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ATHLETIC BURNOUT

Athletic staleness and burnout is a big problem for many of today’s athletes whether they are at the amateur or professional level. The good thing about this problem that ends up in total and complete physical and emotional exhaustion is that it can be recognized when it is taking place. It can also be treated if the recognition comes at too late of a stage of the onset of staleness and burnout. But the best remedy for athletic staleness and burnout is prevention of it in the first place. There are three different models that have been used to explain the causes of athlete burnout.

The first one is the cognitive affective stress model, which tells us that the athlete is burned out due to chronic stress on the mind and body during athletic competition and outside of athletic competition. The second is the negative training stress response model that argues that burnout happens as a result of over training. The last one, which is undimensional identity development and external control model suggests burnout is caused by social problems in the way that a sport is organized believing the athletes have no control over their environment.

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When diagnosing a player for staleness or burnout there are several behaviors that would make burnout noticeable. The first telltale sign would be that a player is in a slump at some point during the season. Another sign would be serious lapses in the players practice performance and chronic fatigue. The behavior of the athlete in all situations seems to be deteriorating when burnout and staleness are taking place. But there are ways to prevent complete burnout if the behaviors are detected early enough and coaches take heed to the warning signs. If the coach sees his players showing signs of lack of sleep, a sudden loss of confidence, a look of depression, or emotional instability. He should know that the player is in staleness mode and complete burnout is inevitable if something is not done about it.

If the player does go into complete burnout mode or is even in a staleness rut there are treatments for the player. The most effective of all treatments is psychological reprogramming. The coach should begin to focus the player’s attention on new goals in the short term and reward their positive behaviors. H e should give the players more rest time in between practice and games and allow them to take their mind off of competition and performance for a while. Periods of rest have been found to be one of the most effective measures in preventing total burnout by going two steps forward and on e step back. Allowing the athletes to make decisions on if they want to have practice at a certain time or on certain day gives them more of a feeling of belonging. So involvement is another key component to reprogramming the mind to focus on the task. Allowing the player the chance after competition to relax and showing them how to relax is also another effective treatment for eliminating staleness and burnout in athletes. Having team yoga sessions and meditating with the team encourages unity and a chance to get players minds off of the game after competition has been found to be extremely effective. It is evident that even small things can give a player or a team back what they lost at one point in a season and these are all effective tools for having a healthy team that is always ready to play.

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