Overtraining, staleness, and burnout in sports

Abstract: Intense and frequently performed physical training can result in both adaptation and maladaptation often referred to as overtraining syndrome/ staleness or burnout depending on the severity of the condition. In Study I, a new conceptual model was presented generating a holistic understanding of both process and outcome; the concept of Total Quality Recovery was also developed.In Study II and III, the incidence rate and nature of staleness and its relationship with burnout across countries and sports were examined. In Study IV, the utility of right-now mood state responses was explored in order to monitor training and recovery in a naturalistic setting.Too much training (physiologically driven), high levels of psychosocial stress in combination with moderate training loads (psychosociologically driven), and an obvious lack of recovery actions undertaken (poor recovery driven) are major pathways accounting for the majority of stale and burnout athletes.Four core attributes of staleness were identified: performance decrement, mood disturbance, exhaustion, and perceptual distortion. Analogues with staleness, the first three attributes were also suggested as core dimensions of burnout, together with devaluation referring to negative attitudes toward sport and involvement in it. Frequent episodes, or long lasting periods of staleness, may place the athlete at risk of ultimately developing burnout. Self-monitoring of training and recovery is regarded as an important strategy that promotes self-awareness and self-control, which subsequently may enhance continuous adaptation and prevent maladaptive consequences.Promoting continued performance development and shortterm peak performance can best be conceptualized as a psychosociophysiological act of balance.