Burnout in Athletes

Burnout in Athletes

What is Burnout?

Burnout, also known as overtraining syndrome, can happen in athletes that increase their training despite experiencing fatigue and recession in their performance. This phenomenon may lead to terrible mood swings, a lack of passion, minor to severe injuries, and possible infections. Because of burnout, athletes experience physical and emotional stress due to their excessive training. Burnout occurs when an athlete is incapable of recovering from training or competing. Changes may occur in an athlete’s hormonal levels and immune system suppression. Moreover, athletes experience symptoms attributed to physical exhaustion and psychological changes as well. 


How to Recognize Burnout 

To recognize the occurrence of overtraining syndrome, you should take note of the following: 

  • Pay attention to the athlete’s passion towards their chosen sport;
  • Pay attention to the athlete’s relationship with their family. If they tend to overexert their efforts in their sport, this may be a telltale sign of burnout;
  • The athlete pays attention more towards and complies only for rewards instead of progress and performance;


Other symptoms of burnout include: 

  • A decline in their immune system response 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • A downturn in sports and school performance
  • Chronic muscle and joint pain 
  • Excessive weight loss 
  • Fatigue 
  • Delayed recovery time 
  • Lack of motivation or enthusiasm 
  • Frustration in completing everyday routines
  • Heightened irritability 
  • Personality changes 
  • Mood swings 
  • Sleep disturbances 


How to Avoid Burnout 

The essential thing to do when experiencing burnout is to rest. To recover, the athlete and their coach should agree upon a certain period to stop competing and training. The recommended timeframe would be four to twelve weeks depending on the athlete’s sport. During the hiatus, the athlete must still exert minimal effort to remain active and fit. 

The coach also has responsibility for their athlete and must ensure that training is always enjoyable and exciting. There must also be scheduled breaks once or twice a week and longer intervals that occur every other month to allow recovery to occur. Moreover, the athlete should have a solid support system such as family and peers.