Being a former student athlete and knowing what the daily grind of a student athletes life is like, I often find myself asking whether or not my student athletes are overtraining. Many student athletes train almost 7 days a week, whether it’s for the one sport they try to excel in or the multiple sports they participate in. Although this may lead to short term improvement in sport performance it usually ends of taking a toll on their bodies in terms of movement, fatigue and stiff/sore muscles.
For myself overtraining would always show with increased stiffness in my hamstrings. One of the ways that I combatted this was by starting to take more active recovery days where I would either foam roll or do yoga. I’ve found since I’ve started this that the stiffness in my hamstrings has dramatically decreased. My inchworms and being able to touch my toes has drastically improved as a result. Although I don’t do it as often as I should, acupuncture has worked wonders. For those that are unfamiliar with acupuncture, it helps to promote increased oxygen and blood flow to the region the needles are inserted into.
Working with children some of the overtraining signs that I look out for is if they specialize in one sport. As much as a child may have their mind on going pro, it is important they play a variety of sports at least until they are in grade 11. There’s so many skills that can be translated from one sport to another and usually one sport specialization too early leads to burn out. Another sign that a child may be overtraining is if they play one sport but are on multiple teams. Practice and game schedule may not allow them enough time to rest. Sometimes with children that play multiple sports, they may overtrain when they don’t have offseason or adequate rest from one season to the next.
For all the trainers and parents out there with student athletes, I’d encourage you to study the Health Institutes 4 Pillars of Health to make sure your student athlete isn’t overtraining. Make sure they are getting adequate rest and recovery, hydration and nutrition to combat overtraining.
Health Coach, CanFit Pro PTS, 200-hour Yoga Instructor, Sekhem Practitioner