moment they step on campus until they leave school.
The attitude of “more is better” in terms of constant activity in a quest for individual or team success is prevalent in today’s sports world, starting at the youth level and continuing through the secondary school and collegiate levels. Interestingly, professional sports have in place, through their collective bargaining agreements, mandated time off for the athletes to recover from the rigors of their season.
Burnout is a response to chronic stress of continued demands in a sport or activity without the opportunity for physical and mental rest and recovery. Burnout is a syndrome of continual training and sport attention stress, resulting in staleness, overtraining and eventually burnout. Many athletes experiencing burnout report feeling trapped by circumstances of sports participation. The athlete first starts feels stale or overwhelmed, but is encouraged by coaches, strength staff, athletic trainers, teammates or parents to push through symptoms of overtraining and potential burnout to continue with a demanding schedule in order to feel a part of the team, maintain their starting position or keep their scholarship.
Other athletes self-induce their burnout with personal motivation for success. This type of athlete applies more personal demands on their physical conditioning and skill sessions, or is fully consumed by sports participation as a way to fulfill their identity as an athlete. Either way, the chronic stress the athlete experiences without the opportunity to rest and recover from the rigors of such stress places the athlete at risk for burnout. For some athletes, burnout may be the triggering mechanism in developing or exacerbating a mental health disorder that negatively impacts the athlete’s life and relationships.
Burnout affects the athlete in various stages:
- The athlete is placed in a situation that involves new or varying demands on their physical ability and time management
- The athlete at some point – usually early on as a young athlete, or later if a more experienced athlete – views the demands as excessive or non-productive
- The athlete feels as if their performance is being hampered by the demands of participation and the inability to rest and recover
- The athlete starts experiencing subtle signs and symptoms of physical and mental burnout
- Burnout takes place and the physical and mental toll on the athlete impacts their lives and performance on and off the field, perhaps even discontinuing sports participation
Signs and symptoms of burnout include:
- Leveling off or diminished performance or conditioning, including strength and stamina losses, chronic fatigue
- Physiological signs such as having a higher resting heart rate and blood pressure
- Cognitive issues such as difficulty in concentration or diminished work in school, forgetfulness
- Illnesses as a result of suppressed immune system
- Emotional issues such as disinterest, moodiness, irritability
- Low self-esteem, increased anxiety and depression as a result of falling short of sport demands
Athletic trainers can help in identifying and preventing burnout in athletes through an awareness of the signs and symptoms, and in communication with coaches and strength staff to monitor the athletes for overtraining, which is a large contributor of burnout. Whenever an athlete, particularly a younger athlete new to the level of participation, exhibits some signs and symptoms of burnout, a physician evaluation for a physical cause is warranted. After the physician exam and any testing prove negative, consideration should be given to modifying the activity to permit more athlete rest and recovery. If physical causes for signs and symptoms of burnout are negative, consideration should be given to referring the athlete for a psychological evaluation and care.
Coaches and strength staff should be educated on burnout and consider modifications to workouts both in terms of intensity and length of time in order to preserve optimal levels of performance and to prevent burnout. Some measures such as heart-rate monitoring during practice and conditioning are one of several approaches teams are utilizing to monitor potential overtraining.
Rest and time away from sport are the two best methods to prevent and treat athlete burnout. Athletes, like most students and American adults, do not get enough sleep to feel rested and ready for physical and mental activity throughout the day.
Time away from sport is another method of preventing burnout. Being away from the demands of their sport, even for a short period several times a year, provides an athlete with an opportunity to attend to their schoolwork and relationships that are necessary to leading a more rounded life that leads to enhanced motivation once they return to sport.
Burnout is a very real and underreported state that many athletes experience. Knowing the signs and symptoms of escalating burnout, along with an appreciation how burnout occurs, are important steps in prevention and treatment of this situation, and may well prevent the start or worsening of a mental health disorder in an athlete.
To help you educate parents, athletes, coaches and others about burnout, NATA has created a burnout and mental health handout (pdf), which was featured in the May NATA News.
Don’t forget to check out our other infographic handouts that have been made available for NATA members to download, reprint and distribute to their local communities.
How to Avoid Athlete Burnout in Youth Sports
The increasingly competitive nature of youth sports can result in athlete burnout. Previously associated with adults who are exhausted and disillusioned with their jobs, burnout has now spread from offices to youth sports courts, fields, and rinks everywhere.
Ongoing work by researchers like East Carolina University’s Dr. Thomas D. Raedeke is revealing not only the real causes of burnout in youth athletes, but also how it can be prevented.
Why Youth Athletes Experience Burnout
Burnout is in part a reaction to chronic stress. According to Dr. Raedeke, the stress can come from overtraining but also from external sources. It can directly stem from parents who pressure their child, or more subtly from family life that evolves around sport. It can also result from negative coaching behaviors. Some athletes also have internal personality characteristics, like an innate sense of perfectionism, that make them vulnerable to burnout. But stress is only part of the story.
“Not only might burnout-prone athletes begin to realize sports success is not as meaningful as they once thought, the athletes might also believe success ultimately is not possible because skill improvements are inevitably linked to increased expectation and standards,” says Dr. Raedeke.
“As a result, they may realize they can never be good enough and that they are chasing an impossible goal.”
A lack of independence or feeling like they have no say in the matter can also play a role.
Signs of Athlete Burnout
The signs of athlete burnout are not always obvious, and they can overlap with other kinds of stress, such as overtraining or life and school pressures. Research suggests sports burnout runs deeper and presents with three major symptoms:
- Emotional and physical exhaustion: Chronic fatigue from constant physical and psychological demands connected to intense training and competition
- Devaluation and detachment: A negative or cynical attitude toward sports and disinterest in performance
- Reduced sense of accomplishment: Negative perspective on performances and accomplishments
Raedeke also thinks that these signs can interact. For example, feeling less accomplished could prompt athletes to train harder, leading to exhaustion. Feeling exhausted could cause athletes to develop a sense of detachment and ultimately quite sports.
Unfortunately, the cycle doesn’t end there either. Burnout can also negatively impact other areas of the athlete’s life and it has specifically been linked to lowered mental and physical health outside of sport.
How Coaches and Parents Can Help Douse Burnout
Like an actual fire, burnout is best handled through prevention instead of reaction. Raedeke states that “burnout is a relatively chronic state,” meaning there are no proven treatments for curing burnout. It can, however, be prevented.
Managing the following factors can help athletes deal with burnout:
- Balance training demands with recovery: As Raedeke notes from his research in Burnout in Sport: From Theory to Intervention, “It is not possible for an athlete to ‘train through’ a long-lasting performance slump caused by excessive training and inadequate recovery.”
When planning for the season, be sure to add ‘off-cycle’ weeks to your athlete’s training program to promote optimal adaptation to training demands.
- Promote balance: Take steps to make sure that an athlete isn’t overinvolved in sport to the point where they are missing out on other life opportunities. For example, encourage your athletes to spend time with friends outside of a sports setting.
Create a space where young athletes have unstructured free time and are allowed to participate in or explore other interests.
- Have a positive support network: Foster a more positive environment for your athletes.
Recent research of college athletes shows that even just the feeling of having a positive support network from teammates resulted in less burnout and more motivation.
- Empower athletes: Structure sport in a way that allows athletes to have some input and collaborate on decisions related to participation.
In the end, preventing burnout comes down to keeping sports fun, decreasing stress, and reducing the chance that an athlete will feel trapped by sport.
Burnout in Sport and Performance
Burnout among athletes as a consequence of the stress of highly competitive sport became a concern following the emergence of commentaries on troubling chronic experiential states experienced by some professionals in stressful alternative health care (e.
While the notion of burnout held considerable appeal for sport scientists, reservations existed about the relevance and applicability of Maslach and Jackson’s (1981, 1986) burnout syndrome to athletes (e.g., Feigley, 1984; Garden, 1987). The stresses and circumstances of athletes’ involvement in sport are much different from those of professionals involved in health and human service settings, so it seemed entirely reasonable to question “the extent to which the nature, causes and consequences are unique and to what extent they are shared by those who suffer burnout in other domains of activity” (Smith, 1986, p. 44). Nonetheless, variation in the nature of ongoing stressful demands does not inherently require that the associated experiential consequences also differ in their aversive nature. Evidence across a variety of workplace settings has indicated that there is commonality in the experience of burnout in response to chronic situational exposure to psychosocial stress, despite variation in the specific stressors implicated across workplace settings (Schaufeli & Enzmann, 1998). Evidence from studies with athletes involved in serious competitive sport have also supported Schaufeli and Enzmann’s conclusions about cross-domain (i.e., sport versus work) commonality in the experience of burnout as a response to chronic exposure to psychosocial stress (Eklund & Cresswell, 2007; Goodger, Gorely, Lavallee, & Harwood, 2007).
The athlete burnout syndrome as conceptualized by Raedeke (1997), Raedeke and Smith (2001) is characterized by the enduring experience of (1) emotional and physical exhaustion, (2) sport devaluation, and (3) reduced accomplishment. Although modified to be of particular relevance to sport, this sport-specific conceptualization of the syndrome is consistent with the syndrome posited by Maslach and Jackson (1981, 1986). Specifically, the general notion of a sense of inadequate or reduced personal accomplishment being symptomatic of burnout mapped over directly in Raedeke’s conceptualization. Maslach and Jackson’s (1981, 1986) emotional exhaustion syndrome facet was extended to include chronic physical exhaustion. This modification was consistent with the broadening of the exhaustion construct in the third edition of the MBI manual with the introduction of the MBI General Survey (Maslach, Jackson, & Leiter, 1996). The original depersonalization syndrome facet was argued to have little sport-specific relevance because client services do not feature in athletes’ experiences per se, so it was replaced with a facet relating to sport devaluation (a cynical and diminished appraisal of the benefits of sport involvement by the athlete). This change was also consistent with the re-conceptualization of depersonalization in the general workplace literature as a particular manifestation of the cynicism that occurs in burnout (e. g., Maslach et al., 1996; Maslach, Schaufeli, & Leiter, 2001). Overall, the emergence and subsequent broad acceptance of this syndrome conceptualization of athlete burnout resulted in commentaries that took on more conceptual coherence. Empirical investigations of this commonly accepted athlete burnout conceptualization also served to advance theoretical understanding of the problematic condition.
The emergence of Raedeke’s (1997), Raedeke and Smith (2001) syndrome conceptualization was also particularly important because, before that time, discussions of athlete burnout were not necessarily all focused on the same construct. The commentaries instead spanned a variety of distinct, if interrelated, constructs, including reference to depressed mood states, amotivation, maladaptive psychophysiological responses to training, sport dropout, and so on (Eklund & Cresswell, 2007). The “everybody knows what it is” problem (Marsh, 1998, p. xvi) was evident in the variety of idiomatic and amorphous conceptualizations being discussed because the commentaries were often grounded in anecdotal accounts provided by coaches, sport scientists, and even athletes themselves (Dale & Weinberg, 1990; Rotella, Hanson, & Coop, 1991). The net effect was that early research and theoretical development efforts were focused on an array of constructs all sharing the label of “athlete burnout” rather than a single common experience.
The noticeably different conceptualizations of athlete burnout employed by Silva (1990) and Coakley (1992) are illustrative of the problem identified in the preceding paragraph. Silva conceptualized athlete burnout as the ultimate phase in a maladaptive response to overtraining. The burnout phase, though sharing some commonalities with the burnout syndrome conceptualization, was posited to become manifest when “[t]he organism’s ability to deal with the psychophysiological imposition of stress is depleted, and the response system is exhausted” (p. 11). Silva’s (1990) perspective effectively conflates the burnout syndrome with the overtraining (or staleness) syndrome (Eklund & Cresswell, 2007). Some commonalities are evident across the two chronic conditions (e.g., exhaustion, mood disturbances, concerns about performance adequacy), but they should be regarded as distinct conditions requiring nonidentical intervention strategies (Raglin, 1993). At its core, the overtraining syndrome is a chronic condition involving systemic (e.g., neurological, endocrinological, and immunological) maladaptive responses to excessive overreach training (Kreher & Schwartz, 2012). The athlete burnout syndrome, however, results from chronic exposure to psychosocial stress and, importantly, can become manifest entirely in the absence of excessive overreach training (Eklund & Cresswell, 2007). Coakley’s (1992) conceptualization of athlete burnout, however, is considerably different. He regarded athlete burnout as being withdrawal (i.e., dropout) from committed, successful involvement in highly competitive youth sport to escape its controlling and aversive socioenvironmental constraints. His perspective stands in stark contrast with other extant athlete burnout conceptualizations (e.g., Raedeke, 1997; Silva, 1990; Smith, 1986) wherein withdrawal from sport is viewed not as burnout in and of itself but rather as one potential, but not requisite, consequence of the burnout experience.
Given the existence of the variety of different conceptualizations employed in early athlete burnout research, some entangled with other related but distinct conditions (e.g., depression, overtraining syndrome, dropout), careful consideration is required in interpreting that literature relative to more contemporary syndrome-based efforts. Despite the conceptual challenges presented in some of the historical efforts, they were important to the field. They incited interest in the empirical investigation of burnout in sport and ultimately resulted in greater fidelity in construct conceptualization as well as the introduction of well-grounded theoretical explanations of the aversive experiential state (Eklund & Cresswell, 2007).
An early milestone in research on athlete burnout can be found in the International Tennis Federation’s implementation of rule changes and provision of educational recommendations to deal with the problem in the 1980s (Hume, 1985). Subsequent funding of a research project on athlete burnout by the United States Tennis Association Sport Science Division (e. g., Gould, Tuffey, Udry, & Loehr, 1996, 1997; Gould, Udry, Tuffey, & Loehr, 1996) served to catalyze the interest of sport psychology researchers in the topic. The absence of a conceptually and psychometrically sound measure of athlete burnout, however, presented an initial obstacle to research. The arrival of the Athlete Burnout Questionnaire (ABQ; Raedeke, 1997; Raedeke & Smith, 2001) resolved that problem, and subsequent research on the topic has burgeoned in quantity, and conceptual and methodological sophistication.
Key Burnout Antecedents and Supporting Theories/Models
Ultimately, early anecdotal accounts and attempts to formulate theories on athlete burnout led to a core set of historical explanations for the sport-based phenomenon. Three early conceptualizations were especially influential; they specified that burnout was the result of (1) chronic exposure to psychological stress and maladaptive coping processes (Smith, 1986), (2) a maladaptive pattern of sport commitment (Raedeke, 1997), or (3) the autonomy-usurping constraints of intense involvement in highly competitive youth sport on young athletes’ identities and control beliefs (Coakley, 1992). Ultimately, all three conceptualizations have been useful in developing broad understandings of athlete burnout and key antecedents, despite the lack of definitional uniformity across instances. They continue to have relevance for investigative design and interpretation of burnout research. Consequently, we briefly review each conceptual perspective before outlining some general tenets of self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985; Ryan & Deci, 2000a, 2000b). Self-determination theory has subsequently become an influential theoretical perspective guiding athlete burnout research.
Smith (1986) provided perhaps the earliest formal theorizing on athlete burnout as a psychosocial construct in the sport science literature. His conceptualization of burnout related to the “psychological, emotional, and at times a physical withdrawal from a formerly pursued and enjoyable activity” (p. 37). It relied on the work of several theoretical perspectives from psychology, including social exchange theory (Thibaut & Kelley, 1959) and Lazarus’s (1966, 1982) contentions on emotion and the stress and coping process. In Smith’s view, athlete burnout was a result of chronic sport-related appraisals of stress that were not effectively mitigated by coping efforts. A variety of cross-sectional research studies have supported links between burnout and perceived stress and deficits in coping resources (e.g., Raedeke & Smith, 2001; 2004). More recently, Schellenberg, Gaudreau, and Crocker (2013) provided longitudinal evidence in a study of passionate involvement in sport supporting earlier cross-sectional findings on links between coping and athlete burnout. Specifically, in their study of 421 volleyball athletes, changes in athlete burnout were positively predicted by obsessive passion via its mediated positive association with disengagement-oriented coping behaviors. Overall, as supported in a systematic review of literature (Goodger et al., 2007), the psychological stress and coping model represents a useful, if somewhat rudimentary, conceptual means to understanding athlete burnout. Research conducted from this perspective indicates that perceived stress tends to exacerbate the possibility of an athlete experiencing burnout as do athlete deficits or mismatches in coping skills and resources.
The second historical burnout conceptualization, offered by Coakley (1992), involved a focus on the sociological factors that may contribute to athlete burnout. Based on data from qualitative interviews with adolescent athletes, Coakley (1992) concluded that burnout, conceptualized as a particular type of withdrawal from sport, was the result of environmental constraints rather than the individual’s responses to stress per se. Specifically, Coakley posited that this particular type of withdrawal from sport resulted from the development of a unidimensional sport identity and the individual athlete’s perceived lack of control over his or her sport participation. This perspective has received very limited empirical support; the exception is the partial support found in one study of competitive swimmers (Black & Smith, 2007). Despite limited empirical support, this conceptualization does bring important attention to the idea that, beyond individual perceptions of stress or commitment, organizational (or team) factors within intensely competitive youth sport may contribute to athlete burnout (Coakley, 2009). Certainly, this conceptualization has focused additional, necessary attention on the social structure and demands of sporting environments in which athletes participate, rather than solely on individual differences in athlete appraisals of stress as the major contributor to burnout.
The third early perspective posited that burnout symptoms could arise from a specific constellation of athletes’ perceptions of their commitment to sport. Building on the broader sport commitment framework proposed by Schmidt and Stein (1991), Raedeke (1997) conceptualized burnout as a potential result of entrapped commitment to sport (as opposed to attraction-based commitment, which has benign or even salutatory effects). Specifically, Raedeke postulated that this maladaptive sport commitment pattern (characterized by a high level of perceived costs, investments, and social constraints along with few perceived benefits or alternatives), if sustained, would result in the athlete’s elevated perceptions of burnout. Support for this conceptualization was found using cluster analytic procedures, with data obtained from a sample of adolescent swimmers (Raedeke, 1997). Specifically, the cluster of swimmers endorsing this entrapped pattern of commitment stress reported the highest levels of burnout symptoms (exhaustion, devaluation, reduced accomplishment). Ultimately, this commitment theory perspective on athlete burnout has received some theoretical support and continues to be used to design and interpret athlete burnout research.
Finally, over the last decade or so, researchers have increasingly turned to self-determination theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 1985; Ryan & Deci, 2000a, 2000b), a prominent theory of human motivation, as an explanation to advance understanding of athlete burnout. This theory has proven to be exceptionally useful and revealing in those efforts. In SDT, Deci and Ryan contend that satisfaction of basic psychological needs results in optimal human functioning, social development and personal well-being, while the thwarting of psychological needs has the less salubrious results of diminished personal and social functioning and states of ill-being. The psychological needs enumerated in SDT include the needs for autonomy (i.e., to experience behavioral volition), competence (i.e., to perceive oneself as behaviorally effective), and relatedness (to feel socially interconnected with valued others). Satisfaction of these needs is regarded as being universally essential for human health and well-being.
In SDT, motivation is considered relative to the broad categories of autonomous and controlled motivation as well as relative to the more specific motivational regulations underlying behavioral enactments (i.e., intrinsic motivation, integrated regulation, identified regulation, introjected regulation, external regulation, amotivation). Autonomous motivation includes self-determined behavioral imperatives to satisfy one’s fundamental psychological needs (i.e., intrinsic motivation) and extrinsic but internalized motivational imperatives that can also satisfy these needs in some degree because they are consistent with one’s identity (i. e., integrated regulation) and/or personal objectives (i.e., identified regulation). Controlled motivation is more externally controlled (and thus less self-determined) and includes behaviors governed by external punishment and reward contingencies (i.e., external regulation) and behaviors resulting from feelings of shame, guilt or pride (i.e., introjected regulation). Finally, amotivation, arguably the motivational signature of athlete burnout (Eklund & Cresswell, 2007), involves behavior without intent to act resulting from not feeling competent, not believing that effort will result in desired outcomes, or not inherently valuing an activity (Ryan & Deci, 2000b).
Evidence supports SDT claims that autonomous behaviors supported by self-authored, or self-determined motivational regulation, are more adaptive, whereas behaviors governed by controlled motivational regulations and amotivation are less adaptive for motivational persistence, psychological health, and well-being (Ryan & Deci, 2000a, 2000b). With regard to athlete burnout, individuals whose experiences fail to satisfy or thwart the aforementioned psychological needs would be expected to exhibit less self-determined forms of sport motivation and, ultimately, higher levels of athlete burnout. Overall, the efficacy of self-determination theory in facilitating researcher efforts and understanding of athlete burnout has been supported in Li, Wang, Pyun, and Kee’s (2013) systematic review of literature in this area.
Review of Current Knowledge Base on Burnout in Sport
Collectively, research guided by the aforementioned theories and models has advanced our understanding of the occurrence and consequences of the athlete burnout syndrome while also serving as a useful guide to informing applied practice in sport (DeFreese, Smith, & Raedeke, 2015). This review of the burnout literature is intended to be representative of the knowledge base and informative as to future work, though it is not absolutely comprehensive. This section describes a pair of larger-scale research projects funded by the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) and the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) and also highlights important projects that are representative of the key conceptual outcomes of the contemporary burnout knowledge base.
Initial Funded Burnout Projects
The USTA provided support for one of the first funded projects on athlete burnout. The reports emanating from the mixed-methods research endeavor were informative (e.g., Gould, Udry et al., 1996; Gould, Tuffey et al., 1996, 1997) and, not surprisingly given the high-profile nature of the project, have been influential. The investigation was grounded in Gould’s (1996) conceptualization of athlete burnout as a motivational response to sport participation. He maintained that the commonly reported decreases in sport motivation observed among athletes reported as being “burned out” were the result of their prior highly motivated sport engagement involving chronic exposure to stress in their sport involvements. In observing that the stress encountered by athletes could be psychological and/or the result of training stress, Gould argued that burnout could be experienced either psychologically or physically. Some support for his position was found among the elite adolescent tennis players taking part in the USTA study (Gould, Udry et al., 1996; Gould, Tuffey et al., 1996, 1997). Specifically, athlete burnout was associated with less adaptive forms of motivation (i.e., amotivation), lower self-reported use of coping skills, high levels of perfectionism, and social pressures from parents or coaches. This research was integral to the early understanding of athletes’ burnout experiences and served as a guide for much of the subsequent research conducted in the area. In sum, the USTA study was important even if its eclectic conceptual grounding and use of an early tenuous measure of athlete burnout present some challenges for interpretation.
A subsequent series of studies funded by the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) also contributed to the knowledge base on athlete burnout on conceptual, measurement, and methodological accounts. As a starting point, interviews with 15 rugby athletes endorsing elevated burnout symptoms about their experiences with burnout supported the relevance of the burnout syndrome and highlighted several key burnout antecedents in the rugby environment, including competitive transitions, heavy playing and training demands, and social pressures to comply with demands despite physical or mental fatigue (Cresswell & Eklund, 2006c). A multitrait–multimethod assessment of athlete burnout measurement provided important evidence indicating that psychometrically valid and reliable data could be obtained with the ABQ and that burnout in elite rugby athletes was psychometrically related but nonetheless distinct from depression (Cresswell & Eklund, 2006b). Across the series of studies, consistent evidence was obtained indicating that athlete burnout was associated with less self-determined forms of motivation among professional and top amateur rugby players (Cresswell & Eklund, 2004, 2005b, 2005c).
The NZRU investigation also involved some of the earliest longitudinal research efforts, two of which were quantitative and one was qualitative. In the first instance, a 30-week “rugby year” monitoring study (Cresswell & Eklund, 2006a) was conducted to assess burnout experiences across time for athletes playing in multiple tournaments representing different teams (e.g., club, provincial, national) at different points in time. Data were collected from professional players (n = 109) at three time points (i.e., at the end of precompetitive training, approximately 10 weeks later during the season, and finally at approximately 30 weeks—during the final weeks of regular games). In hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) analyses, statistically significant variation was observed over time in burnout dimensions of reduced accomplishment and exhaustion but, contrary to expectations, in a nonlinear fashion. Players reported an increase in reduced accomplishment by the second time point, but further increases were not observed in the closing weeks of the rugby year. Changes on the exhaustion dimension varied across time by position (i.e., backfield and forward players), with the backs reporting a sharper decrease in exhaustion at midseason measurement than forwards and a subsequent sharper increase at the end of the competitive year.
In a separate study assessing both burnout and SDT motivational constructs, changes in burnout were again observed among athletes over the course of a 12-week tournament (Cresswell & Eklund, 2005a). Data in this tournament within the “rugby year” were also collected at three time points (pre-tournament, mid-tournament, and end of tournament) from professional rugby players (n = 102). Significant variation over time in burnout was only observed in the reduced accomplishment dimension, and a significant team by time interaction suggested that the variation was due to more than just game outcomes. As expected, amotivation was positively associated with end of tournament burnout, and self-determined motivation was inversely associated with burnout perceptions at this later period. A number of other pragmatic factors of interest were also associated with the key characteristics of burnout across time in the HLM analyses, including win/loss ratio, injury, starting status, playing position, experience, and team membership.
In the third longitudinal qualitative study (Cresswell & Eklund, 2007), interview data were obtained from professional players (n = 9) and members of team management (n = 3), and again at three time points (pre-season, mid-season and end of season) over a 12-month period. These data revealed that there was a dynamic element to athletes’ experiences of burnout over the course of the year that included periods of positive and negative change over the time frame. These data also suggested that elevations in perceptions of burnout were attributed to matters such as playing and training demands, competitive transitions, injury, and pressures from coaches/administrators, as well as from the media.
As with the USTA-funded project, the studies conducted in the NZRU project advanced the extant literature on athlete burnout on both conceptual and empirical grounds. Unlike the USTA project, however, the NZRU studies occurred at a time when other active programs of research were also emerging within the field—which is to say that research inquiry on athlete burnout was on the uptick at that time. Perhaps most notably, Lemyre and his colleagues (e.g., Lemyre, Hall, & Roberts, 2008; Lemyre, Treasure, & Roberts, 2006; Lemyre, Roberts, & Stray-Gundersen, 2007), as well as Lonsdale and his colleagues (e.g., Lonsdale, Hodge, & Rose, 2006, 2009; Hodge, Lonsdale, & Ng, 2008) were also conducting important studies on athlete burnout, also typically grounded in SDT, at a time overlapping with the NZRU studies. In short, subsequent to the USTA project and the arrival of the ABQ, athlete burnout has emerged as a topic of focal interest within sport psychology wherein the sophistication and number of articles published has noticeably increased year on year.
Theoretical Elaboration and Extension in Athlete Burnout Research
The bulk of the motivationally grounded athlete burnout research in the last decade or so has often been grounded in SDT although other theories (e. g., achievement goal theory) that also make differentiations in motivational qualities have also been employed. Sport psychology researchers have found considerable intuitive appeal in the notions that the quality of athlete motivation or athlete unsatisfied fundamental psychological needs might cause and/or mediate the emergence of aversive sport-based involvement experiences. Overall, theory testing investigations in the area, including cross-sectional and longitudinal designs, have been informative for developing understanding of processes involved in burnout in sport settings.
As a starting point, Lemyre and his colleagues (e.g., Lemyre et al., 2006, 2007, 2008) have conducted prospective design investigations that have been revealing in supporting a SDT explanation of the burnout experience among athletes. They examined the possibility that motivational shifts along a continuum of self-determination could predict athlete burnout symptom development over time among collegiate swimmers (n = 44). Variability in self-determined motivation over a season was indeed found to predict swimmers’ end-of-season burnout symptoms, with shifts toward less self-determined motivational regulations being associated with elevations in athlete burnout. In a related prospective investigation, Lemyre et al. (2007) examined the possibility that beginning-of-season motivation, as operationalized using a self-determination motivational continuum index, could predict end-of-season burnout in elite and junior elite winter sport athletes (n = 141). As expected, end-of-season burnout was significantly predicted by pre-season scores on the self-determined motivation continuum. Interestingly, the prediction of burnout was enhanced when symptoms of overtraining were also included in the analytic model. This pair of studies provided substantial evidence supporting the utility of self-determination theory for understanding athlete burnout. Specifically, athletes experiencing more self-determined forms of motivation endorsed lower burnout scores at the end of the training period assessed in each instance. In a related third study grounded in achievement goal theory rather than SDT, Lemyre, Hall, and Roberts (2008) reported athlete burnout to be positively associated with athlete-endorsed ego/outcome motivational climates (characterized by an emphasis on winning and social comparison) and negatively associated with task/mastery climates (characterized by an emphasis on individual effort and improvement). This pattern of findings was subsequently replicated and extended in research focused specifically on the motivational climate created by teammate peers (Smith, Gustafsson, & Hassmén, 2010) without reference to coaches, parents, or administrators.
Self-determined motivation has also been examined as a mediator of relationships with athlete burnout (e.g., Appleton & Hill, 2012; Curran, Appleton, Hill, & Hall, 2011; Jowett, Hill, Hall, & Curran, 2013) or, alternatively, as an adaptive psychological outcome in the study of athlete burnout (e.g., DeFreese & Smith, 2013b). Curran et al. (2011), for example, found support for the hypothesis that the relationship between harmonious passion and burnout would be mediated by self-determined motivation in cross-sectional data obtained from a sample of male elite junior soccer players (n = 149). In contrast, DeFreese and Smith (2013b) found teammate social support satisfaction and perceived availability of support to be both positively associated with self-determined motivation and negatively associated with burnout in cross-sectional data obtained from collegiate American football athletes (n = 235).
Finally, Lonsdale and Hodge (2011) considered the temporal question on the causal sequencing of relationships between burnout and self-determined motivation and showed that that lower levels of self-determined motivation preceded the development of burnout. Though not settling the matter of causal sequencing definitively, their findings did provide support for a self-determination theory grounded explanation of athlete burnout.
Relative to the basic psychological needs subtheory of SDT, researchers have also examined satisfaction of the fundamental psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness and their association with burnout in athlete populations. Research on elite rugby players found that players classified as “high-burnouts” reported lower perceptions of need fulfillment compared to “low burnouts” (Hodge, Lonsdale, & Ng, 2008). Interestingly, however, research has also suggested that simultaneous satisfaction of psychological needs is associated with lower levels of athlete burnout than satisfaction of any psychological need individually (Perreault, Gaudreau, Lapointe, & Lacroix, 2007). Finally, an inverse relationship between psychological need satisfaction and athlete burnout has been reported in data from elite Canadian athletes (n = 201) showcasing self-determined motivation as a potential mediator of the relationship (Lonsdale, Hodge, & Rose, 2009). In sum, self-determination theory has received considerable support in the extant literature as an effective means to understand athlete motivation and psychological health outcomes, including burnout. That said, motivation may be understood through a variety of other theoretical conceptualizations (e.g., achievement goal theory, attribution theory). Acordingly, self-determination theory is not the only potentially useful motivational framework for the conceptual grounding of athlete burnout research.
Coaching and Athlete Burnout
Burnout researchers have also conducted studies examining the potential influence of sport-based social agents on athlete burnout. Of note, the impact of significant others (e.g., coaches) was highlighted in both the USTA and NZRU research programs. Thus, coaches are key members of the sport-based training and competition environment, and their influence on athletes is nontrivial. The idea that coaching styles and behaviors may contribute to the experiences of burnout among athletes seems logical, perhaps especially given earlier evidence that the burnout being experienced by coaches may elevate the risk of burnout among their athletes (Price & Weiss, 2000; Vealey, Armstrong, Comar, & Greenleaf, 1998). Recent theoretically grounded studies of coaching styles and behaviors relative to athlete burnout have revealed that coach interactions with athletes are worthy of consideration in the matter; perhaps even as a potential focus of burnout intervention efforts (e.g., Barcza-Renner, Eklund, Morin, & Habeeb, 2016; DeFreese et al., 2015; González, García-Merita, Castillo, & Balaguer, 2015).
As a first example, the González et al. (2015) longitudinal investigation implicates the leadership style provided by coaches in working with their athletes as a potential antecedent of athlete burnout. Specifically, González et al. (2015) reported the results of a two-season SDT-grounded prospective investigation of associations between athlete-perceived coaching styles and athlete outcomes of well- and ill-being (respectively, self-esteem and burnout). Among the 360 male youth soccer athletes sampled, athlete perceptions of an autonomy-supportive coaching style were found to be positively associated with self-esteem development across seasons and negatively associated with the development of burnout via a positive association with psychological need satisfaction and a negative association with psychological need thwarting. Athlete perceptions of a controlling coaching style, however, were negatively associated with development of self-esteem across seasons and positively associated with the development of burnout via negative association with psychological need satisfaction and positive association with psychological need thwarting. Ultimately, longitudinal assessment of the association of athlete perceptions of coaching behaviors with athlete burnout perceptions supports the idea that coaching styles may have a developmental impact on athlete psychological health and well-being. This position merits continued examination across athlete ages and competition levels.
Barcza-Renner et al. (2016) extended research in this area by examining the potential mediating effects of athlete perfectionism and motivation on the relationship between controlling coaching behaviors (as opposed to the more general controlling coaching style) and athlete burnout. Division I NCAA collegiate swimmers (n = 487) provided cross-sectional data for analysis within three weeks of their conference championship meet. Athlete perceptions of controlling coaching behavior were predictive of athletes’ socially prescribed and self-oriented perfectionism and their motivation (i.e., autonomous, amotivation). Specifically, self-oriented perfectionism was positively associated with autonomous motivation and negatively associated with amotivation. In contrast, socially prescribed perfectionism was negatively associated with autonomous motivation and positively associated with controlled motivation and amotivation. Autonomous motivation and amotivation, in turn, predicted athlete burnout in expected directions. Support for the potential mediating effects was observed in modeling results, with significant indirect effects across model pathways. Overall, these results also support self-determination theory contentions that the social context of engagement has motivational implications for the health and well-being of involved actors in sport.
An organizational psychology perspective that may be useful in the continued examination of athlete perceptions of social actors, including coaches, on their sport experience can be found in Leiter and Maslach’s (2004) areas of worklife conceptual framework. As adapted to sport by DeFreese et al. (2015), this framework is grounded in the notion that athletes’ satisfaction with perceptions of the congruence or “fit” of their interests/values as an athlete and the interests/values of actors in their sport organizations (i.e., coaches, administrators) have implications for their psychological outcomes. Incongruences were hypothesized to be associated with elevations in athlete burnout; whereas, good athlete-sport organization “fits” were expected to be associated with more adaptive psychological outcomes. Examination of data from a sample of collegiate American football athletes (n = 235) provided support for this conceptual perspective (DeFreese & Smith, 2013a). Regardless of the framework used, however, research to date supports the importance of coaches to their athletes’ sport-based burnout experiences. Overall, the athletes’ relationships with their coaches and other sport organizational social agents can shape their perceptions of sport involvement and burnout.
Ideographically Oriented Research on Burnout
The case study has been another important method for understanding individual differences in athlete burnout and the development of its symptoms. Gustafsson, Kenttä, Hassmén, Lundqvist, and Durand-Bush (2007), for example, conducted retrospective interviews with elite Scandinavian endurance athletes (n = 3). All athletes exhibited burnout syndrome dimensions as conceptualized by Raedeke (1997), Raedeke and Smith (2001), as well as the key conceptual burnout antecedents identified in the extant literature, including strong athletic identities and decreases in sport motivation associated with maladaptive sport commitment patterns over time. Moreover, all individuals in the study described their burnout symptoms to be negatively associated with their overall mood and athletic performance. Nonetheless, individualized contributors to burnout were evident in each case as well (i.e., stress levels, anxiety, injury). These findings were replicated and extended in a related interview study involving 12 Swedish athletes with elevated ABQ scores (Gustafsson, Hassmén, Kenttä, & Johansson, 2008). More specifically, this second study provided additional support for the conceptually linked burnout antecedents identified in this group’s previous work as well as highlighted the description of “total overload” from sport and life demands such as school. In sum, research on individual burnout cases has been integral to understanding symptom development in “burned-out” athletes, while largely supporting the results of nomothetic analyses of data obtained from larger athlete cohorts endorsing varying levels of burnout symptoms.
Selected Longitudinal Burnout Research Efforts
Longitudinal research studies on athlete burnout continue to grow in both number and impact on understanding of the phenomenon. Accordingly, recent research efforts have focused on longitudinal monitoring of burnout and its antecedents of perfectionism, social perceptions, and gender. These studies represent a positive trend toward further understanding of burnout development. Accordingly, we have selected recent studies that have had significant impact on the understanding of athlete burnout development (e. g., DeFreese & Smith, 2014; Isoard-Gautheur, Guillet-Descas, Gaudreau, & Chanal, 2015; Madigan, Stoeber, & Passfield, 2015, in press).
First, Madigan, Stoeber and Passfield (2015) examined perfectionism and burnout among junior sport academy athletes over three months of active training. Results of this two time-point assessment of advanced junior athletes (n = 101) indicated that perfectionistic concerns scores predicted heightened burnout levels over the study window, whereas perfectionistic striving scores predicted decreases in burnout over the same time period. These intriguing and suggestive findings on the potential contributions of different types of perfectionism to burnout development were limited by the two time-point investigative design. This research group’s subsequent, more sophisticated, three time-point analyses of data obtained from junior athletes (n = 141) attending sporting academies, however, further clarified the pattern of associations among these variables. Specifically, Madigan, Stoeber, & Passfield, (2016) found support for the perfectionism-burnout link to be mediated by athlete motivation. Within a three time-point multilevel structural equation model, autonomous motivation was found to mediate the negative relationship between perfectionistic strivings and burnout at both the between- and within-person levels. Controlled motivation, however, was found to only mediate the positive relationship between perfectionistic concerns and burnout at the between-person level. This pair of multipanel studies further highlights the relevance of understanding the potentially paradoxical effects of the different types of perfectionism on athlete burnout understanding as well as the potentially mediating effects of different qualities of sport motivation. This promising area merits continued examination in future athlete burnout research efforts.
Second, DeFreese and Smith (2014) examined the impact of social support and negative social interactions perceptions on athlete burnout and well-being (as indicated by life satisfaction) over four time points in a competitive season among 465 collegiate athletes. After accounting for commonly identified antecedents of athlete burnout (i.e., perceived stress, sport motivation, trait negative affect, trait optimism) across time, social support and negative social interactions were associated (respectively, negatively and positively) with athlete burnout across the competitive season. In contrast, the prediction of athlete life satisfaction across the competitive season by social support and negative social interactions exhibited relationships in the opposite directions to those observed in predicting athlete burnout (i.e., respectively positive and negative in association). Altogether, this study highlighted the importance of both the positive and negative athlete perceptions of the social environment to burnout and has serious implications for continued longitudinal burnout monitoring and prevention efforts.
Finally, Isoard-Gautheur, Guillet-Descas, Gaudreau, and Chanal’s (2015) recent report on the development of burnout among elite adolescent handball athletes at a national athlete training center in France sheds light on potential gender differences that might be implicated in the process. Their five-wave multiyear study of 895 male and female athletes (aged 13–18 years at initial data collection) highlighted significant decreases in the reduced accomplishment burnout dimension over time, with the effect being most pronounced for girls. Moreover, significantly different rates of change in the exhaustion dimension were observed in interactions with the sport devaluation dimension, with, interestingly, exhaustion being attenuated at times of higher levels of sport devaluation. Overall, however, sport devaluation tended to increase over the five-year period, and more so among girls than for boys. Ultimately, changes in the burnout syndrome facets of emotional and physical exhaustion (i.e., remained relatively stable across time) and reduced accomplishment (i.e., decreased across time) developed in a way that was developmentally consistent with athlete well-being across adolescence and relative to present-day gender differences in sport importance. This study provides a particularly good example of the integration of interests in simultaneously acquiring research and clinical knowledge through the developmental monitoring of burnout symptoms among athletes in elite performance programs. The consideration of other factors (e.g., training schedule, competitive level, perfectionistic tendencies) that may be reasonably expected to influence the experience of athlete burnout (as occurred with gender in this study) is also warranted in future, similar investigations. Certainly, the accumulation of knowledge on developmental trends and influences on burnout development when combined with well-tested explanatory theory offers the prospect of effective alternatives for clinical interventions designed to prevent or ameliorate the development of burnout symptom in the future.
Future Research Directions
One inherent problem with the discussion of future research directions on athlete burnout is that there can seem to be so many potential research areas that it can be difficult to decide where to start. This article presents some guidance on starting points for future research. The future burnout research directions identified are not meant to be exhaustive but, rather, to provide grist for a fruitful conversation among sport scientists and clinicians in designing studies to add to the knowledge base on burnout while also informing practice. The few future research directions on athlete burnout provided subsequently merit specific consideration at least on that account.
The adequacy of research and clinical practice rests substantially on the availability of measures that are suitable, reliable, and well validated. As a consequence, our first recommendation on future research directions is relative to athlete burnout measurement. The emergence of the ABQ, the Athlete Burnout Questionnaire, the most commonly used measure of the construct since its initial development in 1997, opened new horizons in athlete burnout research. Despite the resulting advances in athlete burnout research, recent discussion has pointed to the need to further improve the measurement of athlete burnout. Researchers should proceed cautiously on this front because measurement development should not be an end in itself; rather, it should be a matter that occurs in service of advancements in research or clinical purpose. Throughout its extensive in athlete populations varying on a variety of demographic dimensions (e. g., age, gender, sport, competitive level), the ABQ has consistently exhibited acceptable levels of reliability and validity (Raedeke & Smith, 2009).
Nonetheless, certainly no measure is perfect, and the ABQ is not an exception to that truism. Nonetheless, much work remains to be done in exploring ABQ scores relative to matters such as nomothetic and ideographic cut-points for elevated risk of consequences associated with burnout, its utility for monitoring the effectiveness of clinical or program based interventions, or matters relating to its suitability for use across a variety of situations and populations. Specifically, to ensure reliability in this key target population, which is most often examined through qualitative methods, continued measurement development is necessary in populations of “burned-out” athletes (i.e., those endorsing high levels of burnout symptoms). Such work represents a future research direction, with implications for both ongoing research and practice efforts relative to athlete burnout.
Measurement development may be useful for purposes beyond those initially envisaged for the ABQ. All the same, a well-informed sense of ABQ limitations, as well as current and future measurement needs, should be primary considerations if developmental efforts are to be fruitful. Thus, continued efforts to examine the reliability and validity of the ABQ are needed so that any move to refine or replace it is informed by identified measurement needs for research and/or clinical practice rather than simply being a quest to have a different measure. Continued research to optimize measurement of athlete burnout is needed, but it is also important to be mindful of the issues of conceptual confusion which have historically plagued understanding of this psychological construct. One area relative to ABQ advancement that has already been made apparent—a condensed version minimizing response burden (preferably providing data with similar reliability and validity properties)—could be very useful to researchers. Subject burden can be a compliance issue in longitudinal monitoring studies, particularly in studies that assess other psychological health and well-being variables. Hence, the availability of a reliable and valid short version of the ABQ is an avenue of fairly immediate interest.
Research efforts in organizational psychology have examined whether a temporal sequencing exists in the developmental progression of burnout dimensions. Specifically, it remains uncertain whether exhaustion (Leiter, 1989) or depersonalization (i.e., devaluation in sport) and accomplishment perceptions (Golembiewski, 1989) drive the overarching burnout experience for working professionals, but the possibilities are intriguing. Though support for these ideas in worker populations is still being established, it may be useful to assess potential developmental sequencing of burnout dimensions among athletes via the ABQ measurement. If we can identify a causal sequence between individual burnout symptoms and the overall burnout experience in sport, or perhaps point out alternative developmental patterns contingent upon particular individual differences (e. g., personality or dispositional attributes), researcher and clinician alike might be able to prevent burnout and provide treatment in sport. Because of the limited theoretical basis for this inquiry in sport, researchers should begin investigation cautiously, while strongly considering the possibility that a ubiquitous temporal sequencing may not exist in athlete populations.
Another area ripe for athlete burnout research is the role played by various sport-based social actors involved in preventing, attenuating, and (in some instances) exacerbating athlete burnout. These actors could include sports medicine or psychology clinicians, parents, coaches, spectators, or even media involved in conveying sport to the masses. Advancing understanding of perspectives on athlete burnout from these actors could build on previous work utilizing quantitative (survey), qualitative (interview), or mixed methods designs and extend further into experimental design or intervention evaluation studies. Specifically, further understanding of environmental social antecedents of burnout (e.g., social support, conflict) is needed to inform the development of psychoeducational interventions that utilize targeted social agents and their interactions with athletes as a means of burnout monitoring, prevention, and, when warranted, treatment.
Finally, longitudinal burnout monitoring efforts should be a feature of future research and, in particular, monitoring that includes biometric assessments. The previously mentioned foundational, longitudinal work has shed some light on the development of burnout in athlete samples, but research gaps remain in our understanding of variables moderating and mediating its progression. These gaps may start to be addressed via systematic monitoring during athletes’ intensive training and competitive periods as well as during less demanding (e.g., off-season) periods. Well-designed efforts, informed by relevant theory, to obtain data over time on relevant psychosocial and behavioral variables for monitoring and predictive purposes would advance knowledge on athlete burnout. The objective monitoring of biometric markers of health behaviors through “wearable” technology that is cost effective, portable, and user friendly merits further investigation in predicting the development of athlete burnout (Eklund & DeFreese, 2015). At present, the combination of these technologies with psychological assessments would be innovative for study in this area, and it may be longitudinally revealing. Improved understanding of these associations in athlete populations could ultimately inform the development of user-friendly applications to effectively monitor athlete burnout during training and/or competition.
Given the paucity of work in this area, and the many calls for research on athlete psychological health and well-being in an era of increased early sport specialization, the previously mentioned efforts merit extramural funding support. Hence, efforts to that end are encouraged. Interest in the long-term costs and benefits of sport participation will continue to grow among researchers and, more broadly, in contemporary society. Thus, the time is ripe for research efforts that track the development of athlete burnout over career-segments or entire careers via projects designed with both theory and practice (i.e., recognition, treatment) in mind.
The rule changes and educational recommendations implemented by the International Tennis Federation, as described by Hume (1985), do not stand alone among organizational initiatives to address concerns about athlete burnout, but, to date, systematic examination of the effectiveness of practical strategies to prevent and/or mitigate burnout symptoms among athletes has been limited. Specifically, no reports of evaluations of interventions on athlete burnout exist in the extant literature that can provide a basis for suggestions or recommendations for clinical practice. For that reason, intervention strategies based on extant theory and athlete burnout research are cautiously recommended. Accordingly, clinical judgment is especially important in managing athlete burnout, and all techniques touched upon should be tailored to the unique needs of the individual athlete.
One way clinicians and/or athletes themselves can help to lower burnout-related perceptions is to employ strategies to manage or cope with psychosocial stress in training and/or sport participation. A variety of stress management techniques (e.g., imagery, relaxation training, mindfulness) may provide effective coping resources for competitive athletes. Moreover, cognitive strategies to help athletes minimize their initial stress appraisals (i.e., normalization of stress responses to training or competition) could also be helpful. Ultimately, any strategy that may minimize the athlete’s initial stress response and/or help the athlete to cope with the resulting stress could have a long-term effect in preventing and treating burnout symptoms. This idea is bolstered by earlier commentaries on theory and practice relative to sport coaches (e.g., Fletcher & Scott, 2010), whereby stress management and the effective utilization of coping strategies is highlighted as a key precursor of more adaptive outcomes of involvement within the stress-inducing environment of competitive sport.
Strategies to support athletes in developing adaptive patterns of sport identification and commitment could also be effective in preventing or treating burnout. For example, efforts to expand potentially unidimensional athletic identities by facilitating at least one nonsport interest (e.g., academics, music, art) could be helpful in deterring or mitigating burnout. Additionally, reminding athletes of the benefits and enjoyable aspects of sport relative to alternative activities could be beneficial in minimizing burnout symptoms from a commitment perspective (Raedeke, 1997; Schmidt & Stein, 1991) as well as indirectly promote perceived control for athletes within sporting environments which may, at times, minimize their choice to participate (Coakley, 1992, 2009). Ultimately, regardless of the psychological and/or physical recovery strategies facilitated to promote positive athlete outcomes, continued sport participation, at least on an autonomous basis, is a choice that is often shaped by identity and control perceptions (Samuel & Tenenbaum, 2011). Having more complex, multifaceted self-identities may be more protective for athletes against maladaptive psychological health and well-being outcomes than having to rely solely on a strong exclusive athlete identity (Brewer, 1993; Van Raalte and Linder, 1999). Accordingly, competitive athletes with multifaceted self-identities and commitment patterns characterized by sport enjoyment may be less likely to develop burnout symptoms.
As previously observed, research has shown that more adaptive (i.e., self-determined) forms of motivation are associated with lower burnout in both cross-sectional and longitudinal study designs. Thus, efforts to shape the imperatives regulating athletes’ involvement in sport may be an effective strategy for combatting burnout for some athletes. Cognitive strategies to remind athletes of the inherently interesting (intrinsically motivating) aspects of sport could help promote more self-determined forms of motivation. Meanwhile, environmental strategies designed to enhance satisfaction of athletes’ psychological needs of competence, autonomy, and relatedness in sport may also be beneficial. Research has shown (see Li et al., 2013, for a review) that these psychological needs perceptions by athletes positively impact self-determined motivation for sport and are both directly and indirectly associated with lower self-report athlete burnout scores.
Athlete perceptions of the social environment created by coaches, teammates, and parents have been associated with athlete burnout perceptions. Accordingly, strategies designed to improve athlete access to and utilization of social support from important sport-based social actors and to cope with negative social interactions or conflict could be helpful as burnout prevention and treatment efforts (e.g., DeFreese & Smith, 2014, DeFreese et al., 2015. Smith et al., 2010). For example, clinicians, coaches, or teammates could develop strategies to promote social assimilation and minimize social isolation in their athletic environments. These socially driven burnout prevention/intervention strategies may have added benefits for clubs such as the promotion of team task and social cohesion and/or the development of intrateam friendships and acceptance. Thus, such strategies are both preventative and responsive to burnout symptoms, while not singling out individual athletes for a specific psychological “issue.” This may be particularly helpful as there could be some actual or perceived social stigma for athletes who admit they are “burned-out” (cf. Cresswell & Eklund, 2006c).
With the exception of the approaches mentioned above, environmental strategies are seldom recommended for burnout prevention and treatment because the onus is often put on the athletes themselves to “manage” their responses to their sport environments. Yet, other strategies to alter training and/or competition environments may also be helpful burnout interventions. For example, some sport environments may promote unreasonable amounts of stress, an all-or-nothing athletic identity, a thwarting of psychological needs, and/or a conflictual or isolating social environment. Accordingly, strategies to change sporting environments and to minimize the promotion of athlete burnout also warrant consideration. For example, techniques that help shape sport environments that promote athletic identities, stress levels, and motivational patterns that are less likely to yield “burned-out” athletes should be considered. These strategies could involve implementation of logistic changes such as training breaks (which may also address potential comorbid problems with the overtraining syndrome) and/or changes in training structure in order to increase novelty and motivation and prevent athlete boredom. Alternatively, leader-directed strategies such as autonomy supportive coaching (Mageua & Vallerand, 2003), which focus on providing athletes with choices and a rationale for coaching decisions, may also be helpful in structuring sport environments that are less likely to promote burnout. These efforts will likely require carefully educating coaches (Eklund & DeFreese, 2015) on how to support athletes’ autonomy without losing the control needed to properly instruct and develop their athletes both on and off the field.
To our knowledge, extant macrolevel efforts to manage and/or intervene upon burnout (i.e., excluding interventions conducted by therapists with individual athletes) have been largely limited to those conducted outside of sport in organizational or workplace spheres. Those efforts have had a primary focus on stress management (e.g., Ivancevich, Matteson, Freedman & Phillips, 1990; Munz, Kohler, & Greenberg, 2001). The results of such interventions have been promising, and, though differences between sport and work exist, such interventions may have usefulness for athletes. Ultimately, the appropriate transfer of such work-based intervention to sport may have benefits for stress management, burnout prevention, and, ultimately, the psychological health and well-being of athletes. Previously reviewed efforts in sport aimed at minimizing the stress and burnout of coaches could inform the development and assessment of such interventions with athletes (Fletcher & Scott, 2010). Efforts on the potential adaptation of the areas of worklife to sport (DeFreese et al., 2013a) may also aid in the translation of coach-based interventions, with potential flow-on effects for athletes.
Finally, clinical awareness, discriminative judgment, and appropriate consultation or referral, if needed, are required in working with athletes who present as experiencing burnout because of its overlapping symptomatology with other conditions (e.g., depression, overtraining syndrome). As a first example, the commonalities in the burnout and overtraining syndromes (e.g., exhaustion, mood disturbances, concerns about the performance adequacy) are striking, but they can be clinically misleading. Excessive training stress, however, is not requisite for developing the athlete burnout syndrome (Eklund & Cresswell, 2007), even if it may sometimes contribute to the athlete’s psychosocial stress (e.g., Gould, Tuffey et al., 1997).
On a different note, amotivation is often regarded as the motivational signature of athlete burnout (Eklund & Cresswell, 2007). As noted by Kreher and Schwartz (2012), however, athletes suffering with the overtraining syndrome are often highly motivated and goal oriented, as indicated by their willingness to invest in even greater volume and intensity of training to address their concerns about underperformance and performance plateaus. Accordingly, these syndromes should be regarded as distinct conditions requiring intervention strategies that are not identical (Raglin, 1993). Selection of the appropriate intervention strategies requires proper recognition of the condition being experienced by the athlete, and the commonalities across these syndromes may be misleading in some instances.
The commonalities between burnout and depression have also long been recognized (Freudenberger, 1975; Glass & McKnight, 1996), including the overlapping presence of depressive cognitive styles (Bianchi & Schonfeld, 2016). Athletes dealing with burnout can have depressed moods, and depressed athletes can feel burned out, so symptomatology can be tangled. An important primary difference between burnout and clinical depression can be found in the experiential generality of the condition. Burnout tends to involve situational specificity of symptoms, at least during the early stages of burnout (Maslach, Jackson, & Leiter, 1997), whereas clinical depression involves symptomology that pervasively diminishes a person’s interest and pleasure in life (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Despite the potentially misleading commonalities, proper recognition of the condition being experienced by the athlete is paramount in providing suitable intervention treatment from a properly trained clinical specialist as directly as possible.
Integrating Research and Practice
Despite future intervention possibilities with respect to athlete burnout, experts in sport science and sports medicine have expressed concerns that injury and a variety of undesirable psychological outcomes are embedded nontrivial risks for young athletes involved in early sport specialization (Smucny, Parikh, & Pandya, 2015). The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, for example, has identified burnout in particular as a potential psychological health risk of early sport specialization for children and adolescents (LaPrade et al., 2016). This idea has been further bolstered by recommendations from pediatrics physicians to limit and carefully monitor youth sport specialization effects because of potentially aversive mental and physical health effects (Brenner & AAP Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness, 2016). An in-depth discussion of the potential risks (and benefits) of early sport specialization is beyond the scope of this commentary, but it should be noted that sport specialization is growing in importance in both sport science and popular culture. The potential impact over time of early sport specialization on the development of athlete burnout among elite performers remains unclear.
At the same time, sports medicine physicians have identified burnout as one of the most important noninjury issues that they address in interactions with athlete patients of any age (Mann, Grana, Indelicato, O’Neill, & George, 2007). Therefore, burnout is relevant to those who are invested in supporting the psychological health and well-being of athletes of all ages. Accordingly, longitudinal investigative designs are likely to be very important in advancing understanding of potential links between burnout and important related issues like early sport specialization and injury. The integration of research and practice may be the most productive way to understand and monitor the development of athlete burnout, while simultaneously providing medical and/or psychological services (nonclinical or clinical) to those athletes who may need to improve their psychological health. For these reasons, the integration of research and practice is of interest to both sports medicine staff and governing bodies with the means to support such integrative work.
As an example, burnout monitoring efforts (i.e., efforts designed to decrease stress, improve coping skills, and enhance social support utilization) could be augmented so as to be clinically useful as well. Psychosocial and biometric monitoring data could be utilized as a clinical decision-making tool designed to refer athletes to burnout interventions or other therapeutic programming (e.g., management of stress, the overtraining syndrome, or clinical mental health issues). If burnout monitoring reveals possible clinical anxiety or depression, the athlete could be referred to the appropriately credentialed mental health specialist (e.g., clinical psychologist). Thus, research could help develop an effective decision-making algorithm for burnout (or other mental health symptoms) referral decisions from monitoring data as well as examine feasibility and effectiveness issues in any implicated interventions with the identified athletes. Given the paucity of published sport-based intervention studies to date, drawing from burnout intervention studies employed in professional settings (e.g., Rollins et al., 2016) may benefit efforts in this area. Altogether, the combination of athlete burnout monitoring and intervention efforts outlined in this article could have positive and substantive effects on athletes’ psychological health and well-being, and represent an innovative future direction for clinical research in sport.
Who Can Help in the Prevention and/or Remediation of Athlete Burnout
Individuals directly involved in athlete training and talent development (i.e., coaches, administrators, teammates) are well positioned to notice the signs and symptoms of burnout (e.g., chronic exhaustion, reduced accomplishment, sport devaluation). These individuals could therefore be important agents in integrated efforts to monitor and conduct research on athlete burnout. Some individuals in this group (e.g., coaches), pleading time constraints and absence of relevant training, could question their effectiveness in burnout research and practice. For these individuals, educationally oriented involvement in burnout monitoring could be beneficial for athletes in their appraisals and responses to training and, perhaps ultimately, their performance outcomes.
At the same time, coaches may have considerable intuitive insight into athlete burnout. Raedeke, Lunney, and Venables (2002), for example, explored the question of how coaches draw conclusions about burnout after monitoring their athletes. They asked swimming coaches (n = 13) to reflect on their opinions regarding the signs and antecedents of athlete burnout. The coaches generally characterized the symptoms of burnout in terms that were consistent with Raedeke’s (1997) conceptual definition but also included withdrawal from sport as symptomatic—the latter is considered a potential behavioral consequence of athlete burnout rather than being symptomatic per se (Eklund & Cresswell, 2007). Moreover, these coaches described the antecedents or causes of athlete burnout in swimming as including outside pressures (e.g., parents, coaches, friend), self-pressure, peer comparison, as well as issues related to swimming autonomy and identity. In sum, understanding burnout is crucial in developing talent and promoting psychological well-being in sport, and of course, coaches and athletic administrators are crucial to such efforts. Accordingly, their efforts relative to burnout prevention and remediation (as well as relative to differentiating symptomatologies across the overtraining and burnout syndromes) may aid greatly in athlete training and performance outcomes as well as in psychological health and well-being.
Those tasked with caring for the mental and physical health of athletes are also essential in the area of athlete burnout practice, including the monitoring, prevention, and treatment of athlete burnout. Specifically, within the scope of their practice, team members of sports medicine (athletic trainers, sports medicine physicians, clinical sport psychologists) need to be prepared for clinical recognition of the symptoms of burnout among athletes (and able to distinguish burnout from other psychological health or maladaptive training response issues). Consequently, when symptoms merit it, these individuals should also be prepared to properly refer athletes to professionals with more specialized treatment expertise. This is especially true for issues of clinical mental health. In sum, collaboration among researchers, practitioners, coaches/administrators, and athletes themselves to improve athlete responses to training and competition is necessary for effective research and practice relative to burnout in sport. Communication among sports medicine team members and those tasked with talent development will likely produce the best outcomes for athletes relative to burnout. Consequently, when burnout is recognized in the athletes they serve, these individuals can work together to most effectively manage this negative psychological response and to promote more adaptive sport-based psychological outcomes.
(PDF) Burnout in Athletes
Freudenberger, H. J., & Richelson, G. (1980). Burn-out: The high cost of high achievement.
New York: Anchor Press.
Fry, R. W., Morton, A. R., & Keast, D. (1991). Overtraining in athletes –An update. Sports
Goodger, K., Gorely, T., Lavallee, D., & Harwood, C. (2007). Burnout in sport: A systematic
review. The Sport Psychologist, 21, 127–151.
Goodman, M. J., & Schorling, J. B. (2012). A mindfulness course decreases burnout and improves well-
being among healthcare providers. The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, 43,119–128.
Gould, D., Tuffey, S., Udry, E., & Loehr, J. (1996a). Burnout in competitive junior tennis players:
II. A qualitative analysis. The Sport Psychologist, 10, 341–366.
Gould, D., Udry, E., Tuffey, S., & Loehr, J. (1996b). Burnout in competitive junior tennis players:
I. A quantitative psychological assessment. The Sport Psychologist, 10, 322–340.
Gould, D., Tuffey, S., Udry, E., & Loehr, J. (1997). Burnout in competitive junior tennis players: III.
Individual differences in the burnout experience. The Sport Psychologist, 11, 256–276.
Grossman, P., Niemann, L., Schmidt, S., & Walach, H. (2004). Mindfulness-based stress reduction
and health beneﬁts: A meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 57,35–43.
Gustafsson, H., Kenttä, G., Hassmén, P., & Lundqvist, C. (2007). Prevalence of burnout in
adolescent competitive athletes. The Sport Psychologist, 21,21–37.
Gustafsson, H., Hassmén, P., Kenttä, G., & Johansson, M. (2008). A qualitative analysis of burnout
in elite Swedish athletes. Psychology of Sport & Exercise, 9, 800–816.
Gustafsson, H., Hassmén, P., & Podlog, L. (2010). Exploring the relationship between hope and
burnout in athletes. Journal of Sport Sciences, 28, 1495–1504.
Gustafsson, H., Kenttä, G., & Hassmén, P. (2011). Athlete burnout: An integrated model and future
directions. International Review in Sport and Exercise Psychology, 4,3–24.
Gustafsson, H., & Skoog, T. (2012). The mediational role of stress in the relationship between
optimism and burnout in competitive athletes. Anxiety, Stress & Coping, 25, 183–200.
Gustafsson, H., Skoog, T., Podlog, L., & Wagnsson, S. (2013). Hope and athlete burnout: The
mediating role of stress and affect. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 14, 640–649.
Gustafsson, H., Hancock, D. J., & Côté, J. (2014). Describing citation structures in sport burnout
literature: A citation network analysis. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 15, 620–626.
Gustafsson, H., Davis, P., Skoog, T., Kenttä, G., & Harberl, P. (2015). Mindfulness and its
relationship with perceived stress, affect, and burnout in elite junior athletes. Journal of Clinical
Sport Psychology, 9, 263–281.
Gustafsson, H., Lundkvist, E., Podlog, L., & Lundqvist, C. (2016). Conceptual confusion and
potential advances in athlete burnout research. Perception and Motor Skills, 123(3), 784–791.
Hackfort, D., & Huang, Z. (2005). Considerations for research on career counseling and career
transitions. In D. Hackfort, J. L. Duda & R. Lidor (Hrsg.), Handbook of research in applied
sport and exercise psychology: International perspectives (S. 245–255). Morgantown: Fitness
Hägg, G. (1952). Gunder Häggs dagbok, en världsmästares erfarenheter och träningsråd [Gunder
Hägg’s diary, a world chapmpion’s experiences and training advice]. Stockholm: Trycker-
Hanton, S., Fletcher, D., & Coughlan, G. (2005). Stress in elite sport performers: A comparative
study of competitive and organizational stressors. Journal of Sport Sciences, 23, 1129–1141.
Harlick, M., & McKenzie, A. (2000). Burnout in junior tennis: A research report. New Zealand
Journal of Sport Medicine, 28,36–39.
Hayes, S. C. (2004). Acceptance and commitment therapy, relational frame theory, and the third
wave of behavioral and cognitive therapies. Behavior Therapy, 35, 639–665.
Hayes, S. C., Bissett, R., Roget, N., Padilla, M., Kohlenberg, B. S., Fischer, G., … Nicolis, R.
(2004). The impact of acceptance and commitment training and multicultural training on the
stigmatizing attitudes and professional burnout of substance abuse counselors. Behavior The-
Burnout in Athletes 17
Burnout – A Consequence of More Than Just Physical Stress
Athlete burnout is generally defined as a cognitive–affective syndrome comprised of emotional and physical exhaustion, a reduced sense of accomplishment, and sport devaluation. Emotional and physical exhaustion are characterized by the perceived depletion of emotional and physical resources resulting from training and/or competition – Burnout in Athletes
The prevalence of athlete burnout is difficult to establish, however estimates suggest that 1-11% of athletes may be affected by burnout symptoms, with 1-2% of athletes experiencing severe symptoms. Even more worryingly, it is believed to be on the rise. Athlete burnout is associated with many negative outcomes including a decrease in motivation, negative thoughts and emotion toward training, a reduction in performance and ultimately drop out.
What Causes Burnout?
Many, albeit small, daily hassles can contribute to the impairment of training adaptation, the development of overtraining syndrome, and ultimately burnout – Burnout in Athletes
The core component of athlete burnout is chronic stress. Athletes can experience 3 primary types of stressors which can lead to chronic stress
- psychological, and
It is important when evaluating athletes’ stressors that all 3 are respectively considered. Non-training stressors (e.g. psychosocial factors) have gradually received more attention in research with demanding life events (for example work/college stressors), financial issues and relationships all important considerations. Participation in sports is a source of great enjoyment for most athletes. However, intense demands can cause chronic stress, eventually leading to burnout.
Over the years a lot of research has gone into establishing the cause of burnout and today the three primary associations with burnout are:-
- Stress and pressure: Constant pressure to win, train and perform could lead to mental and physical exhaustion
- Entrapment: The athlete does not feel they are getting the rewards and level of enjoyment they expected
- Empowerment: This is the belief that sports have become too controlling of the athlete’s life
Signs and Symptoms of Burnout
A person who is burned out often experiences a depressed mood, a reduced sense of accomplishment, feelings of helplessness and a loss of motivation. They can withdraw from friends and colleagues and in some cases leave sports altogether – Burnout in competitive and elite athletes
In her article When enough is enough: uncovering warning signs of burnout in (elite) athletes, Johanna Belz outlines 10 symptoms that can help coaches an practitioners to identify athletes suffering from burnout.
- Is constantly tired and sleeps much more than usual
- Exhibits an increasing aversion towards the sport by showing a negative attitude in trainings
- Complains about not seeing any results of his/her hard work and is fighting “a losing battle”
- Seems to have lost all enjoyment for the sport and only trains and competes to please others or abide to a professional contract
- Is a “24-hour athlete” and does not seem to have any other interests or friends outside of the sport
- Exaggerates physical symptoms, feigns an injury or drags out the recovery process of an existing injury
- Exhibits mood swings and gets easily frustrated, aggressive or depressed
- Shows signs of disordered eating
- Cheats in trainings or withdraws altogether from certain training activities
- Has unrealistically high self-imposed performance goals and is extremely self-critical
Perfectionism in Sport
Perfectionism is a personality disposition characterized by striving for flawlessness and setting exceedingly high standards of performance accompanied by tendencies for overly critical evaluations of one’s behaviour – Perfectionism and maladjustment
It is well understood that athletes have varying capacities to deal with stress. Athletes who have a lower capacity may be predisposed to experience burnout symptoms. A personality trait that is consistently associated with burnout is perfectionism. Perfectionism can be divided into two subgroups:-
- Group A: Perfectionistic Strivings – A strive for perfection
- Group B: Perfectionistic Concerns – The concern about making mistakes, negative feelings and noting discrepancies between standards and performances and concern of external evaluation from others
A plethora of research (which have been grouped together in this meta-analysis) indicates that perfectionistic concerns are associated with higher levels of burnout, and perfectionistic strivings are associated with lower levels.
The Integrated Model of Athlete Burnout
Many models of burnout have been suggested to explain the burnout phenomenon. In 2011, Gustafsson and colleagues suggested a model to integrate several burnout models and integrate a conceptual framework to provide a better understanding of athlete burnout. The model includes antecedents, early signs, consequences, and factors influencing the burnout process (personality, coping capacity and environmental factors).
Measuring burnout is a difficult task due to the multi-faceted, complex nature of the considerations involved. The Athlete Burnout Questionnaire (ABQ) is a measure of athlete burnout and is recommended by a 2018 review on Burnout in Athletes as the ‘measure of choice’. The most recent version of the ABQ consists of 15 items measuring the dimensions of (a) physical/emotional exhaustion, (b) reduced sense of accomplishment and (c) sports devaluation.
In the Usefulness of the Athlete Burnout Questionnaire (ABQ) the authors conclude that although the Athlete Burnout Questionnaire has advanced research in this area further debates about the most suitable way to assess burnout among elite athletes are urgently needed. Prevention is better than cure and monitoring of an athlete’s well-being is really important to help notice signs and issues before they become major problems.
Prevention and Treatment
In line with recommendations, it is firstly important to be aware of the various signs and symptoms associated with athlete burnout. If coaches and practitioners fail to understand these signs and symptoms, athletes experiencing burnout may go undetected. This can lead to some of the negative consequences of burnout already discussed. The use of athlete education to inform athletes on stress management and relaxation techniques has been shown to be effective in reducing/alleviating burnout. Stress management research shows that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy interventions effectively reduce stress. If signs/symptoms of burnout are being displayed by an athlete, it is important to be able to take action to address any issues. Some useful guidelines in how to deal with the situation particularly for younger athletes are:-
- Encourage the athlete to take some time off from the sport
- Educate your athletes on relaxation and stress management techniques
- Know your athletes – are you aware of any stressors they are experiencing? Tools like Metrifit can help you keep track of any issues that may affect your athletes well-being
- How is your athlete motivated to participate? Are they playing for themselves or because they feel under pressure to play?
- Help the athlete feel more involved in the decision making process in relation to their sport and help them find their place and value on the team
The Use of Metrifit To Indicate Athletes At-Risk of Burnout
It is imperative that coaches understand the sign and symptoms of burnout. Using athlete monitoring systems such as Metrifit, can help coaches and practitioners to detect athletes at risk of burnout. As a result, the negative consequences that can result from athlete burnout (which can ultimately result in athlete dropout) can be reduced. Practitioners can be proactive in assisting player health and well-being instead of reactive when they have the data at their fingertips.
Metrifit helps alert coaches to issues that might be factors in causing burnout. As a result, coaches are able to implement measures to ensure the athletes are not under too much stress, are encouraged to take breaks in order to keep mentally and physically fresh, while also ensuring that the sense of enjoyment remains. Day to day lifestyle stress has a major influence on athletic performance and overall well-being. Educating and empowering athletes to improve their lifestyle can pay huge dividends on the playing field. Metrifit’s new Lifestyle Profiling is akin to a ‘health check’ for your team. It provides invaluable insight into the well-being of your team with clear visuals that help you make informed decisions to prepare your athletes for optimal performance.
To find out more contact us at *protected email* or click on ‘Request Demo’ below.
REQUEST FREE DEMO
Follow us on social media where we post regular blogs related to sports, performance and well-being.
Burnout in Athletes
Athlete Burnout and the Risk of Dropout Among Young Elite Handball Players
A qualitative analysis of burnout in elite Swedish athletes
Burnout in competitive and elite athletes
When enough is enough: uncovering warning signs of burnout in (elite) athletes
Perfectionism and maladjustment: An overview of theoretical, definitional, and treatment issues
Multidimensional Perfectionism and Burnout: A Meta-Analysis
Athlete burnout: an integrated model and future research directions
Usefulness of the Athlete Burnout Questionnaire (ABQ)
“Gaelic football is an intermittent high-intensity collision-based field sport requiring high levels of endurance, strength, power, agility, and speed as well as proficiency with gaelic-related skills. These components comprise the training modalities used at the elite level and the monitoring of such a vast range of modalities is central to peak performance. The athlete monitoring tool Metrifit allows us to do this and can keep us one step ahead of our competitors.”
Sports Scientist, Kildare Football, PhD Sports Science Researcher
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Sports Scientist, Kildare Football, PhD Sports Science Researcher“Gaelic football is an intermittent high-intensity collision-based field sport requiring high levels of endurance, strength, power, agility, and speed as well as proficiency with gaelic-related skills. These components comprise the training modalities used at the elite level and the monitoring of such a vast range of modalities is central to peak performance. The athlete monitoring tool Metrifit allows us to do this and can keep us one step ahead of our competitors. “
“Metrifit is an integral part of the set up within the senior and intermediate inter-county Camogie. The data collected daily on the individual players is critical to the decision making of the backroom team including, managers, trainers, selectors, physiotherapist and indeed myself. As a nutritionist it allows me to monitor the quality of the player’s diet, energy levels, sleep pattern and overall wellbeing.”
Nutritionist, Wexford Camogie
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Nutritionist, Wexford Camogie“Metrifit is an integral part of the set up within the senior and intermediate inter-county Camogie. The data collected daily on the individual players is critical to the decision making of the backroom team including, managers, trainers, selectors, physiotherapist and indeed myself. As a nutritionist it allows me to monitor the quality of the player’s diet, energy levels, sleep pattern and overall wellbeing.”
“Metrifit has been instrumental in helping our international Managers, Coaches and Medical teams to identify players who require modifications in training loads or who are struggling with some aspect of their preparation for, or recovery from, training and matches. One of the big strengths of this technology is that it allows our Managers and Medical teams to monitor players both during international competition and outside of these times.”
Head of Fitness for International Football/Fitness Coach Men’s Senior Team
Football Association of Ireland
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Head of Fitness for International Football/Fitness Coach Men’s Senior Team
Football Association of Ireland
“The holistic approach of medical, physical, emotional and even tech/tactical; bringing together what we need to monitor and evaluate our University players. “If you can’t measure it – it doesn’t exist.” I know we were the first Canadian University to use the program and I know many more will be asking for it in the future! I highly recommend Metrifit.”
Tino Fusco, B.Sc. ChPC
Head Coach, Women’s Soccer, Mount Royal University (Canada)
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Tino Fusco, B.Sc. ChPC
Head Coach, Women’s Soccer, Mount Royal University (Canada)“The holistic approach of medical, physical, emotional and even tech/tactical; bringing together what we need to monitor and evaluate our University players. “If you can’t measure it – it doesn’t exist.” I know we were the first Canadian University to use the program and I know many more will be asking for it in the future! I highly recommend Metrifit.”
“Metrifit is an amazingly easy-to-use yet comprehensive monitoring tool for training and recovery! The elite athletes we work with are able track and monitor their situations and states daily, in order to maximize their performance loads and recovery practices. This also helps our coaches customize the training programs more effectively. I’d recommend this for any serious team / athlete or coach in wanting to bring out the very best in their long-term performances! “
Edgar K. Tham
Founder and Chief Sport & Performance Psychologist, SportPsych Consulting (Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines)
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Edgar K. Tham
Founder and Chief Sport & Performance Psychologist, SportPsych Consulting (Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines)“Metrifit is an amazingly easy-to-use yet comprehensive monitoring tool for training and recovery! The elite athletes we work with are able track and monitor their situations and states daily, in order to maximize their performance loads and recovery practices. This also helps our coaches customize the training programs more effectively. I’d recommend this for any serious team / athlete or coach in wanting to bring out the very best in their long-term performances! “
“What’s more impressive is the ability to utilize the basics but at the same time have the capability to explore detailed and intricate correlative data points that helps us as coaches gain the most from our athletes. Metrifit has also served as an easy communications hub to ensure essential information is passed to the appropriate team. We are excited to what the future from Metrifit will bring.”
CEO, Shift Performance, Miami
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
CEO, Shift Performance, Miami“What’s more impressive is the ability to utilize the basics but at the same time have the capability to explore detailed and intricate correlative data points that helps us as coaches gain the most from our athletes. Metrifit has also served as an easy communications hub to ensure essential information is passed to the appropriate team. We are excited to what the future from Metrifit will bring.”
“We have been using Metrifit for the past season at Cornish Pirates. It has been greatly beneficial for us to have our wellness and load management data on one easy to access system. We have found this invaluable over the past season whereby Coaches, Physios and Strength and conditioning coaches can monitor both the psychological and physiological load of our athletes on a daily basis. “
Head Physiotherapist, Cornish Pirates Rugby Club
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Head Physiotherapist, Cornish Pirates Rugby Club“We have been using Metrifit for the past season at Cornish Pirates. It has been greatly beneficial for us to have our wellness and load management data on one easy to access system. We have found this invaluable over the past season whereby Coaches, Physios and Strength and conditioning coaches can monitor both the psychological and physiological load of our athletes on a daily basis.”
“I wanted to reach out to thank Metrifit for an extremely successful season. Our Regis University women’s side won the ultra-competitive RMAC with a 11-0-1 record. Our student-athletes reported in post-season interviews the positive use of Metrifit that enabled their own reflection about their bodies and also found value providing information to coaches for our strategic planning purposes. On more than one occasion, we recognized deviations from norms and were able to step-in with a quick chat to help a player get back on track or refer her to the proper support personnel for further assistance. Fantastic! “
Head Coach, Women’s Soccer at Regis University
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Head Coach, Women’s Soccer at Regis University
“We have found metrifit to be a great tool to ensure we can monitor and adapt our athletes training loads regularly. This programme has ensured our coaches and staff can maximize all training and recovery to each individual needs on a day to day basis. It is user friendly and provides excellent visual data that can be viewed by both practitioners and athletes. With the help of Metrifit support team, we have personalized it to suit our specific sport and training needs. It’s a excellent athlete monitoring tool and is essential for assisting the team to perform at their best”
Team Manager and Athlete Support Services Coordinator at Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Team Manager and Athlete Support Services Coordinator at Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby“We have found metrifit to be a great tool to ensure we can monitor and adapt our athletes training loads regularly. This programme has ensured our coaches and staff can maximize all training and recovery to each individual needs on a day to day basis. It is user friendly and provides excellent visual data that can be viewed by both practitioners and athletes. With the help of Metrifit support team, we have personalized it to suit our specific sport and training needs. It’s a excellent athlete monitoring tool and is essential for assisting the team to perform at their best”
“The cutting edge technology of Metrifit enables Managers, Coaches and Players to use this innovative technology to gain these crucial percentage points over their opponents in a technologically advanced yet easy to use web-based platform. The data collated on a daily basis greatly informs Management Teams while the educational aspect of the system really appeals to modern day athletes who are constantly looking for that extra edge.”
Kildare Senior Football Manager
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Kildare Senior Football Manager“The cutting edge technology of Metrifit enables Managers, Coaches and Players to use this innovative technology to gain these crucial percentage points over their opponents in a technologically advanced yet easy to use web-based platform. The data collated on a daily basis greatly informs Management Teams while the educational aspect of the system really appeals to modern day athletes who are constantly looking for that extra edge.”
“Metrifit has allowed us to gain better insight on our athletes and their individual stress response to training and outside factors. This has helped us to make daily adjustments when necessary, to further enhance their development which has led to higher performance levels, faster recovery, and a reduction in injuries. The new lifestyle profiling survey has been an invaluable insight into the lifestyle habits of my athletes and has helped focus on key areas that can be improved, benefiting athletes on their performance journey.“
Assistant S&C Coach, Tulane University
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Assistant S&C Coach, Tulane University“Metrifit has allowed us to gain better insight on our athletes and their individual stress response to training and outside factors. This has helped us to make daily adjustments when necessary, to further enhance their development which has led to higher performance levels, faster recovery, and a reduction in injuries. The new lifestyle profiling survey has been an invaluable insight into the lifestyle habits of my athletes and has helped focus on key areas that can be improved, benefiting athletes on their performance journey.“
“The ability to acutely monitor stress and recovery and make the correct adjustments was critical to our health and performance throughout the NCAA tournament. Metrifit has a very strong educational component. With the information we get, I am able to clearly understand the habits and behaviors of our athletes, and how they may be impacting performance.”
Director of Strength & Conditioning and Head Strength Coach Men’s basketball, University of Wisconsin
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Director of Strength & Conditioning and Head Strength Coach Men’s basketball, University of Wisconsin“The ability to acutely monitor stress and recovery and make the correct adjustments was critical to our health and performance throughout the NCAA tournament. Metrifit has a very strong educational component. With the information we get, I am able to clearly understand the habits and behaviors of our athletes, and how they may be impacting performance.”
“Metrifit has been a great asset in helping guide the numerous decisions we make on a daily basis, that have a direct impact on our athletes well-being and progress. The platform is extremely user friendly and the reports and analytics that reflect the data collected daily, can be catered to what you are most specifically curious to know about the athletes both individually and collectively”
Head Coach, LMU Lions, Loyola Marymount University
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Head Coach, LMU Lions, Loyola Marymount University“Metrifit has been a great asset in helping guide the numerous decisions we make on a daily basis, that have a direct impact on our athletes well-being and progress. The platform is extremely user friendly and the reports and analytics that reflect the data collected daily, can be catered to what you are most specifically curious to know about the athletes both individually and collectively”
“Metrifit has enabled us to bring to life the complexiities associated with managing the academic, pastoral and sporting demands of pupils aged 13 – 18 in a UK day and boarding school environment It has provided another bridge between coaches and sports pupis, giving pupils a space to provide honest self reflection on wellbeing and providing coaches a head start on appropriate freshness and fatigue balance across the school week.”
Athletic Development Coach, MSc ASCC
Millfield School, UK
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Athletic Development Coach, MSc ASCC
Millfield School, UK
“The Metrifit RTP platform is an excellent tool to monitor, evaluate and make the right decisions for your athlete’s well being and performance. It enables coaches and athletes to track and sift through all the variables that underpin well being and performance on a day to day basis and to address an issue or potential issue in real time. A simply wonderful product.”
Dr. Dale Richardson
CEO Achieve Total Performance Pty Ltd
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Dr. Dale Richardson
CEO Achieve Total Performance Pty Ltd“The Metrifit RTP platform is an excellent tool to monitor, evaluate and make the right decisions for your athlete’s well being and performance. It enables coaches and athletes to track and sift through all the variables that underpin well being and performance on a day to day basis and to address an issue or potential issue in real time. A simply wonderful product.”
“I have been using Metrifit for the past number of years and I have found it to be an excellent piece of software. It is extremely easy to use and has proved very beneficial in preparing myself for competition. The ability to view my health and wellbeing stats everyday and see how this influences my performance in both practice and competition has been very helpful. I have been able to put more effort into key areas such as fluid intake, sleep and balanced golf practice and training. Having the ability to view my detailed stats helps me to understand exactly where I am and how I need to adjust my training or health choices. I have found using Metrifit this past year has been a crucial help for me to play well. As I now have turned 50 I am playing on The Champions tour in the USA and have played well during my first year. Metrifit has been as important as my golf equipment in achieving that success.”
Robert Karlsson, Professional Golfer
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Robert Karlsson, Professional Golfer“I have been using Metrifit for the past number of years and I have found it to be an excellent piece of software. It is extremely easy to use and has proved very beneficial in preparing myself for competition. The ability to view my health and wellbeing stats everyday and see how this influences my performance in both practice and competition has been very helpful. I have been able to put more effort into key areas such as fluid intake, sleep and balanced golf practice and training. Having the ability to view my detailed stats helps me to understand exactly where I am and how I need to adjust my training or health choices. I have found using Metrifit this past year has been a crucial help for me to play well. As I now have turned 50 I am playing on The Champions tour in the USA and have played well during my first year. Metrifit has been as important as my golf equipment in achieving that success.”
“As a school that cannot spend large amounts of money on athlete monitoring, Metrifit has provided us with a great tool for monitoring stress and athlete readiness at a great rate. Being athlete driven, we’re able to get buy-in from the athlete, and drive individual or team wide conversations regarding lifestyle and performance education in the direction needed. Seeing acute and chronic stress on a real-time basis has greatly improved the way we schedule workouts and arrange travel during the season.”
Strength & Conditioning Coach, Valparaiso University
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Strength & Conditioning Coach, Valparaiso University“As a school that cannot spend large amounts of money on athlete monitoring, Metrifit has provided us with a great tool for monitoring stress and athlete readiness at a great rate. Being athlete driven, we’re able to get buy-in from the athlete, and drive individual or team wide conversations regarding lifestyle and performance education in the direction needed. Seeing acute and chronic stress on a real-time basis has greatly improved the way we schedule workouts and arrange travel during the season.”
“Metrifit provides immediate insight and feedback on the physical and mental states of the student-athletes. It allows us to adjust practices and training sessions to accurately meet needs. We have been able to identify potential injury concerns, track current injury status and monitor return to play progress.”
Head Volley Ball Coach, Southern Illinois University
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Head Volley Ball Coach, Southern Illinois University“Metrifit provides immediate insight and feedback on the physical and mental states of the student-athletes. It allows us to adjust practices and training sessions to accurately meet needs. We have been able to identify potential injury concerns, track current injury status and monitor return to play progress.”
“When our players have been only training with the national team Metrifit allows me to liaise very closely with our conditioning coaches to manage load and intensity of training during training camps. I recommend it to anyone who wants an easy to use monitoring system.”
Head Coach, Irish Hockey
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Head Coach, Irish Hockey“When our players have been only training with the national team Metrifit allows me to liaise very closely with our conditioning coaches to manage load and intensity of training during training camps. I recommend it to anyone who wants an easy to use monitoring system.”
“Metrifit has been hugely beneficial in supporting our coaches and back room staff to track and monitor our players training loads, performance and readiness to train. Having a one-stop shop for collating all relevant information across a holistic picture of the player allows us to help prevent burnout, injury and provide timely feedback and communication to all.”
Kerry Senior Football, Manager
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Kerry Senior Football, Manager“Metrifit has been hugely beneficial in supporting our coaches and back room staff to track and monitor our players training loads, performance and readiness to train. Having a one-stop shop for collating all relevant information across a holistic picture of the player allows us to help prevent burnout, injury and provide timely feedback and communication to all.”
“Metrifit has been used to gain a more in-depth insight into our student-athlete’s progressive athletic development and balance relative to their particular sporting and training activities, academic studies and total load. Metrifit doesn’t just help with optimising our Sports Scholarship students’ athletic performance. It assists us in helping them get the balance right between their sporting activities and academic studies.”
Lincoln University Athletic Performance Manager
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Lincoln University Athletic Performance Manager“Metrifit has been used to gain a more in-depth insight into our student-athlete’s progressive athletic development and balance relative to their particular sporting and training activities, academic studies and total load. Metrifit doesn’t just help with optimising our Sports Scholarship students’ athletic performance. It assists us in helping them get the balance right between their sporting activities and academic studies.”
“Metrifit has provided me with an opportunity to get to know and understand our players on a different level. I’ve found our conversations to be more intentional, which has been so important in developing deeper, more authentic relationships. Ultimately, understanding their needs has allowed me to push buttons that leads them to be better people and inspires them to be better athletes”
Head Basketball Coach, Carmel High School
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Head Basketball Coach, Carmel High School“Metrifit has provided me with an opportunity to get to know and understand our players on a different level. I’ve found our conversations to be more intentional, which has been so important in developing deeper, more authentic relationships. Ultimately, understanding their needs has allowed me to push buttons that leads them to be better people and inspires them to be better athletes”
“Metrifit is an outstanding platform to track your athletes’ wellness. It’s simple to use, easy to implement and gives outstanding information on your athlete’s subjective wellness which can be used to assign training loads. I highly recommend Metrifit for any coach looking to begin implementing technology into their program”
Quinnipiac University, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Quinnipiac University, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach“Metrifit is an outstanding platform to track your athletes’ wellness. It’s simple to use, easy to implement and gives outstanding information on your athlete’s subjective wellness which can be used to assign training loads. I highly recommend Metrifit for any coach looking to begin implementing technology into their program”
“The success of young athletes using Metrifit was an interesting challenge in the Elite Soccer space… After six months of learning, creating habit with teenagers the project is a huge success…. 90% completion rate has allowed us deal with all the key KPI’s that are needed in their development. In our space with developing athletes…Metrifit is a godsend and is the most important tool in this space.”
Academy Directory, SJ.B (St. Joseph’s Bray ) Academy
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Academy Directory, SJ.B (St. Joseph’s Bray ) Academy“The success of young athletes using Metrifit was an interesting challenge in the Elite Soccer space… After six months of learning, creating habit with teenagers the project is a huge success…. 90% completion rate has allowed us deal with all the key KPI’s that are needed in their development. In our space with developing athletes…Metrifit is a godsend and is the most important tool in this space.”
“When COVID altered college athletics as we knew it, Metrifit came to the rescue. This intuitive athlete monitoring, health and well-being system provides the athlete, coach, and sports medicine staff a way to monitor and balance the physical, emotional, health and well-being of our athlete’s. Metrifit provided that calm in the middle of the perfect storm for our entire athletic department for the future. Thank you to the entire Metrifit family for assisting our department with a seamless process.”
Head Athletic Trainer, Colorado School of Mines
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Head Athletic Trainer, Colorado School of Mines“When COVID altered college athletics as we knew it, Metrifit came to the rescue. This intuitive athlete monitoring, health and well-being system provides the athlete, coach, and sports medicine staff a way to monitor and balance the physical, emotional, health and well-being of our athlete’s. Metrifit provided that calm in the middle of the perfect storm for our entire athletic department for the future. Thank you to the entire Metrifit family for assisting our department with a seamless process.”
“The visualisation of data allows for easy discussion between athletes, performance staff and medical teams and offers the potential to predict and avoid issues which could hamper performance. Over the year the data has proven instrumental in our critical decision making. Metrifit is a excellent monitoring tool however the unsung additional aspect is the fantastic and tireless customer support.”
Nederlandse Ski Vereniging (Netherlands Ski/Snowboard Team)
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Nederlandse Ski Vereniging (Netherlands Ski/Snowboard Team)“The visualisation of data allows for easy discussion between athletes, performance staff and medical teams and offers the potential to predict and avoid issues which could hamper performance. Over the year the data has proven instrumental in our critical decision making. Metrifit is a excellent monitoring tool however the unsung additional aspect is the fantastic and tireless customer support.”
“I’ve found Metrifit an invaluable resource. Not only to monitor daily wellness, readiness to train and training load within the squad, but also to monitor training load externally with additional external squads. Furthermore, Metrifit has acted as a key teaching tool, allowing young athletes associate good sleeping, eating and recovery habits to an improved sense of wellness and thus superior on-field performance.”
Strength and Conditioning Coach at DCU Sport and with Dublin Minor GAA
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Strength and Conditioning Coach at DCU Sport and with Dublin Minor GAA“I’ve found Metrifit an invaluable resource. Not only to monitor daily wellness, readiness to train and training load within the squad, but also to monitor training load externally with additional external squads. Furthermore, Metrifit has acted as a key teaching tool, allowing young athletes associate good sleeping, eating and recovery habits to an improved sense of wellness and thus superior on-field performance.”
“We started using Metrifit to see if it gave us better predictability and allowed easier monitoring than our DIY excel sheets prior to the Tokyo qualifiers. In a sport where measuring training load is very difficult, Metrifit filled a huge gap in our ability to monitor our athletes’ performance state and recovery. After some months of collecting data I was able to clearly see when to back off and when to keep going with different aspects of the training programme, as well as when to provide extra care and support for our elite athlete – and without a doubt it is much more informative and sensitive than our DIY model, not to mention much easier! Looking forward to the next Olympic cycle with Metrifit as one of our essential tools.”
Emma Hawke, PhD Exercise Physiology
Coach – Sweden Climbing, Olympic Offensive – Female Coach Swedish Olympic Committee, Senior Lecturer – Coach education programme (Sweden)
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Emma Hawke, PhD Exercise Physiology
Coach – Sweden Climbing, Olympic Offensive – Female Coach Swedish Olympic Committee, Senior Lecturer – Coach education programme (Sweden)“We started using Metrifit to see if it gave us better predictability and allowed easier monitoring than our DIY excel sheets prior to the Tokyo qualifiers. In a sport where measuring training load is very difficult, Metrifit filled a huge gap in our ability to monitor our athletes’ performance state and recovery. After some months of collecting data I was able to clearly see when to back off and when to keep going with different aspects of the training programme, as well as when to provide extra care and support for our elite athlete – and without a doubt it is much more informative and sensitive than our DIY model, not to mention much easier! Looking forward to the next Olympic cycle with Metrifit as one of our essential tools.”
“Metrifit has become a multifactorial platform that has helped up us provide deeper context to the decisions that we make on a daily basis in regards to the physical development of our student-athletes. We have intimately been utilizing both the subjective wellness questionnaire along with player training load data to drive professional conversation and actionable tasks to enhance the sporting results and quality of life for our student-athletes with unparalleled success.”
Associate Director of Strength & Conditioning
Director of Olympic Strength & Conditioning
University of Wisconsin
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Associate Director of Strength & Conditioning
Director of Olympic Strength & Conditioning
University of Wisconsin
“Our coaches through Metrifit basically have an ‘X-ray’ vision into the habits and lifestyles and stressors their athletes have on a day to day basis, especially when they are not together. Thus the professional authentic relationships created through the casual conversations, reflection process and application provided is priceless.”
Head Strength and Conditioning Co-ordinator,Noblesville High School
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
Head Strength and Conditioning Co-ordinator,Noblesville High School“Our coaches through Metrifit basically have an ‘X-ray’ vision into the habits and lifestyles and stressors their athletes have on a day to day basis, especially when they are not together. Thus the professional authentic relationships created through the casual conversations, reflection process and application provided is priceless.”
“While working with the Clare Senior Hurling team (2012-2014), Horse Sport Ireland (U25 European Eventing Champions) and currently with the Limerick Senior Hurling Team, Metrifit provides our team with critical information across a number of essential aspects of elite athletic performance. You don’t really know how your players are responding to training stimuli unless you have daily data and Metrifit provides and easy to use and highly effective means of finding this critical information.”
NISUS Fitness, S&C Coach Clare Senior Hurling, Horse Sport Ireland and Limerick Senior Hurling
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
NISUS Fitness, S&C Coach Clare Senior Hurling, Horse Sport Ireland and Limerick Senior Hurling“While working with the Clare Senior Hurling team (2012-2014), Horse Sport Ireland (U25 European Eventing Champions) and currently with the Limerick Senior Hurling Team, Metrifit provides our team with critical information across a number of essential aspects of elite athletic performance. You don’t really know how your players are responding to training stimuli unless you have daily data and Metrifit provides and easy to use and highly effective means of finding this critical information.”
Metrifit Athlete Monitoring System
How to Handle Burnout in Youth Sports – Uplifter Inc.
Burnout in youth sports isn’t something that parents anticipate. But a strong passion and ambition can lead to burnout in kids when left unchecked. Ambition is a great characteristic in children, and it’s common among high achievers. However, like most things in life, ambition in athletics needs to be balanced with family, friends and other interests.
As many athletes resume their training, it’s important to keep athlete burnout in mind. Competitive athletes know that they’ve missed out on months of training and competition. However, attempting to create a jam-packed training schedule to make up for lost time can cause injury and lead to burnout in kids.
Read on to learn how you can spot the signs of burnout and help prevent burnout in youth sports.
Athlete burnout definition
Athletic burnout is a prolonged state of intense mental and physical fatigue brought on by chronic stress.
Burnout in youth sports can be manifested in many different ways. Some athletes may feel more physical effects while others may find themselves mentally drained with little visible affect on their athletic performance.
Personality Traits That Can Lead to Burnout
In their book, Best Practice for Youth Sport (as referenced by Alpine Ontario), Robin Vealey and Melissa Chase outline specific personality traits that put athletes at risk of developing athlete burnout.
According to Vealey and Chase, these traits include: weak coping skills, negative perfectionism, trait anxiety, obsessive passion, and unidimensional identity. Understanding these personality traits can help parents, coaches and clubs identify potential issues before they start.
A Note on Unidimensional identity: As we’ve previously discussed, the act of playing multiple sports can provide a simple way for athletes to develop a multidimensional view of themselves. See our blog about playing multiple sports to learn more.
What Are the Risk Factors for Burnout in Youth Sports?
Burnout in youth sports can be brought on by a myriad of environmental or habitual factors. But there are some factors that present greater risks than others. These include but are not limited to:
- Playing only one sport for more than 8 months of the year
- Large increases in the amount of time spent training
- Unreasonably high expectations of success
- High anxiety
- Low self-esteem
- Pressure from parents, coaches and peers
Not every child that experiences one or more of these pressures will experience burnout. However, knowing these risk factors can help parents, coaches and peers support the athletes they care about.
Spotting Burnout in Kids
The first signs of burnout may appear as a lack of energy during athletic performance. The athlete’s performance may seem mediocre or even clumsy. From the athlete’s perspective, Dr. Keith Kaufman, a sports psychologist, tells the Washington Post that, “you may see staleness, you might see overtraining, but you feel like you can’t stop. That’s where you see burnout really taking hold.” Kaufman suggests that burnout can come with a momentum that’s hard to stop. This momentum may be driven by all of the work the athlete has already put in and their external pressures.
On the subject of external pressures Kaufman told the Washington Post, that medals and scholarships can become the focus of sport. When this happens, “[sport] becomes an obligatory task and chore, and that changes everything.” So how do parents, coaches, clubs, and athletes avoid turning something that was once fun into a chore?
Preventing Burnout in Youth Sports
Preventing burnout in youth sports is about resisting the temptation to overtrain. That’s not a simple feat in today’s social media saturated world where youth can easily spend an hour consuming photos and videos of other athletes around the world showing off their skills. But the payoff of avoiding overtraining is long-term.
Those kids who do not overtrain are much less likely to develop overuse injuries. This means they can enjoy their favourite sport for longer. For those athletes who are at the very pinnacle of their sport, it also means they have a better shot at turning pro.
Dr. Mininder S. Kocher, pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Children’s Hospital Boston, told the New York Times that, “children who grow up in the northern United States are more likely to become major league baseball players than kids from the South because they can’t play their sport year-round and are less likely to be injured.” You read that correctly. If the option to overtrain is removed the chances of excellence become greater.
But aside from those very few athletes at the top of their sport, by preventing overtraining athletes can increase the likelihood that they’ll play their favourite sport into their adult years.
According to the same New York Times article, “Children who specialize in one sport early in life were found to be the first to quit their sport and ended up having higher inactivity rates as an adult.” In turn, when youth pace themselves in sport they increase their potential for lifelong enjoyment and lifelong benefits of physical activity.
Simple Strategies to Prevent Burnout in Youth Sports:
- Play multiple sports, alternating from one sport to another as traditional sports seasons change
- Schedule rest days
- Schedule periods of play (fun skills) to relieve pressure and ensure athletes are having fun
- Take full breaks from sports to enjoy unstructured play
- Continually fuel the body with healthy meals
How much rest does an athlete need to prevent burnout? Of course, that depends on each child’s unique needs. Data shared from Dr. Kocher would suggest that if baseball players in the northern United States excel in baseball because they cannot play in winter then perhaps athletes will thrive with approximately 4 or 5 months off from their sport.
As a second point of reference, the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago recommends a rule of thumb that athletes should at least allow a couple weeks rest from training and competition every three months in order to prevent burnout in youth sports.
What Happens when Athletes Spend Time Away from Sport?
The aim of spending time away from sport is to allow children to stay well rounded. As the National Athletic Trainers’ Association says, “being away from the demands of their sport, even for a short period several times a year, provides an athlete with an opportunity to attend to their schoolwork and relationships that are necessary to leading a more rounded life that leads to enhanced motivation once they return to sport.” When kids have time away they are able to round-out their identities. This development or maintenance of important aspects of their identities such as school, relationships, hobbies and interests, allows children to cope with the ups and downs of their sport and rebound with motivation.
Spotting Athlete Burnout Symptoms
Athlete burnout symptoms can be both physical and mental, which means that spotting burnout can be difficult. Below is a short bulleted list of some of the physical and mental health symptoms of athletes experiencing burnout.
Physical Symptoms include but are not limited to:
- A sudden drop in athletic performance
- Illness due to a suppressed immune system
- Reduced strength and power
- Physical fatigue
- Prolonged, drawn out recovery from an injury
Mental Health Symptoms include but are not limited to:
- Feeling trapped by sporting commitments made to teammates, coaches and even parents.
- Feeling disinterested in sport, and voicing that disinterest
- Emotionally overwhelmed and irritable
- Feeling anxiety about high expectations
- Experiencing depression after failing to meet those competitive expectations
- Low self-esteem and recurring negative self-talk
- Mental fatigue or fog
Athlete Burnout Recovery
If an athlete is experiencing burnout there is no magic pill to make it go away. Instead, the only treatment for burnout is rest. With proper rest, the athlete can reconnect with other friends, family and peers.
Time away from sport provides athletes with the ability to invest time in everything they’ve been missing out on.
As a result, this time away from sport gives them the opportunity to remember why they enjoy it and develop their own intrinsic motivation to play again.
Summary: It’s All About Rest
When children have the proper rest it allows their mind and bodies to recover from playing sport. Whether several months long, or a couple weeks, rest grants young athletes the ability to maintain a multidimensional identity of themselves. This well rounded identity can help athletes manage the ups and downs of sport and rebound with motivation.
When athletes can avoid burnout they’ll avoid seeing their sport as a chore. This helps them maintain their intrinsic motivation and increase the chances of staying in sport. And when young athletes stay in sport they stay on the path of life long health!
If you liked this article, consider reading our blog on how to create a fun and positive sports environment for youth. If you’re a sports coach, administrator or club owner in need of sports club management software, consider checking out our free club management software today.
Burnout In Youth Athletes: Risk Factors, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment
While geared to sports medicine professionals, the 2014 position statement from the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (DiFiori JP, et al.) provides helpful guidance to sports parents on the causes, risk factors, diagnosis, and treatment of burnout in youth athletes.
Burnout is considered a response by a young athlete to chronic stress in which he or she ceases to participate in a previously enjoyable activity, withdrawing from the sport because they perceive it is not possible to meet the physical and psychological demands of the sport.
Burnout is considered by experts to be part of a spectrum of conditions that includes overreaching and overtraining syndrome.
Overreaching may either be functional or nonfunctional:
- Functional overreaching is defined as intense training that leads to a period of decreased performance which results in full recovery after a rest period.
- Non-functional overreaching results in a longer period of decreased performance, and is further accompanied by increased psychological and/or neuroendocrinological symptoms, but, like functional overreaching, results in full recovery after a period of rest.
Overtraining syndrome is a series of psychological, physiologic, and hormonal changes that result in decreased sports performance. It is characterized by:
- extreme non-functional overreaching, with a longer period of decreased performance lasting 2 months or more
- more severe symptomatology
- maladaptive physiology, and
- an additonal stressor not explained by other disease.
Although it is difficult to determine the extent of overtraining/burnout in children and adolescents, due in part to the lack of standard terminology used in different studies, it is believed to occur in about 30% to 35% of adolescent athletes.
Four stages of burnout have been proposed:
1. the young athlete is placed in a situation that involves varying demands
2. the demands are viewed as excessive
3. the young athlete experiences varying physiological responses; and
4. varying burnout consequences develop, including
- low self-esteem
- low personal performance expectation
- worrying more about failure and adult expectations
- increased anxiety as a result of increased parental pressure to participate
- excessive athletic stress leading to a loss of sleep, physical injury, lower performance, and
- ultimately withdrawal from sport.
Not all youth athletes who drop out are burned out. Youth sports attrition is a complex phenomenon influenced by a variety of personal and situational variables. The most common variables are:
- time conflicts and interest with other activities (most common reason for dropping out of sport, either permanently or temporarily)
- lack of playing time
- lack of success
- lack of skill improvement
- lack of fun
- boredom; and
There are multiple risk factors for young athletes developing overtraining/burnout:
- Extremely high training volumes
- Extremely high time demands
- Demanding performance expectations (imposed by self or significant others)
- Frequent intense competition
- Inconsistent coaching practices
- Personal characteristics
- Need to pleases others
- Uni-dimensional self-conceptualization (focusing only on one’s athletic involvement)
- Low self-esteem
- High perception of stress (high anxiety)
- Early specialization:
- several studies have suggested that athletes who had early specialized training withdrew from their sport either due to injury or burnout.
- A study of swimmers found that those who specialized early spent less time on the national team and retired earlier than those who specialized later
- Early specialization also seems to be correlated with reports of decreased general health and psychological well-being.
To defeat professional burnout, you should arm yourself with all available means. In previous articles, we have already talked about the specifics of emotional burnout of teachers and shared tips for teachers to deal with this problem. Now we will talk about the most interesting and effective methods of reducing stress levels that are used by representatives of different professions to avoid burnout syndrome.
What do coaches say?
Coaches are the most practical solution to burnout problems. Many corporations specifically hire these specialists to provide various training courses to help prevent burnout among workers. Here are some rules that coaches suggest using that are universal for all professions.
The first rule is to organize your own time wisely, plan your day in advance.Set aside proper time for sleep, put your gadgets aside an hour before, and don’t watch TV. This will take a break from the constant flow of information. Try to find time to exercise in the morning, and also set aside two to three hours a week for any sport. It has been proven that dosed exercise helps to reboot by stimulating the production of the “hormone of joy” – endorphin.
The second rule is – guard your personal boundaries. Overwork is an integral part of many professions, but it is they that most often provoke fatigue, irritation, anger, bad mood and even panic attacks, which means they become factors of emotional burnout.In order to correctly refuse the boss, who once again asks you to take on additional tasks, psychologists recommend not to say “I don’t have time for this,” but to think over a reasoned answer and tell what other important issues you are currently working on. Another aspect is communication with colleagues. Coaches are encouraged to raise sensitive issues with co-workers before they escalate into open conflict. Analyze your position and the concessions you are ready to make in advance.This will help to keep the defense and not take the position of “victim”.
The third rule – do not scold yourself for not having time to do everything planned for the day, did not begin to stay late at work or made some kind of mistake. Instead, think about the importance and uniqueness of the profession. Praise yourself for even small victories. It will also be an excellent prevention of professional burnout. After all, the cause of stress is often an unreasonably high bar that we set ourselves.
Instant help to oneself
If you feel that you cannot calm down, then you can apply simple methods of quick relaxation to avoid emotional burnout:
1. Progressive muscle relaxation. For 10 seconds, strain all the muscles, and for the next 20 seconds, concentrate on the relaxation that has come.
2. Quickly stop the flow of negative thoughts if it overtakes you outside of working hours. Clap your hands or pinch your hand, saying, “I’ll think about it tomorrow at 9.00 to 10.00 “. This technique will help you switch to other things and not concentrate on bad thoughts for a long time.
3. Art therapy. Draw on A4 paper the problems that are bothering you now, and then crush or tear the sheet and throw it away. Another option: paint your problems in the form of small funny creatures.
The perfect weekend
Recuperation requires planning your day wisely. The weekend won’t fly by too quickly, and you can fully relax if you figure out in advance what to do on non-working days.Here are some tips to help keep your weekend busy.
- Nice weekend starts on Friday night. Better to devote this time to a calm event that will help distract from work thoughts. By the way, psychologists advise turning on quiet music at home more often. It helps create the right mood.
- Disable the alarm. If you want to get up early, change the ringtone melody. Getting up should not be associated with work.
- Allocating enough time for breakfast, lunch and dinner is an important factor in dealing with stress.In addition, breakfast is the perfect moment to think in advance how to diversify the coming weekdays and what the next weekend will be like.
- Plan your day to find time to exercise and take a walk in the fresh air.
- Another classic method of dealing with stress is cooking. Try to come up with a new dish or cook something that you have wanted for a long time, but did not have enough time.
How are doctors doing?
Medical workers at work are exposed to serious emotional stress on a daily basis, which is in many ways similar to that experienced by teachers.Both professions are “helping”, which means they require a lot of resources. They involve constant interaction with people, great responsibility, a lot of “paper” work, an ever-growing workload, as well as the need to be as focused as possible every minute. These ingredients are the perfect recipe for fast professional burnout.
The first thing doctors have to learn is the art of creating emotional distance between persistent stressors and their own nervous system.The main principle is to plan the day and clearly divide the time into work and non-work. Try to determine the hours at which, being at home, you will definitely not be doing work, and most importantly, you will not think about it.
Second – avoiding internal competition . Competition with peers is a serious burnout factor. In a large team, it is better to compare yourself not with others, but with yourself in the past. This will help you develop the skills necessary for professional growth more productively.
Third principle – use of timeouts . The work of doctors requires constant involvement. When a GP goes on vacation, both the boss and the patients suffer. However, it is a must for maintaining emotional balance.
How do athletes cope?
Professional athletes are regularly exposed to very serious stress: they work to the point of wear and tear on the brink of human capabilities. In this case, it is no longer a matter of burnout syndrome, but rather of preserving the physical health and life of an athlete.Therefore, in sports, an exclusively scientific approach is used, and the whole life of athletes is subject to strict rules that determine the routine of all activities: nutrition, rest and even intimate relationships. In addition, the psychological state of the athlete is under constant control. All of this is aimed at training as efficiently as possible and also recovering effectively. Here are some techniques you can learn from athletes that will definitely help prevent burnout:
1.Setting short-term training goals. Achieving a small goal is a great motivation that gives strength for the long term. This is a kind of constant feedback, indicating that the athlete is on the right track. After all, another factor in emotional burnout is self-doubt and lack of visible results.
2. Control of sequential emotions. To avoid professional burnout, psychologists recommend athletes to listen to their emotions throughout the entire competitive cycle: before the competition, during and after the competition.This allows you not to lose internal control, and also not to accumulate negative thoughts that turn into background stress.
3. Compensation. After a period of activity, the body must fully recover its energy. Most athletes train on this principle: the longer the period of activity, which is an important factor in emotional burnout, has been, the longer the compensation period should be. The principle of alternating periods of activity and rest to obtain maximum results in competitions was developed in ancient Greece for training athletes.
Any of these methods can be used to prevent burnout in teachers and other professions. The main thing is to listen to yourself more often, evaluate the emotional background and work ahead of the curve.
In October, a free course on the prevention of teacher burnout was launched. The course is aimed at forming the teacher’s most accurate idea of the teacher’s emotional burnout, its factors, causes and methods of prevention. As a result, the teacher will be able to look at himself and his work a little differently, find solutions where there were only questions before.For details, follow the link.
Burnout – Sports PsychologyRivalry in major competitions among high-level athletes physical, tactical, technical training increases mental tension and the contribution of psychological factors to the achievement of victory. Therefore, it is quite natural that the attention that is paid to the influence psychological factors on the achievements of athletes.
Related to this is the traditional focus of researchers on competitive stress and means of overcoming it, to the problem of athletes’ resistance to various sources of stress arising during the competition.Burnout syndrome is a process of gradual loss emotional, cognitive and physical energy, manifested in symptoms emotional, mental exhaustion, physical fatigue, personal detachment and reduced satisfaction with the performance of work.
It is considered as a result unsuccessfully resolved stress in the workplace. The article discusses diagnostic criteria, methods of prevention and therapy. In Russian sports psychology, mental burnout has become a subject studies are relatively recent, although the importance of his research is obvious.A large number of athletes leaves sports due to mental burnout, characterized by emotional and physical exhaustion, a diminished sense of achievement, and a devaluation of achievement.
Researchers note the presence of numerous sources of chronic mental stress in sports of higher achievements. Factors in the development of mental burnout are significant physical stress, emotional overload associated with active participation in competitions, the need for contact with rivals, judges, representatives mass media.
Mental burnout has been the subject of numerous theoretical and empirical research in foreign psychology. Limited scientific information about what psychological resources are overcoming mental burnout by athletes is in conflict with the need to take them into account in the practice of training athletes, which provides their realization of their capabilities and their sports longevity.
Found that psychological resources overcoming mental burnout in athletes, due to the specifics of sports activities, personal properties that determine the attitude to success and failure, assessment controllability of significant situations of sports activity and contributing constructive overcoming of emotional stress.
Questionnaires developed mental burnout in athletes, developed on the basis of the questionnaire C. Maslach, S. Jackson (T. Raedeke, A. Smith, 2001), coping strategies questionnaire developed by K. Kowalski, P. Crocker (K. Kowalski, P. Crocker, 2001), a short overtraining symptom questionnaire (Short Overtraining Symptoms Questionnaire).
These methods were used to study the manifestations of mental burnout in athletes of different genders, qualifications involved in various sports.The relationship between personality traits and emotional intelligence of athletes with indicators of mental burnout and preference strategies for coping with stress.
Proposed training programs aimed at developing personal resources overcoming mental burnout.
- Cresswell, S. L., & Eklund, R. C. (2006). The nature of player and burnout in sport. In M. Kellmann (Ed.), 25_35). Champaign, IL: Journal of Vocational Behavior and Psychological Inquiry, 11, 227_268.
- Gwodzik David, Ed.M. Psychological prevention services supporting athletes, coaches and organizations in professional sports – Triangular Model offered to clubs, management and cross-cultural athletes. 2009 Weltexpress – Maximilianstr. 3-4 – 13187 Berlin – Weltexpress (Englisch) ISSN 1865-2735.
- Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The ‘‘ what ’’ and ‘‘ why ’’ of goal burnout in rugby: Key characteristics and attributions. Journal of Human Kinetics.
- Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2002). Handbook of self-determination demands: The role of work self-determination and job control Enhancing recovery: Preventing underperformance in athletes (pp. 34-35).
- Frenet, C., Guay, F., & Sene’cal, C. (2004). Adjusting to job pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior research. New York: University of Rochester Press.
- Gould, D., & Dieffenbach, K. (2002). Overtraining, underrecovery, in predicting burnout. Journal of Applied Psychology, 18, 219_239.
To the site
Tennis player Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won the Olympic Games in the mixed category in 2021, excelled in the Billie Jean King Cup, reached the final of the French Open and finished the season in 11th place in the ranking of the Women’s Tennis Association. In an interview with TASS, the athlete shared her impressions of the “seal” vacation, talked about how she worried that she had let Maria Sharapova down in 2015, how she was afraid to return to Moscow, fearing rotten tomatoes, and how she coped with burnout and psychological problems.© Andrey Kartashov / TASS
– The year is coming to an end, how are you?
– New Year’s already. In fact, the mood is very good. I don’t know about non-athletes, but I get euphoric at the end of the season that all these routines are finally gone for a short time and there is time for myself – for rest and to do what I want. Therefore, the mood is very good.
– Tennis lovers follow you on social media and know that you recently visited the Maldives.So?
– Yes, and I really liked it.
– Wasn’t it boring? They say that there all the time you just drink juice, swim and lie like a “seal”.
On this topic
– I agree. I went for the first time, and, frankly, the short time I was there is what the doctor ordered. I was six days: the first three days, lying like a “seal” was just perfect and perfect. I flew in after Prague, and really I had neither emotions nor strength. In the Czech Republic, first of all, I emotionally completely emasculated – I gave everything that was, completely.
– Let’s remember a little about Prague. The Russian national team was not riding in the rank of favorite – it seemed that getting out of the group was already an achievement.
– When I went there, I got pretty sick. Immediately after the Kremlin Cup. For three days I lay with a temperature at home – nose, throat, everything. Immediately I ran to do a test for covid – now everyone is paranoid: as the slightest sign of a cold, then immediately covid. But, fortunately, nothing happened, although I flew to Prague partially ill. Then we started preparation and training, where I felt pretty comfortable.
The task was to leave the group at least. Although at a press conference we were told that we are even favorites, if you look at the rating. We are the tightest team – all the girls were in the top 50. Actually, the press had stakes on us. But I immediately said that you shouldn’t belittle either Canada or France. And so it happened – all the matches in the group were incredibly intense. I just know what it means to play for your country – there is an unrealistic adrenaline rush.
– In 2015, you were in the national team, which offensively lost to the Czech Republic team in the final of the Fed Cup in Prague.Some kind of accident happened to our team then.
– Yes, and the name of the accident is Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who did not score a single point. In fact, it was one of the brightest events in my career that I will never forget. Masha Sharapova was in incredible shape then. You have no idea how I felt afterwards. Masha won all her matches quite easily, and we only had to win one more match – no matter which one. And it so happened that no one played there, they always put me on, and I lost two singles and a decisive pair.We lost 2-3, and I was afraid even to return to Moscow. I thought I was going to leave the airport and they would shower me with rotten tomatoes. Although I gave everything, gave my soul, but, unfortunately, it didn’t work out. Plus, it’s also a shame that Masha was in unrealistic shape, although before that she somehow did not play for the national team very much.
Also, before that, two more finals had been lost offensively, and this was the third, I already thought that it was not my destiny to win the World Championship, the Federation Cup. Therefore, this time I was so emasculated emotionally – for me it was a very important victory.
– Sharapova’s fans have forgiven you now.
On this topic
– Thanks to them! Then I was somewhat uncomfortable in front of her. I sat in the locker room and cried, and she came up, consoled me, hugged me. And I think she forgave me. Now I’m calm.
– Everyone celebrates the incredible friendly atmosphere in our national teams, both women and men. You are an experienced national team player and can compare relationships within the team at different times.
– Yes, I can, and I often discussed this with the girls from the current team. This is some generation of them – 95–97 th year, they are all very friendly. Not only in our team – in general, everyone is on the tour.
I see how they communicate with each other and how friendly they are. I remember that I first came to the national team, it seems, in 2009, I was 17 years old, and it was completely different. It seemed to me that everyone hated me. Not like being friends – they barely said “hello” to each other. There used to be a very tense atmosphere in the team.Then, for some reason, many were arrogant very much – now there is no such thing. There are some specimens on the tour that behave differently, some are more inaccessible, but there aren’t any. Before – all the time.
– Now you can drive up to any tennis player on a lame goat.
– Yes, apparently, this will be the title.
– The Davis Cup men’s national team matches are ahead, will you follow?
– It’s a sin not to follow men’s tennis! Of course, I follow our guys too.I won’t lie, I don’t watch all the matches, but I do it when I have the opportunity. I will not fly to Madrid to support the guys, but I will follow. I think they have a great chance of winning. The last time Andrei [Rublev] and Karen [Khachanov] fought together practically for everyone – now such an army. All the mega-cool on their own won the ATP Cup in Australia earlier this year. The chances are very good, but due to the end of the year, it will be necessary to see who will be in what physical condition.
– Is tennis growing in popularity felt in Russia? Are you recognized more?
On this topic
– By the way, yes.I noticed that it pleasantly surprises me. Even in the Maldives, they recognized me, although I was wearing a cap and glasses. Now we found out in a taxi. I am pleased not even that they learn, but that people say about tennis, that they are in the subject and watch. It really warms my soul.
– Was the past season the most successful in your career?
– Shamil Tarpishchev said that you had big shoulder problems and were ready to give up everything. Were there really times when you didn’t want to continue playing tennis anymore, when you completely gave up?
– I’ve had several such situations in my career.Waves. Periods. I didn’t want to end my career because of my shoulder, although Shamil Anvyarovich correctly says that I had big problems. Simply put, I had a very serious burnout. Probably more because of this I wanted to give up everything.
And my shoulder has been bothering me since 2010, in 2011 there was an aggravation. I was tormented with a shoulder, more even when serving, no one could help, did not know what to do. I understand that my shoulder hurts – I cannot serve as I want. There were moments where I just didn’t serve, although I trained at full strength.And there were episodes when I couldn’t just raise my hand to take off my jacket. I can remember a lot of similar moments. And Shamil Anvyarovich played his role – he found a Chinese doctor in Moscow who helped me.
– This Chinese doctor has already become legendary – Tarpishchev often talks about him.
– Yes, yes! He’s some kind of magician. Two years ago, when we played against Italy in the Fed Cup, he helped me with a shoulder. But, besides this, there were difficult psychological moments, dark ones.
– The so-called mental issues are a problem that the West is taking very seriously now. How did you manage to get out, worked with a psychologist?
– Honestly, I mostly helped myself. Of course, there were professionals with whom I spoke. But I live by the same principle that I play on the court: when you play, a lot of people say what, but if you yourself do not understand what you are doing and how, then no one will help you. And here is the same thing. You can be guided, say some things, but you have to come to this yourself.
Isolation really helped me. I was alone a lot, isolated myself from people. I even left for a small town in Italy, sat there alone for ten days in the mountains.
Once I met a rugby player in England – he is a professional athlete, with similar problems, we often talked about this topic. He was just talking about isolation. Then I read a lot myself and, as it is fashionable to speak in English, healed myself – I healed myself. I myself do not like all these banal phrases, but in my situation it turned out that way.I somehow managed it myself. And there was a moment when I wanted to take a break in tennis, freeze the rating. Because what’s the point if I sometimes went as a tourist to tournaments, physically went to the court, but I was not there. And this was one of the most difficult periods in my life. It’s not about tennis or anything, but to find yourself.
– Michael Jordan also interrupted his career.
On this topic
– Well, I’m far from him. He switched to baseball and was good there too.I’m not that gifted. But I think these problems are normal [for athletes] and quite common.
– When you hid from everyone, were you completely alone, even without animals?
– Have you read books and watched films exclusively?
– Yes. Mostly psychological literature. There is a writer Ryan Holiday, and he wrote Obstacles Is the Way. This is one of the easy and instructive books that I liked.I don’t remember the films, but in general I tried to watch and read all that spiritual, so that it suddenly dawned on me, bam – and I’m normal: I want to do this, I want that. There was just a moment when I did not understand at all what I wanted to do.
– A very interesting story that says that even top tennis players have professional burnout.
– Of course. I had some kind of dead end. It’s just when you have been doing the same thing for a very long time since childhood, and then, perhaps, some expectations do not come true.And all these moments.
It seems to me that burnout happens for all people. You go to work and at some point you realize that something is not right, you hit the wall as if. You want something else, but you don’t know what. Or you think that it is necessary, on the contrary, to continue. In general, everyone wants to find a moment of some kind of happiness
– You look very happy now. Tell us about your plans for the next season.
– I will treat a knee that has been troubling me for over a year. There is an improvement there, but due to the large number of tournaments I simply did not have the opportunity to stop.I will train and prepare for the season in Dubai.
– The Australian Open is traditionally the first Grand Slam tournament in the calendar. They say that there will be strict vaccination of athletes.
– I am already ready, I have taken root.
– What has to happen in the next season without the Summer Olympics to make it better than this?
– Great helmet. There is a final, I want to win one of the tournaments – this is a dream! Get into the top 10 and try to climb higher and higher.The 11th line is – I want it higher.90,000 Overtraining and burnout syndrome in athletes. Pathophysiological and psychological aspects of prevention, diagnosis, treatment and psychophysical rehabilitation.
Overtraining and burnout syndrome in athletes. Pathophysiological and psychological aspects of prevention, diagnosis, treatment and psychophysical rehabilitation.
Man has always strived to improve his health, dreaming of increasing strength, agility and endurance.You can feel the reality of health only when you temporarily lose it. A physically and mentally healthy person, light, springy, full of energy, cheerful and cheerful. In the Ancient East, it was believed that every disease is the result of a perfect mistake. The patient was considered a criminal, he was worthy of charity, because he was poorly brought up and as a result fell ill. Everyone knows that nicotine, alcohol, laziness, inactivity, gluttony are all captivating killers, robbers of health.Health can (and should) be measured quantitatively, denoting a measure of the body’s reserves. A person is born to be happy, harmonious, healthy, beautiful and cheerful. All ideas about “health” and “ill health” are based on these ideas of a person about what is (anamnesis of the morbi), and about that “ideal”, which theoretically can become a program of psychophysical rehabilitation, which creates an “ideal self” for a given , specific period. At the same time, health needs careful protection throughout a person’s life.If a person himself does not love life, fight for his full physical and spiritual longevity, then no science and no recipes will help him. It is much easier and wiser to prevent, to prevent a disease than to repair a “spoiled” and “broken” human mechanism ”(ie, an organism). For thousands of years, physicians of the planet have proclaimed: “The task is not to heal, the task is to prevent. Troubled for preventive medicine! ”
The state of human health is ultimately determined by the amount and capacity of his adaptive reserves.The higher the functional reserve, the lower the “adaptation cost”. The adaptation of the organism to the new conditions of life is provided not by separate organs, but by specialized functional systems coordinated in time and space, subordinate to each other. A characteristic feature of the adapted system is the efficiency of functioning in order to maximize the economy of the body’s resources. The constant variability of the habitat determines the dynamism, continuity, versatility and plasticity of adaptive processes.In a living organism, nothing is fixed, the disintegration and synthesis of the substances that make up it are continuously going on. At the same time, resistance, stability, depend on the homeostatic adaptive mechanisms of the individual, his reserve capabilities, which determine the margin of safety, with the help of which the body counteracts extreme factors. The main component of the general adaptation mechanism is the mobilization of energy resources, plastic reserve and all the protective abilities of the body, aimed at its energy supply and preservation of normal life.In the adaptation mechanism, the increased formation of metabolites and hormones, as well as adaptive protein synthesis, are important. Due to this, the functional power of working cellular structures increases, which indicates a transition from urgent to stable, long-term adaptation. It should be emphasized that only such a form of adaptation is rational, which opens up opportunities for long-term adaptation to increasing loads and which reduces the possibility of failure of adaptation (27). Adaptation to extreme conditions (intensive training and competitive activity) is not unlimited and can lead to depletion of the functional system dominating in the adaptive response, and as a consequence to detraining – a decrease in the structural and functional reserve of the body.With a systematic effect of physical exercises (a certain effect on the body), their effect gradually weakens, and their connection with an increase in the stability of regulatory mechanisms, cellular structures, changes in the physicochemical properties of cells, an expansion of functional reserves and adaptive capabilities of the body. This phenomenon of the economization of physiological systems makes it possible to maintain the constancy of the internal environment of the body under the action of more and more pronounced stimuli, to respond to stimuli without pathological reactions, constantly expanding the functional reserves of the body.The motor load in sports must be dosed taking into account the individual sensitivity of the organism to it, the daily and seasonal rhythm, age characteristics, as well as climatogeographic and social factors. In particular, the constitutional characteristics of people are a reflection of human populations in specific climatic and geographic and social conditions of the environment. Two extreme adaptive constitutional types of a person can be distinguished: “sprinter” – high resistance to extreme factors (short time intervals) and poor tolerance to long-term loads; “Stayer” – high resistance to long-term extreme factors of moderate intensity (28).
Modern sport with its high psychophysical loads has achieved high achievements in pedagogical, methodological and medical approaches, making the training process highly effective and relatively safe for the athlete himself. For a number of reasons, currently there is a tendency for non-compliance with rational and scientifically based approaches in the training process, non-compliance with the training and rest regimen, low professional medical supervision, there are often cases of ignoring the recommendations of doctors both on the part of the athlete and on the part of the coach.The result is overtraining, with all the negative consequences arising from this state (both for the health of the athlete and for his sports performance). Overtraining is a pathological condition of an athlete’s body, the clinical picture of which is mainly determined by functional disorders in the central nervous system. Overtraining develops as a result of the accumulation of recurrent overwork. It is based on overstrain of excitatory, inhibitory processes (or their duration) in the cerebral cortex (1). This allows us to consider the pathogenesis of overtraining to be similar to the pathogenesis of neuroses (2). The main role in the pathogenesis of the disease is the endocrine system, and primarily the pituitary gland and adrenal cortex. So, in severe cases of overtraining, there is a decrease in the glucocorticoid function of the anterior pituitary gland and adrenal cortex. According to the classification of stress proposed by G. Selye, this is characteristic of the third stage of the general adaptation syndrome or stress (3). As overtraining develops, the central nervous system turns on and regulates stress responses and the underlying changes in endocrine gland function.At the heart of overtraining is a violation of the processes of cortical neurodynamics, similar to how it occurs in neuroses. With neurosis, the functional state of the underlying parts of the central nervous system also changes. At the same time, visceral disorders often observed during overtraining are a consequence of changes in the functional state of the interstitial brain, which regulates neurohumoral processes in the body and controls autonomic, hormonal, and visceral functions (4). If we talk about the most common cases of overtraining in young athletes, then there are no significant differences from that in adult athletes.But at the same time, the same changes that occur in athletes in the process of developing overtraining affect a young growing body more heavily (5). Clinically, during the course of the disease, there are three indistinctly delimited stages:
- The first stage is characterized by the absence of complaints or nonspecific complaints (sleep disturbances, poor sleep, frequent nocturnal awakenings). There is a lack of growth or a decrease in athletic performance. The most objective signs of the disease are a disorder of the finest motor coordination and a deterioration in the adaptation of the cardiovascular system to high-speed loads.The first are manifested in uneven tapping with the fingers (individual blows are produced arrhythmically, with different strengths), and the second – in the appearance after 15 seconds. jogging in place at the fastest possible pace of atypical variants of the reaction of the pulse and blood pressure (instead of the formerly normotonic type of reaction). Diagnostics is also complicated by the fact that there are no other objective and subjective data (the state of the cardiovascular system and the external respiration apparatus are at the optimal level). To increase the reduced performance, the athlete mistakenly, instead of the necessary rest, is confused to intensify the training.Naturally, this leads to the progression of the disease, and its arrival at the second stage.
- For the second stage, numerous complaints, functional changes in many organs and systems of the body are already characteristic. There is a further decrease in sports performance, and the athlete, wishing to improve them, along with increasing training, also tries to make his own adjustments to the technique of performing exercises, to change the structure and conduct of training. However, this does not give the desired results, and the athlete may experience apathy, lethargy, drowsiness, unwillingness to train (sometimes – playfulness, frivolous attitude to training, or vice versa, increased irritability may appear).The athlete becomes conflicted, often quarrels with his comrades and argues with the coach. Increased irritability is more often observed in young athletes, less often – apathy (6). Athletes complain of rapid fatigue, discomfort and pain in the heart area, delayed engagement in work, the appearance of inadequate reactions and fear emotions at the end of complex physical exercises, and the loss of “muscle acuity” (7). The athlete has a characteristic appearance: pale complexion, sunken eyes with blue under them, bluish lip color.Sleep disorders progress and become more pronounced (its usual structure is disturbed and the time to fall asleep is lengthened). The nature of sleep becomes superficial, restless with frequent dreams of unpleasant content (often frightening, painful nightmares). There is a violation of biorhythms, the daily dynamic stereotype and the daily period of functions are disturbed. In an athlete in a state of overtraining, the maximum increase in all functional indicators occurs not in the second half of the day (when he has the longest and most stressful workouts), but early in the morning or late in the evening, when he is not exercising (8).Symptoms of vegetative dystonia appear: pronounced vascular reactions, inadequate response to a temperature stimulus, unstable blood pressure (predominance of sympathicotonia and, less often, vagotonia) (9). In athletes in a state of overtraining, there is a decrease in the tone and excitability of the parasympathetic nervous system. In athletes, you can see the “marble” skin, which manifests itself in the form of an enhanced pattern of the venous network on pale skin. “Marble” skin is caused by dysregulation of the venous vascular tone.All the described changes appear as a result of dysregulation and a decrease in the functional state of the cardiovascular system (10). Changes in the functioning of the nervous system are also manifested in the nature of the bioelectric activity of the brain. With overtraining, the amplitude of the background alpha rhythm at rest decreases, and after physical exertion, irregularity and instability of electrical potentials appears (11).
Functional disorders on the part of the cardiovascular system, most often manifested in an inadequately large reaction of the pulse and blood pressure to physical activity and in slowing down their recovery during the rest period, as well as in disturbances in the heart rhythm and in the deterioration of the adaptability of the cardiovascular system to stress on endurance.An inadequately large reaction of the pulse and blood pressure to physical activity is expressed in the fact that their changes after dosed loads during functional tests become similar to changes after training sessions, while after training, they are the same as after competitions (4). Cardiac arrhythmias, most often, are manifested in the form of a sharp sinus arrhythmia, rigid rhythm, extrasystole and atrioventricular block of the 1st degree. Much less often, 2nd degree atrioventricular block, incomplete atrioventricular dissociation with ventricular seizures and WPW syndrome are observed (8,12).Deterioration in the adaptation of the cardiovascular system to endurance loads, expressed in the appearance of atypical variants of the pulse and blood pressure response (instead of the formerly normotonic type of reaction) after a 3-minute run on the spot at a pace of 180 steps per minute. At rest, tachycardia and increased blood pressure are often observed (instead of the previous ones, in a state of good training, moderate bradycardia and normal blood pressure). Much less often, in a state of overtraining, the previously existing bradycardia increases and hypotension occurs.Signs of vegetative-vascular dystonia often appear, as mentioned above. In parallel, there is a gradual deterioration of the external respiration apparatus. At rest, there is a decrease in the vital capacity of the lungs and maximum ventilation of the lungs. Even after physical exertion of moderate severity, these indicators decrease (while in athletes in a state of good training, they do not change or increase). There are negative changes in the digestive system, manifested by a decrease in appetite, an increase in the size of the liver, and sub-icteric sclera (13).The tongue increases in size, a thick white coating and teeth marks appear on the edges of the tongue. When protruding the tongue from the mouth, a tremor of the tongue is visible (14). There is an increase in the basal metabolism, oxygen uptake during the performance of standard loads and in the recovery period increases (15). This indicates a decrease in the economization of the body’s activity in a state of overtraining. There is a violation of carbohydrate metabolism, this is manifested by a decrease in the amount of blood sugar at rest, there is a violation of the absorption of carbohydrates in the digestive tract and their assimilation by the body.In a state of overtraining, after taking glucose, its maximum concentration in the blood will not be in 15 minutes. (as usual), but only after 30-45 minutes. At the same time, after 2 hours, the concentration of glucose in the blood will still exceed the initial level (while it is normal, after 1.5-2 hours it returns to the initial level). With overtraining in the body, the normal course of oxidative processes is disrupted, the content of ascorbic acid in the tissues decreases, which leads to an increase in the need for ascorbic acid for the normal functioning of the body (16).In the study of urine nitrogen, a negative nitrogen balance is determined, which indicates that more nitrogen is excreted from the body than it enters the body with food. With overtraining, the body’s own proteins break down, and body weight decreases. The loss of 1/13 of the individual optimal body weight for the period of participation in competitions should always be alarming in relation to overtraining (17). With overtraining, athletes show signs of inhibition of the adrenocorticotropic function of the anterior pituitary gland and insufficient activity of the adrenal cortex, determination of the adrenal cortex hormones is one of the important diagnostic criteria (as well as the detection of eosinophilia in a blood test) (7).There is also increased sweating (as a manifestation of nervous disorders), menstrual irregularities in girls (as a manifestation of nervous and hormonal disorders). There is a decrease in the body’s resistance to the harmful effects of environmental factors (cold, heat, etc.), a decrease in the barrier function of the skin and mucous membranes, as well as to infectious diseases. The latter is largely determined by a decrease in blood complement, a decrease in the phagocytic activity of neutrophils and the bactericidal properties of the skin, a decrease in the content of lysozyme in saliva (i.e.i.e., the main immunobiological defense reactions of the body) (18). Overtraining often ends with a serious infectious disease, (sometimes with a severe course and complications) which could not exist outside of this state. With overtraining, pathological changes occur in the musculoskeletal system: the elasticity of the ligaments and the elasticity of the muscles decrease (19). The strength of the muscles decreases, the range of motion in individual joints decreases, the coordination of the activity of the antagonist muscles is impaired and, as a consequence, the coordination of movements.Attention and protective reflexes and reactions deteriorate, as a consequence of this, the frequent occurrence of injuries in athletes in a state of overtraining (20). In the absence of appropriate diagnostics and treatment, further progression of the development of the pathological condition occurs and its transition to an even more severe – the third stage.
- The third stage of overtraining syndrome is characterized by a sharp deterioration in sports results (despite all the efforts of the athlete and the coach to improve them).The athlete begins to look for (or invent) all sorts of objective reasons for his failures, namely: he thinks that wrong refereeing, unfriendly attitude of comrades, poor sports equipment and conditions for training, etc. are to blame for his lack of success. that the athlete withdraws into himself, repels friends and turns the sports team against himself. Often he strives to completely isolate himself from people. During this period, an athlete may develop neurasthenia of a hypersthenic or hyposthenic form (21).The hypersthenic form of neurasthenia, which is a consequence of the weakening of the inhibitory process in the cerebral cortex, is characterized by increased nervous excitability, irritability, a feeling of fatigue, fatigue, general weakness, and insomnia. The hyposthenic form of neurasthenia, which is a consequence of the weakening of the excitatory process in the cerebral cortex, is characterized by general weakness, rapid fatigue, apathy, drowsiness during the day and insomnia at night. In young athletes, the hypersthenic form of neurasthenia is more common.This can be explained in them by the fact that the strength of the inhibitory process in the cerebral cortex in them, and in the norm, is less than the strength of the excitatory process. Some authors distinguish two more forms in overtraining: Graves-like and Addison-like. The first manifests itself similarly to hyperthyroidism. It is characterized by an increase in the tone of the sympathetic nervous system and a large number of clinical signs. In the Addison-like form of overtraining, there are no specific features, but there is bradycardia and BP setting at the lower limit of the norm (22).Thus, the clinical and psychological symptoms and syndromes of overtraining described by us, testify to the severity of this condition, the importance of its timely and professional diagnosis by an experienced sports doctor and clinical psychologist with experience of working with such conditions, emphasize the importance of adequate prevention of this dangerous condition. What is the prognosis for overtraining at the present stage of development of clinical and sports medicine, clinical psychology and sports psychology? An analysis of the available Russian-language and foreign literary sources allows us to conclude that overtraining in the first stage is eliminated without any harmful consequences for the body and psyche.The same cannot be said about the overtraining of the second, and especially the third stage, because at these stages, overtraining can lead to a long-term, for many years, decrease in sports performance. Unfortunately, at present, the danger of overtraining and the danger of its consequences is clearly underestimated, a number of measures aimed at timely professional diagnostics and primary prevention are not applied. Overtraining responds best to treatment in the first stage, and worst, respectively, in the third.This emphasizes the importance of its timely early diagnosis. With overtraining in the first stage, there is no need to interrupt the workout. However, you should ban participation in competitions and change the training regimen for 2-4 weeks. First of all, this concerns a decrease in the total volume of the training load and changes in its quality. The reduction in the total volume of the training load should occur both by reducing the number of trainings per week and by reducing the time of training sessions.A qualitative change in the training load should provide for the exclusion from it of long and intense exercises, technically very difficult exercises and work that is not aimed at increasing the motor quality of speed and endurance. The main focus of training should be on general fitness, which should be low in volume and intensity, and even gentle. Such a switch in training work from special training (conducted with a large load) to general physical training, carried out with a low load, in the first stage of overtraining leads to its elimination.In the process of improving the general condition of an athlete, his training regime is gradually expanding and qualitatively changing in such a way that after 2-4 weeks. He begins to meet the goals and objectives of this training period. When treating overtraining (regardless of the stage), one should always pay attention to the general mode of life (work, rest, work load, nutrition, sleep, etc.), it is imperative to keep an athlete’s self-observation diary. The training load should always be carried out in accordance with the general regimen.A good psychological climate in the team and moral support of a sick athlete from comrades and a coach is of the most important and essential importance for the success of treatment (23). It is necessary to fortify the diet, especially with vitamin C, a complex of vitamins gr. B and vit. E. Good results are obtained by the appointment of sedatives and neurotropic drugs (valerian in combination with motherwort, potassium bromide, modern tranquilizers with a nootropic effect), calcium glycerophosphate, inosine or riboxin, potassium orotate (24).Physiotherapeutic agents are shown: water procedures, radon baths, galvanization, restorative massage (25). In the second stage of overtraining, one change in the regime of training sessions (as for the first stage), the indicated pharmacological and physiotherapeutic therapeutic measures are no longer enough. It should be for 1-2 weeks. stop training, replacing it with a variety of outdoor activities that bring positive emotions. Then, within 1-2 months. gradual inclusion in the training is carried out.The training regimen during this period of treatment changes in the same way as when eliminating the first stage of overtraining. Participation in competitions is prohibited during this time. The third stage of overtraining no longer presents diagnostic difficulties according to the above criteria, but the longest and most difficult for supervision. In the third stage of overtraining, training should be stopped for 1-2 months. Of these, two weeks are allotted for complete rest and full treatment, which must be carried out in a clinical setting, preferably at sea resorts (the corresponding program is in preparation).After that, the athlete is assigned active rest, according to programs that bring positive emotions and additionally teach the athlete the skills of mental self-regulation and active adaptation to psychophysical stress, as prevention of overtraining in the future . Gradual inclusion in the training is carried out for another 2-3 months. The training regimen during this period of treatment changes in the same way as when eliminating the first stage of overtraining. All this time, participation in competitions is prohibited.In the treatment of the third stage of overtraining, hormones of the adrenal cortex and hormones of the gonads can be used (26). Such treatment is carried out in a specialized department of sports medicine and psychophysical rehabilitation by professionally trained sports medicine doctors, medical psychologists, physical therapists and rehabilitation therapists using the entire arsenal of medicated and non-medicated biological medicine. Successful treatment of overtraining requires addressing the underlying and concomitant causes of overtraining.For example, if overtraining was caused by improper construction of training sessions and intoxication of the body of their focus of chronic infection (caries, chronic tonsillitis, otitis media, sinusitis, cholecystitis, pustular skin diseases, inflammatory gynecological and urological diseases, dysbacteriosis, etc.) or violations of the work regime and rest, then only the elimination of all these reasons, along with the above recommendations for organizing and conducting the training process, will allow you to quickly eliminate it.When prescribing a complex of therapeutic and rehabilitation measures, it is imperative to take into account age, gender, general health and history data, specialization in sports. For young athletes and adolescents, medications and physiotherapeutic agents are prescribed taking into account their gender, age, level of biological maturation, somatotype, individual psychological characteristics. All of the listed medications and physiotherapeutic agents give a good therapeutic effect in the treatment of overtraining, especially the second and third stages, but they cannot replace adjustments to the training regimen and the athlete’s lifestyle.Moreover, these adjustments alone are already enough to eliminate the first stage of overtraining (when identifying and mandatory sanitation of foci of chronic infection).
All information provided by us is intended primarily for professionals involved in medical support in modern sports. This information will be useful both for a competent coach and for the athlete himself, who is responsible and professional about his health, and even the motto “victory at any cost” will not turn a young, flourishing body into “waste material” or a cripple with a mass of diseases and sports injuries.The most important task is timely prevention, built on the elimination of the causes of overtraining. First of all, this requires strict individualization of the training load, both in terms of volume and content. Therefore, forced training and training with increased loads should be used only with a sufficiently good preliminary preparation of athletes. In the state of “sports form” intense training loads should be alternated with reduced loads, especially on the days after the competition.All violations of the regime of life, work, rest, sleep, nutrition, as well as physical and mental trauma, intoxication of the body from the foci of chronic infection must be eliminated. Training and competitions against the background of any illness or in a state of convalescence after an illness must be strictly prohibited . Moreover, an increased tendency to colds should alert the doctor, coach, athlete in relation to the developing state of overtraining, if necessary, contact a specialized department for timely diagnosis and effective treatment.All foci of chronic infection must be correctly identified and professionally sanitized (and, if possible, radically). The modes of study, work, rest, nutrition must be scientifically and methodologically substantiated and brought in line with the training regimen. They must be strictly observed.
Download the whole article >>90,000 Anti-Burnout Sports: How Exercise Helps Manage Stress
Let’s guess, you work hard. As I.We all seem to be working hard right now. This is understandable, because we all want to be productive and benefit society. It’s no surprise that even when we meet with friends, we talk about fatigue and share tips on how to overcome it while avoiding burnout.
There has been a lot of writing about professional burnout since the American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger introduced the concept in 1974 in his book Burnout. The high cost of high achievements. ”
What the statistics say
In May 2019, the World Health Organization included burnout in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), thus recognizing it as a real problem.
There are no clear symptoms of the disease, everything is very individual, but the most common are chronic fatigue, feelings of anxiety, emotional depression and inability to concentrate. Frequent headaches and decreased appetite can also indicate that you are already at the limit.
According to the Academy of Labor and Social Relations, 70% of Russians are exposed to stress in the workplace. Most often these are doctors, intellectual workers, creative and “helping” professions (management, marketing, IT, sales, social sector, and so on).
Physical activity improves productivity
Burnout can and should be worked on. If it has already come, do not be afraid to seek help from specialists (psychologists, psychotherapists), while simultaneously reviewing your work processes. But don’t forget about preventive measures. Exercise can help in prevention.
A 2018 study in Japan among the adult working population showed a direct relationship between employee engagement at work and the amount of time they spend sitting.
With a sedentary lifestyle, the brain loses its ability to neuroplasticity, and consequently, memory and ability to find original solutions and come up with cool ideas deteriorate.
Neuroplasticity can be “trained” through physical exercise. For example, loads that involve not only strength or endurance, but also coordination, game tactics and force you to improve your skills.
On the part of the employer, we do our best to help in the development of the neuroplasticity of employees.Our solution is special play and fitness rooms in the company’s offices.
There are kicker and tennis tables in the play rooms, horizontal bars, wall bars and punching bags. The guys go there to get distracted from work and even organize internal mini-pull-up tournaments themselves.
Fitness rooms are designed for daily sports: there are rugs, exercise equipment, ballet machines. Of course, they often come there in the morning or in the evening for full-fledged classes, but in the afternoon many people go there to meditate or stretch out.
High level of happiness and friendly team
Moderate physical activity will improve your health, shape and mood. An unconditional plus of exercise is an increase in the production of endorphins (hormones of joy).
But these hormones are not released during every activity. For endorphins to begin to be released, the load must be above average. It should be a little hard for you, only then the body will begin to “encourage” you.
Think of long distance running or crossfit.This is exactly what you need: the training process is difficult, but athletes enjoy it and come back to it again and again. By the way, such classes are perfect for team building and creating a friendly atmosphere.
Corporate races and various endurance games are very popular now.
I have been working for this company for about a year and during this time I managed to cheer for our team in ski and snowboard competitions, volleyball, kicker, table tennis and go-kart tournaments.
In addition to the obvious advantages of the company’s participation in such events (increasing brand awareness, additional onboarding for new employees), there are also not so obvious ones.
The moment of trust and recognition of employees is very important in my profession. I can’t imagine where else, besides sporting events, people express themselves emotionally so easily, where they can be as “themselves” as possible, worry about each other, seek help and support.
And the most important thing: many of these activities can be done without spending a penny.
For example, in the summer we ran a running marathon. The idea came to me when I was flipping through my Instagram feed and noticed how many of my colleagues are passionate about running. They share results, tips and photos from the marathons.
At that moment, the plan of the competition immediately ripened in my head: within two months, all the kilometers that colleagues run, add up to the piggy bank of the team in which they work. The team that ran the most wins.
The organization took one day.We announced the event in a corporate messenger, created a spreadsheet in Google Docs, agreed on which tracking application we would use, and also asked the most famous runners from the company to give some tips for beginners (how to run correctly, in what, at what speed, etc. ).
It ended up that the total mileage of participants in two months was almost five thousand! But that’s not the point. The important thing is that the guys discussed this in their teams, got together for joint runs and constantly encouraged each other.
This is not the only example of our team sports. For several years in a row, we have been participating in the city action “Cycling to Work”, in the “Race of Heroes”, and in 2019 we made a grandiose swim of 20 kilometers to the island of Valaam.
Another plus in the organization of corporate sports: some candidates want to join us simply because they like the culture of a healthy lifestyle and its support at the company level.
As HR, I am most warmed by the response that I get from employees who are satisfied with themselves and their company.
How to get the maximum
The best way to cope with burnout and cheer up your company is through sports. And yet, why is it necessary?
- Exercise promotes the production of endorphins . As a result, productivity increases, and everyday tasks are easier and faster.
- Sport reduces the level of anxiety . You can practice before an important meeting to calm down.
- Memory and attention is neuroplasticity that needs training .It can be “trained” including physical exercises.
- Sport allows you to unite the team and create a friendly atmosphere in the team . Many goals can be achieved when employees participate in group training. This way they get to know each other better, and in the future it is easier for them to work in a team.
Albert Einstein said: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you have to move. ” So move on. And be in balance.
Photos in text provided by the author
Cover photo: Unsplash90,000 SPECIFIC FEATURES OF EMOTIONAL BURN OUT IN GYMNASTS 16-18 YEARS
SPECIFIC MANIFESTATION OF EMOTIONAL BURN OUT GYMNASTS HAVE 16-18 YEARS
Abstract.Currently studying manifestations of mental burnout in sports is very relevant. Sports activity has its own specifics, in connection with which the sources of manifestation mental burnout in athletes significantly differ from the factors of its development and symptomatology in specialists of other professions. Obviously, without empirical study of data on developmental factors and manifestations mental burnout in athletes, this problem cannot be prevented and
it is difficult to help athletes in overcoming burnout symptoms.
The article used a burnout questionnaire athletes ABQ (Athlete Burnout Questionnaire), developed by T. Raedeke, A. Smith, adapted by E.I. Berilova (2016). Athlete Burnout Questionnaire Questionnaire ”is designed to measure three symptoms of mental burnout in athletes: devaluation of achievements, decrease in the sense of achievement, emotional
/ physical exhaustion. Study conducted on a sample of senior adolescent gymnasts.
Keywords: athlete burnout, anxiety, motivation, artistic gymnastics, youth sports.
To date, there is relatively little data on the reasons and characteristics of mental burnout in sports activities, although and there is a need for its comprehensive study. Researchers it is recommended to exercise some caution when “transferring” mental data burnout from other professions to sports, as there is its own specificity manifestations .
Currently there is no single point view on the definition of the term “burnout” in sports activities.
However, more widespread received the definition of R. Smith, according to which mental burnout is a response to chronic stress, including physical, behavioral and cognitive components.
It should be noted that the models of mental burnout in sports affect certain aspects of this phenomenon, reflecting the specifics of the activity. In our opinion, R. Smith’s concept is the most constructive. The factors causing chronic stress can be roughly environmental and internal.The first include characteristics that are related and not related to the specifics of sports activities, to the second – personal characteristics of an athlete (anxiety, self-esteem, level of aspirations, locus control, motivation, etc.) .
As external sources of chronic stress associated with the specifics of sports activities can act organizational and methodological factors (the nature of planning a competitive activities, organization of selection for competitions and national teams, athlete’s resistance to monotonous and intense training loads) and socio-psychological (publicity of the competition, the strength of the position an athlete in an elite team, team relationships, features the relationship of an athlete with a coach, heads of sports federations, representatives of the media).In addition, to external factors mental stress, not related to sports, are directly related life stresses due to family and household problems, isolation from the family, illness of loved ones, financial problems, interpersonal conflicts, difficulties combination of sports activity and study) .
It is difficult to overestimate the importance of each of listed sources of chronic stress for athletes, however, it will differ depending on age and qualifications.
Mental burnout in sports is active researched on the basis of a three-component model, which includes the following components: a decrease in the sense of achievement, which manifests itself in reducing the athlete’s desire to achieve high results in his activities; depreciation of sports achievements, which consists in a decrease the significance of the results achieved for the athlete; emotional / physical exhaustion, which manifests itself in emotional and physical fatigue in athletes, when there is no longer any desire or strength to engage in sports activities .
This concept was proposed by the sports psychologist T. Raedeke. It was based on the theory of mental burnout C. Maslach and S. Jackson. Only the “depersonalization” component, which manifests itself in development of negative emotions in workers in relation to the subjects of their activity has been replaced by the component “devaluation of sports achievements”. We believe that this model reveals the symptoms most meaningfully. burnout in sports and is a reliable tool for its study and measurement .
It was with the help of this technique that we were further research has been carried out.
It should be noted that the study of the emotional burnout in the process of physical activity of athletes, whose activity associated with constant loads, high voltage and other influences social environment is of particular interest. We were interested in the question: what the number, as a percentage, of athletes experiencing emotional / physical exhaustion, devaluation and decrease in the level of claims .
Thus, the basis of our research it is hypothesized that burnout syndrome can manifest itself differently among athletes due to their sporting achievements (qualifications or titles). We assume that the higher the skill level of the gymnast (the longer burnout factors affect the athlete’s personality), the higher the likelihood of burnout.
Methods and techniques. To implement the set goals, we conducted a study of the features of “emotional burnout” boys and girls 16-18 years old, engaged in artistic gymnastics at the base Gymnastics Center of the Autonomous Non-profit Organization “Olympic School Champion Yulia Barsukova “Kazan. The study sample included 30 athletes 16-18 years old.
Gymnasts were asked a questionnaire, burnout athletes ABQ (Athlete Burnout Questionnaire), developed by T. Raedeke, A. Smith , adapted by E.I. Berilova (2016) . Athlete Burnout Questionnaire Questionnaire “
is designed to measure three symptoms of mental burnout in athletes and includes 15 questions, 5 answer options and 3 scales:
Ra – decrease in the desire to achieve (decrease in the level claims)
E – emotional / physical depletion
D – depreciation (devaluation) achievements.
Results and discussion.
According to the obtained empirical data, it is possible to say that a sufficiently large number of athletes are characterized by certain signs of burnout. In particular, “Reducing the desire for achievements “in 12% of gymnasts is clearly expressed, in 64% of the indicators are on average level. Consequently, in 76% we observe the development of this trait. It is worth noting that 96% of athletes show signs of emotional and physical exhaustion (of which 40% are at a very high level).We also observe high indicators on the “Devaluation of Achievements” scale: 33% of gymnasts have a high level of expression, 67% have a medium level, which speaks of the development of this trait.
Let us consider in more detail the distribution by levels of severity of emotional burnout in girls and boys, depending on their qualifications.
Analysis of the data obtained allows us to conclude that both in the CMS and MC groups there is a high level of severity of emotional burnout is determined to a greater extent in girls.Among young men, the majority of respondents noted an average level of severity of emotional burnout. Hence, it can be established that the largest difference in the distribution of the sample over burnout levels are marked by gender, when in the qualification structure the data are relatively similar.
Let’s take a closer look at the leading averages indicators of emotional burnout of athletes in the same groups.
The received data allow us to conclude that for the majority of respondents (45%), the indicator of emotional burnout is emotional / physical exhaustion.30% of athletes have a leading indicator is the diminution of the sense of achievement. Least number of respondents (25%) set such an indicator as the depreciation of achievements.
Thus, the distribution of respondents by for all the studied indicators of emotional burnout is relatively uniform in the studied groups of CMS and MS. In all qualifications like for both boys and girls, the prevalence of emotional / physical exhaustion stands out. It can be argued that highly qualified athletes are characterized by high the level of emotional burnout (with a predominance of emotional / physical exhaustion), which, in turn, does not depend on their qualifications, however most pronounced in girls.
Conclusions. The data obtained requires special work on teaching athletes methods and techniques that reduce symptoms
“burnout”. To such methods include self-regulation methods, correct definition of short-term goals and tasks, expanding the circle of communication, the formation of a positive outlook, maintaining a positive point of view, controlling emotions after a competitive activities.
1.Shtefanenko I. I. Relationship emotional burnout, individual psychological personality traits and the level of development of the group among athletes-handball players / I. I. Shtefanenko // Physical culture, sports – science and practice. – 2012. – No. 4. – P. 7782.
2. Berilova E. I. Personal regulators of professional burnout in sports coaches and judges / E.I. Berilova, A. V. Mishchenko, O. V. Doroshina // Physical culture, sports – science and practice. – 2013. – No. 2. – S.24-29.
3. Grin E. I. Personal factors, determining the development of professional burnout in athletes of different genders / EI Grin // Physical culture, sport – science and practice. – 2009. – No. 1. – S. 33-37. =
4. Thomas D. Raedeke & Alan L. Smith (2001). Development and Preliminary Validation of an Athlete Burnout Measure. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 23, 281-306.
5. Keith A. Kaufman, Ph. D. Understanding Student-Athlete Burnout.
Grin, Elena Igorevna – Personal resources for overcoming mental burnout in athletes: abstract of thesis. … candidate of psychological sciences: 13.00.04
Search by specific fields
To narrow your search results, you can refine your query by specifying the fields to search for. The list of fields is presented above. For example:
author: ivanovYou can search by several fields at the same time:
author: ivanov title: research
The default is AND .
Operator AND means that the document must match all elements in the group:
author: ivanov title: developmentoperator OR means that the document must match one of the values in the group:
research OR development
author: ivanov OR title: developmentoperator NOT excludes documents containing this element:
research NOT development
author: ivanov NOT title: development
When writing a request, you can specify the way in which the phrase will be searched.Four methods are supported: search with morphology, without morphology, search for a prefix, search for a phrase.
By default, the search is performed taking into account the morphology.
To search without morphology, just put a dollar sign in front of the words in the phrase:
$ Research $ DevelopmentTo search for a prefix, you need to put an asterisk after the request:
research *To search for a phrase, you need to enclose the query in double quotes:
“ research and development ”
Search by synonyms
To include a word in the search results for synonyms, place a hash “ # ” before the word or before the expression in parentheses.
When applied to one word, up to three synonyms will be found for it.
When applied to a parenthesized expression, a synonym will be appended to each word if found.
Cannot be combined with non-morphology search, prefix search, or phrase search.
In order to group search phrases, you need to use brackets.This allows you to control the boolean logic of the request.
For example, you need to make a request: find documents whose author is Ivanov or Petrov, and the title contains the words research or development:
author: ( ivanov OR petrov ) title: ( research OR development )
Approximate search for the word
For an approximate search, you need to put the tilde “ ~ ” at the end of a word from a phrase.For example:
bromine ~The search will find words such as “bromine”, “rum”, “prom”, etc.
You can additionally specify the maximum number of possible edits: 0, 1 or 2. For example:
bromine ~ 1 90 120By default, 2 edits are allowed.
To search by proximity, you need to put the tilde “ ~ ” at the end of the phrase.4 90 120 development By default, the level is 1. Allowed values are a positive real number.
Search in interval
To specify the interval in which the value of a field should be, specify the boundary values in brackets, separated by the operator TO .
Lexicographic sorting will be performed.
author: [ Ivanov TO Petrov ]Results with an author ranging from Ivanov to Petrov will be returned, Ivanov and Petrov will be included in the result.