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

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7 Summary of Session 6

Some of the main learning points from this session are:

  • The Braid (leadership) case illustrates how situational (environmental) influences, including the lack of social support, can create feelings of isolation.
  • A distinct difference to athlete burnout is that coach exhaustion is unlikely to have an overtraining or physical element.
  • Emotional labour is a process in which workers, including coaches, manage their emotions when responding to others at work using cognitive effort. It is closely associated with exhaustion and burnout in sport (Larner, et al., 2017).
  • The two strategies used in emotional labour are surface acting (putting on a faked emotional display) and deep acting (altering your emotions to create an authentic emotional display). Surface acting has been shown to require more cognitive effort (Richards and Gross, 2000).
  • Depersonalisation is another point of difference between burned out coaches and athletes. Depersonalisation is a defence mechanism in which a coach may detach or distance themselves from having to confront complex feelings and emotions. It is characterised by cynicism towards others.
  • McNeill et al.’s (2017) cases of Andy (athletics) and Molly (figure skating) illustrated how burned out coaches’ experiences relate to emotional labour and depersonalisation.

In the next session you will start exploring how you and/or sport psychologists might manage people you identify are on a burnout path. The session takes the approach that preventing burnout is by far the best option, rather than responding after it has taken effect. You will explore ways in which organisations, clubs, coaches and parents can adjust their styles, behaviours and the overall climate in which athletes train and compete to make burnout far less likely.

You can now go to Session 7 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .