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Learning from sport burnout and overtraining
Learning from sport burnout and overtraining

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3 What is your identity?

You will now explore the multiple roles and identities that you consider make up who you are.

Activity 3 Drafting your own identities mind map

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes

Think about the various different spheres of your life – for example, your professional, family, social, sporting or cultural spheres. Then break down the various aspects of each sphere in order to work out just how many different roles you play. One way of doing this would be to draw a mind map to describe your self-concept, an example of which is shown in Figure 3.

An example of a mind map of a person describing their self-concept and different roles.
Figure 3 An example of a mind map of a person describing their self-concept and different roles


Drawing a mind map gives you a visual display of the level of complexity involved in the roles and potentially multiple identities that exist in your life. Evidence shows that sport performance-based self-esteem is closely associated with burnout (Gustafsson et al., 2018). Therefore, developing multiple parts to your identity gives more spheres in life to see yourself as someone with value and so helps reduce your burnout risk.

Managing those with a unidimensional identity heavily based in their sport is something you will explore in Session 7. You have already seen, however, how a unidimensional identity puts an athlete at risk of feeling trapped, yet drives them to continue to train hard. This can lead to overtraining – you will explore this next.