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Is Your Athlete Suffering
from Over Training?

By Brian Grasso
CaresEditor · Filed Under Youth Hockey Training

   Today’s child athlete is pushed and pulled in many directions. While being involved in extra curricular activities helps build a well rounded child and athlete, it can also lead to serious over training issues. The following article discusses the many stressors in a child’s life than can lead to over training concerns.

   General over training syndromes impact both the central nervous system as well as the endocrine system. Given that the regulation of many hormones within the endocrine system serve to oversee and manage stress levels, it is fair to imply that general over training could be considered a stress related issue.

   Two types of general over training have been recognized:

Addisonic Over training – This version is related to Addison’s disease and involves a reduction in the activity of the adrenal glands. This class of over training impacts the parasympathetic portion of the autonomic nervous system, but shows no striking signs at first. A general stagnation or dip in an athlete’s performance (day-to-day) may be an indication or symptom.

Basedowic Over training – This version is connected to thyroid hyperactivity and named after Basedow’s disease (also known as Graves’ disease). This class of over training impacts the sympathetic portion of the autonomic nervous system and brings with it a host of identifiable symptoms (reduced reaction time, tire easily, poor motivation, appetite and sleep requirement changes).

   When considering these definitions it is imperative to take a closer look at our athletes when they walk in the door and remember that the symptoms associated with over training can be very subtle. Additionally, other emotional stressors can add to over training issues. Simple things such as conflicts with friends, difficulty with school subjects and upcoming tests can all add to the impact of over training.

   While they may seem like no big deal to an adult, it is important to think back to your school days and remember that some or all of these issues can be devastating to a kid and feel insurmountable.

   In addition to psychological stressors, there are physical ones outside of practice that can cause additional fatigue. Perhaps in gym class, your athlete has to run two miles for the school’s standardized testing requirements and then had to perform push-ups, sit-ups and rope climbing and then they have hockey practice after school. This can add greatly to a player’s fatigue without a coach even knowing.

   This is why it is crucial for a coach to generate close relationships with his athletes and ask them how they are – take 5 minutes to learn about what’s going on in their lives today. How do they feel? How was school? How are classes? Understanding athletes as people allows a coach to better guide their programming.

Editor’s Note: Thank you to Brian Grasso for this important information.


References:

Physical and Mental Training Considerations

Resources:

The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organization/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

Principles of sports training: Course Development:

  
Developing A Training Plan
  

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