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The Signs and Dangers of Overtraining

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					The Signs and Dangers of Overtraining Overtraining is a serious concern for all athletes and coaches because of the recovery time required for over-use injuries. To avoid a situation that leaves a player out for most of the season, coaches should watch for these signs of overtraining: •Early-onset fatigue •Severely decreased motivation •Complaints of chronic, but bearable, pain •Decreased technique as a means of compensation for pain Adequate recovery time is one of the easiest ways for coaches to protect their athletes from overtraining. Players should not work on every skill at every practice. This means that some days, different muscle groups will not be used, or will be used only secondarily. If players work every major muscle group at every practice, they will never have enough time to completely recover from previous workouts, which will force them to start practice in an already weakened state. There is no hard-and-fast rule about the right amount of recovery time, but if players work one muscle group intensely during a practice, they should have two days of recovery time. During this recovery time, they should stretch and do other light movements to keep the muscles from seizing up or becoming painfully sore. Monitoring athletes also allows coaches to recognize optimal times for training. The beginning of the season is an optimal time for training because there are fewer games and more need for specialized instruction and team-building work. As competitions pick up in the middle of the season, intense training should wind down, allowing players to focus more on running drills and mastering complex game patterns instead of conditioning or hard training. As the season winds down, coaches can increase the level of training if they feel that their team is not already overworked. For some teams, the intensity of the competition will be too much, and increasing a training program would cause them to be over-trained. Pay close attention to your team and their needs to create a program that keeps everyone safe and healthy. Avoid conditioning activities that are potentially harmful Players should never be put in a situation where their health or safety is put at risk. Improper conditioning or too intense training are potentially harmful for players and should be avoided. To ensure that you are providing a safe conditioning environment for your players, do the following: •Measure ability at the beginning of the season so you know your players’ starting points •Monitor activity so that players are increasing weight and repetitions appropriately •Alternate training with skills development so that players are never overworked •Look for signs of overtraining and mandate an adequate rest period •Create an environment of safety so that players will bring you any concerns or physical problems •Understand the stress that different exercises place on the body and make adjustments as necessary, such as moving to a different surface, distributing weight evenly, and ensuring proper form on all exercises All coaches want success for their teams, and having strong, healthy players is the best way to find that success. However, coaches can get caught up in seeing results from conditioning and forgetting the impact it can have on the rest of practice. With practice and constraint, coaches can see both the results they want from conditioning as well as the maintenance of healthy, happy players. Test Your Sports Coaching IQ Do you know at what age it is considered safe to allow young athletes to begin weight training?

Find out the answer by completing the American Coaching Academy's free online coaching IQ quiz:
Online Sports Coaching Certification Quiz By Elise Jackson Published: 5/9/2008


				
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