Ying and Yang: Training Load and Recovery Time

I hope everyone had a wonderful and restful Easter.  In my last post, I wrote about how baseball rewards the persistent athlete.  It rewards the “grinder.”  This post is a reminder that the “yang” to the “ying” of being a grinder, is rest.  All athletes, in any sport, need rest.  It may be rest to allow the body to physically heal and recover, or it can be a rest to allow an athlete’s mind to slow down and re-energize.  When the an athlete’s training load is not balanced properly with recovery, training may become counterproductive and there can be a decline in performance.    This is normally termed “burnout.”  What are the signs of burnout?  Check out these symptoms adapted from information from the Mayo Clinic.

  • Loss of interest and passion toward training and games
  • Declining attitude during training and games.  Experiencing negative, sarcastic, or cynical attitudes.
  • Decreased motivation to go to practice or to train
  • Increased irritability and impatience toward teammates and coaches, and toward training goals or performance
  • Feelings of an inability to overcome barriers (real or perceived) within your sport
  • Lack of energy or motivation
  • Difficulty in finding satisfaction with your achievements
  • Inability to laugh at yourself, or enjoy your activity

If you are experiencing any of these, it is time for a break.  Be sure to allow yourself adequate time to rest yourself physically, emotionally, and psychologically. 

What can yo do to turn things around?  What can you do if you are feeling burned out?  Here are a few things that can help you get back on track.

Focus on things that are in your control.  Signs of burnout can often result from feelings of being overwhelmed.  Too much practice, too many games, too studying…it can feel as though things are out of control.  Focus on your time management, your effort, and your level of concentration on the task at hand.

Take the time to re-define your goals and expectations.  It is easy to lose sight of these when mentally fatigued, or physically injured.  Remind yourself of what you are trying to accomplish.

Re-evaluate your values.  Feelings of guilt can creep in if your values are not lined up with what you are trying to accomplish.  Evaluate what is important to you and manage your time to make what is important to you a priority in your routine.

Change your routine regularly.  Monotony, doing the same thing the same way all the time, or the opposite, being completely disorganized, with nothing being the same at any time, can create situations in which there is constant effort to create motivation, or planning.  These can wear on you over time.


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