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Over Training in Sports

The standards for competitive sports for all levels from youth to professional have elevated. This reoccurring trend is not necessarily a bad thing; however, the emphasis is being placed more on quantity than quality of training. When the intensity, duration, and frequency of training is too high with insufficient recovery, training becomes harmful versus beneficial. If the quality of training is high then there should be no reason to compensate with extra conditioning or trainings in addition to what is already required.


Average youth soccer academy player.

Team Practice: 3-4/week (2 hours each) = 6-8 hours/week

Required Strength and Conditioning: 1x/week = 1 hour/week

Additional outside trainings/personal training: 1-2x/week (1-2 hours)= 1-4 hours/week

Competition/Games: 1-2/week (2 hours + 1 hour for warm up = 3 hours)= 3-6 hours a week

Total: 11-19 hours of training

Number of days of rest? Often equates to 1 day but more commonly no days off. Not only is this such a high demand placed on athletes, but not regulating the intensity and duration places athletes at a high risk for overtraining.

Signs & Symptoms of Overtraining

-     Persistent muscle soreness

-     Increase in frequency of injuries

-     Lack of energy/fatigue/tired

-     Decrease in performance

-     Lowered immune system (increase number of illnesses)

-     Irritability

-     Depression

-     Restlessness

-     Insomnia

-     Change/lack of a menstrual cycle

These are signs and symptoms of overtraining that coaches, teammates, parents, and the athletes themselves that need to be aware of. Sometimes overloading athletes is apart of the designated program but only if the athlete monitored by an experienced and certified professional. When an athlete is demonstrating these signs and symptoms they need recovery, not more practicing. Consult a certified coach or sports performance professional to monitor your training program and be aware of the signs of overtraining because it can actually inhibit sports performance than increase it. Quality over quantity AND recover.

Melissa Garcia is a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist at Compete Sports Performance and Rehab in Lake Forest, California.