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

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4 Case study: Jono Kitto

Rugby Union player Jono Kitto from New Zealand has made a strikingly candid video of his own perfectionism and how it almost ended his career, which you will now watch in Activity 4.

Activity 4 Kitto’s way of viewing his world

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Watch this video in which Kitto explains how he used to view his sporting world in a negative way, creating feelings of shame. How did he change his thinking with regard to mistakes, self-worth and identity?

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Kitto begins by talking about wanting to be liked or loved, particularly by his father; it was important to be perfect. This is connected to his self-worth and a former harsh self-critical evaluation of his performances in which he would only remember the negative parts from a game. He changed this by realising, perhaps with a psychologist’s support, that the very best players including Michael Jordan (basketball) were all remembered for their positive moments in matches rather than the negative. In the second half of the video he mentions identity a few times; it may remind you of the link between a unidimensional athletic identity and burnout that you learned about in Section 3.

It is noticeable that, with reference to Figure 5, Kitto is mainly referring to the negative thoughts associated with items B, C, D and E.

A useful summary statement about athletes with perfectionistic tendencies is this: if they stay in the game without developing strategies to cope with their stress inducing thoughts then they are very much at risk of burnout.