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

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2.2 Needs supportive coaching

A great deal is written about ‘needs supportive coaching’ (e.g. Amorose and Anderson-Butcher, 2007) with reference to Self-determination theory. Bo Hanson’s coach, who you read about in Activity 1, provides an example of this approach in the way that he encouraged ‘relatedness’ (one of the three needs identified by Self-determination theory) by showing open communication between himself and his athletes.

However, Anthony (2017) suggests coaches should also:

  • give athletes choice in the selection of their training and competition (SDT autonomy needs)
  • emphasise social support between team mates as an important factor in a training environment (SDT relatedness needs)
  • provide athletes with task focused feedback, in a non-controlling manner (SDT competence needs).

Coaches and parents, therefore, have a potential role to play in helping meet the needs of athletes to avoid overtraining and burnout.

In the next section you will hear first-hand reflections of Pendleton’s experience in Switzerland from Pendleton and psychiatrist Steve Peters.