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As an athlete, you spend many hours training to excel at your sport. Those hours in the gym, football field, pool or training facility put your body through challenges that can improve your performance, increase your strength and risk injury over time. You likely have to give up or limit your time being involved in other parts of your life such as spending time with friends, enjoying other activities or even being able to focus on your academics to devote more time to your sport. Giving up some interests or social time can start to mentally wear on athletes.
Many times athletes have a strong drive toward their sport, but they also want to experience the fun things that their friends, family or other classmates are involved in doing. So, what happens when you start to lose your interest, passion and drive to continue putting in all that time and effort? When your sport starts to feel like something you dread, a job, no longer fun and exhausting – it’s very possible you are feeling the effects of burnout.
Burnout is a common experience seen within multiple settings such as with athletes, performers, high achievers and those in demanding professional fields. So, what exactly is burnout and what contributes to it happening among these individuals? Factors that impact the likelihood of burnout occurring are well documented (Battochio, Dubuc, Eys, Schinke and Zaichkowsky, 2010; Raedeke 1997; Raedeke, T. D., Lunney, K., & Venables, K., 2002; Raedeke & Smith, 2004) and can include the following: “A multidimensional, cognitive-affective syndrome characterized by emotional and physical exhaustion, reduced sense of accomplishment, and sport devaluation.”
An article written in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology titled Athlete Burnout: An Individual and Organizational Phenomenon by DeFreese, J.D., Raedeke, T.D. and Smith, A.L. (2015) discussed the common dimensions, definitions, and symptoms that contribute to burnout occurring. They are listed below:
As you read the factors and conditions above that impact burning out in your sport you may have identified with many of them. Now that we know what contributes to this state that negatively impacts your life and training – You probably want to know what can you do about it to recover? How can I prevent burnout from continuing to happen in the future? How do I return to feeling excited, motivated and passionate about my sport?
Making sure you are getting enough rest and modifying the length and intensity of your training schedule are two important ways toward helping you recover from burnout (Sitzler, 2016). Making changes to your training schedule doesn’t mean stopping your training completely. Being able to focus on other areas of your life and taking small breaks away from training can be instrumental in helping you regain your motivation, focus, and commitment to your sport.
Through sport psychology consultation sessions with FPA Performance, you will learn additional ways to prevent or recover from burnout including:
Setting short-term goals to increase motivation Adding fun and playful activities to training sessions to make them more enjoyable again
Learning cognitive strategies designed to challenge any thoughts that may be barriers to re-engaging and re-committing to your training
Learning stress reduction techniques such as relaxation skills, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualizations
FPA Performance is a subsidiary of Family Psychology Associates. Our psychologists use evidence-based treatments to deal with a wide variety of sport and performance-related issues including stress management, performance anxiety, self-confidence, team building, body image, and many other areas. Individual and group consultation services for performers. athletes and professionals in high-stress professions are available.
We have two offices in Trinity and Safety Harbor that can provide help in your area. Call us today at (727) 203-3770 (Trinity) or (727) 725-8820 (Safety Harbor) to talk with our caring and compassionate staff to schedule an appointment or through our website at www.fpaperformance.com through our Make An Appointment link.
Kaufman, K.A. (January 2015). “Understanding Student-Athlete Burnout”. Retrieved from www.appliedsportpsych.org/blog/2015/understanding-student-athlete-burnout/. Association for Applied Sport Psychology.
Sitzler, B. (April 2016). “Burnout in Athletes”. Retrieved from www.nata.org National Athletic Trainers Association online magazine.
Dubuc, Nicole G.; Schinke, Robert J.; Eys, Mark A.; Battochio, Randy; and Zaichkowsky, Leonard, “Experiences of Burnout Among Adolescent Female Gymnasts: Three Case Studies” (2010). Kinesiology and Physical Education Faculty Publications. 26.
DeFreese, J. D., Smith, A. L., & Raedeke, T. D. (2015). Individual and organizational solutions to athlete burnout. In J. M. Williams & V. Krane (Eds.), Applied sport psychology (pp. 444–461), New York: McGraw-Hill.
Raedeke, T. D. (1997). Is athlete burnout more than just stress? A sport commitment perspective. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 19, 396-417.
Raedeke, T. D., Lunney, K., & Venables, K. (2002). Understanding athlete burnout: Coach perspectives. Journal of Sport Behavior, 25, 181-206.
Raedeke, T. D., & Smith, A. L. (2004). Coping resources and athlete burnout: An examination of stress mediated and moderation hypotheses. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 26, 525-541.
Weinberg, R.S. & Gould, D. (2011). Foundations of sport and exercise psychology (5th ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.