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professional athletes are don't get burned out

Dont Get Burned




Burnout.  It happens to everyone, everywhere, everyday.  Athletes -young, old, professional, amateur, male and female- all experience burnout in different forms and degrees.  Burnout is defined as the physical, emotional, and psychological reaction to intense pressure to fulfill obligations, whether they be sports or otherwise.  Simply put, people get tired and worn out because they often take on the responsibility of doing too much.  Burnout is most common among professional and Olympic athletes that train hard and work hard for long periods of time.  However, others can also experience burnout in athletics.  Burnout leads to reduced interest in the sport, quality of performance, and then withdrawal.
Burnout is often associated with overtraining, overreaching, and staleness.  Overtraining is the point where training is no longer beneficial but harmful.  Overreaching is similar to overtraining however the length of time makes the difference.  Overreaching for long periods of time leads to overtraining.  Staleness is the effect of reaching a performance plateau.  Together with overtraining, staleness eventually leads to athlete burnout.  In sports psychology, several models exist to help explain, prevent, and treat burnout in athletes.  
Stress models of burnout point to stress as the key factor in burnout.  Silvas training stress model is based on the notion that some training stress is necessary to improve.. These improvements are based on positive adaptation to training stress or negative adaptation to training stress. Smiths Cognitive-Affective model of burnout has for stages that lead to burnout.  Investment model of burnout insists that if an athlete participates in sports based on enjoyment, burnout is less likely to occur.  On the other hand, if an athlete is trapped into participation this will lead to burnout.  Empowerment model of burnout suggests that stress is not the cause but merely a symptom of burnout.  This theory in particular deals mainly with youths in sports.
Burnout normally occurs slowly, over a long period of time.  It may express itself physically or mentally.  Physical symptoms may include feelings of intense fatigue, changes in heart rate, weight, blood pressure, vulnerability to viral infection, and then immune breakdown.  Mental burnout may manifest itself with feelings of lack of control over commitments, belief that you are accomplishing less, tendency to think negatively, loss of a sense of purpose and increasing detachment to situations that cause stress.  In some cases, burnout can lead to a decreased self-esteem.
Keeping the sport and activities fun can help prevent burnout from setting in.  If athletes are in danger of burning out they can re-evaluate their goals and prioritize them, reduce unnecessary commitments, learn stress management techniques, following a healthy lifestyle, and developing a support network among friends and family.  Interventions can sometimes provide a solution.  Self-awareness is the first step.  Time off from the activity followed by initiation of relaxation techniques round out the recommended intervention process.
Some athletes can move past the burned out stage and continue participating in their sport.  Others however, are unable to once again have fun engaging in that sport again.    Younger children are increasing vulnerable to burnout.  Gymnasts, ice skaters, and other Olympic caliber athletes are pushed at such an early age and so hard that once they can make their own decisions, they reject the sport.  Some also accomplish such large goals so young that they reach a performance plateau early.  Parents also push their children to play sports even when they do not wish to play.  This can also lead to burnout of young children.  
Deciding the level of commitment in a desired sport is one of the most important decisions to be made regarding prevention and treatment of burnout.  Athletics should be fun, enjoyable and help relieve stress.  Once it begins to cause unhealthy levels of stress burnout might follow.  Sport can be a lifetime activity that can enhance life, but in the wrong context sport can be life altering and debilitating.
I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family that supported me regardless of whether or not I participated in sports.  My parents encouraged me to participate only if and when I wanted to.  Sports were never mandatory and my parents did not push me.  They did not live vicariously through my sports participation.  I think ... more

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Anxiety and Athletic Perfomance

Anxiety and Athletic Performance



Introduction
Athletes today need to be able to cope with the anxiety and pressure that is placed on them in the competitive world of sports. A large deal of research has been done on examining the relationship between anxiety and performance within the field of athletics. This paper is going to show that the mind in an athlete has a lot to do with the result of the particular event. In order to show that anxiety in athletes is a significant problem this paper is going to be set up in three different areas in order to explain exactly how anxiety affects the athlete. The first section of the paper is going to explain the history and terminology on the study of anxiety in athletes. Next, this paper will show the results of numerous testing that has gone on in order to see the effects of anxiety in athletes. And the third and final section of this paper is going to explain what treatments that can help the athlete cope with the anxiety issues.

History and Terminology
     The reasons that previous research on this subject has been hard to synthesize is because of numerous reasons, those including methodological flaws' such as lack of clear definitions and also lack of clear theoretical construct.' In the following section terms will be established for words that will be throughout this paper. Also, this section will provide an overview of theories that have been used to clarify the relationship between anxiety and performance in athletes.
     In Edward's and Hardy's opinion the main problem that research on the relationship between anxiety and performance has encountered is that researchers have not defined all the specific terminology that is required to understand with this subject. The following operational definitions will be used for the terms anxiety and stress. "Stress is a state that results from the demands that are placed on the individual which require that person to engage in some coping behavior." Arousal is going to be considered to be a signal to the athlete that he/ she has entered into a stressful situation and is characterized buy physiological signs. Anxiety results from the athlete's perception that he/ she is not good enough for the particular situation, which will cause stress (Edward and Hardy).
     An early model that attempted to explain the relationship between arousal and performance was the inverted- U hypothesis.' It stated that when an athlete would become aroused he/ she would do well in the event of competition, but if the athlete became too aroused then performance would deteriorate. Although this model game some explanation to why performances deteriorated when individuals felt stress, it did not compare athletes that were in the same situation who had different arousal levels (Edward and Hardy).
     Because of the many faults that researchers found with the inverted U- hypothesis, researchers "attempted to account for the differences in performances of individuals through the concept of individualized zones of optimal functioning," or otherwise known as IZOFs. This theory states that each athlete has an optimal level of pre- performance anxiety, which results in peak performances. However, just like the inverted U, if the pre-performance anxiety lies outside the area of the IZOF, then performance will deteriorate. IZOFs can be determined by repeatedly measuring anxiety and performance. Edwards and Hardy explain that even though this is a better model then the inverted U- hypothesis, it still fails to explain the factors that account for the individual differences in performance among athletes (Edward and Hardy).
     The next theory that seemed to make an impact was the multidimensional anxiety theory which expanded off a previous theory called the reversal' theory. In this model it shows that cognitive anxiety (when there is a fear of failure) to have a negative linear relationship with performance. And as the opposite of cognitive anxiety, self- confidence has been found to have a positive linear relationship with performance. And finally, somatic anxiety (physiological symptoms) has been found to have an inverted - U shaped relationship with performance. Even though this model was a step up in recognizing many elements of anxiety, it still treats them as separate entities (Edward and Hardy).
     This next model named the catastrophe model' ... more

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