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Many athletes dedicate their lives to their sport however the human body cannot always handle the demands of sport The general consensus among athletes is that you must work very hard in order to improve performance For the most part that assumption is true Hard training places much stress on the body and makes a person weaker and it is in the rest period where the gains are actually made Overtraining is seen in athletes when sufficient rest is not included in their training program and their performance plateaus and then eventually declines This chronic debilitating syndrome is characterized most commonly by fatigue the inability to exceed the former level of performance and a decreased ability to recover If an athlete continues to overtrain it can ultimately lead to burnout which is total mental emotional and physical exhaustion often resulting in early withdrawal from the sport environment Burnout is characterized by loss of desire to play lowered self-esteem emotional isolation increased anxiety and mood changes In the following studies psychologists have tried to determine what exactly causes repeatedly poor performances and the tendency for athletes to prematurely quit the sports they love The study done in 1984 on the psychological burnout in high-level athletes David Feigley notes the lowered quality of our national team programs due to high rates of dropout much before athletes reach their prime He focused on elite adolescent athletes because their attrition rate is so high Until this study was done burnout was related mostly to job stress but the findings were seen to be applicable to sporting situations When bureaucratic management organizations were compared to sports programs many similarities were discovered including hierarchical authority rational authority impersonal application of rules and the division of labour In this study Feigley refers to burnout as a condition produced by working too hard for too long in a high-pressured situation accompanied by a progressive loss of idealism energy and purpose that
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