Overtraining and too much practice backfire because they alter normal human mental and physical performance during competition.

Doctors suspect “Overtraining Syndrome” when Athletes are unable to perform their normal skills and capabilities competently, lack their normal athletic agility, are mentally and physically exhausted and apathetic.

Yes. Overtraining Syndrome results in both mental and physical pathology. When you overpractice defense and other drills, neither offense or defense will succeed during the game that follows. The balance between practice and rest/recovery are key.

Overtraining Syndrome is a diagnosis by sports medicine and other specialists. However it lacks an exact ICD-9 diagnostic, presently.

“The following are rules and regulations set forth by the NCAA and Big Ten regarding practice hours.


“Daily and Weekly Hour Limitations (during the academic year)
• Apply to countable athletically related activities which include any required activity with an athletics
purpose involving student-athletes and occur at the direction of, or supervised by, one or more of an
institution’s coaching staff, including strength and conditioning coaches.
• Participation is limited to a maximum of:
o 4 hours per day.
o 20 hours per week.

“Noncountable Athletically Related Activities
• Voluntary weight training not conducted by a coach or staff member.
• Voluntary sport-related activities (e.g., initiated by student-athlete, no attendance taken, no coach present

“Training, conditioning and practice can be either
• Voluntary – self imposed for both team or individual sports
• Coach Enforced – for both team or individual sports

But the coaches know the Athletes that do not attend the Noncountable Athletically Related Voluntary Activities and poor attendance usually counts against the Athlete’s playing time.

“We conclude that strenuous, sustained physical training results in a high incidence of medical conditions and musculoskeletal injury in trainees. Given this high morbidity, recommending limits on the amount and intensity of exercise seems prudent.” [Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine 3:229-234, Musculoskeletal and Medical Morbidity Associated with Rigorous Physical Training, Jerry M. Linenger, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., *Scott Flinn, M.D., *Bruce Thomas, M.D., andChrisanna Weech Johnson, M.P.H. May 24,1994 Division of Epidemiology, Department of Health Sciences and Epidemiology, Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, California 92186, and *Naval Special Warfare Center, Naval]

“Overtraining is the downside of training, the trap that can derail an athlete’s success. It’s a real physical condition caused by pushing too hard for too long. It can happen with too much exercise, too much intense exercise, or both. Its hallmarks are poor performances, exhaustion and apathy.”[ Dr. William Kraus, a runner himself and a cardiologist at Duke University]

“The spark is gone.” “they find themselves trapped in a downward spiral. The harder they train, the worse they do.” Dr. William O. Roberts, an internist at the University of Minnesota who specializes in treating athletes and is a former president of the American College of Sports Medicine.

“If overtraining has occurred, “it’s a long road back,” Dr. Keteyian said. “The only cure is to take weeks or months off. No athlete wants that,” Dr. Keteyian said Dr. Steven Keteyian, the director of preventive cardiology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

“Besides slower times and fatigue, Dr. Keteyian and others say “athletes may notice that their muscles are weaker and that their coordination is poorer. Their heart rates may be higher than they should be with moderate exercise. And their resting heart rates, taken first thing in the morning, can be higher, too.”

“Overtraining is an unintended consequence of the only known way for athletes to improve — by pushing their bodies and stressing themselves by deliberately going faster or longer than feels comfortable. “Training a little bit beyond your capabilities is the only way to get better,” Dr. Kraus said. “But you have to balance that with rest and recovery. It’s a fine line. Where is that edge and how do you get as close as possible without going over it?”

[When Training Backfires: Hard Work That’s Too Hard, By GINA KOLATA, September 3, 2008, New York times]

“Players in the NCAA’s Division I football bowl subdivision say they devote more than 43 hours a week to the sport during the season, and those in a couple of other sports — baseball and men’s basketball — approach that commitment, an NCAA study shows.

“NCAA rules say coaches can take only 20 hours a week of their players’ time, regardless of the sport, and recent sanctions against Michigan’s football program underscore that. The Wolverines self-imposed reductions in practice time and the NCAA placed them on probation through November 2013 for practice and training violations.

“In its survey, conducted last year and released during the NCAA’s annual convention here, the association asked players to count both required and voluntary activities.

• Football players said they spent an average of 43.3 hours on their sport — playing games, practicing, training and in the training room — compared with 38 hours on academics.

• Division I baseball players said they spent a little more than 42 hours on their sport and a little less than 32 on academics. In men’s basketball, it was slightly more than 39 hours on their sport vs. 37-plus on academics.

• Women’s basketball was only a little less time-intensive, its players saying they spent more than 37½ hours a week on their game and not quite 39 on academics.

Another area of the survey was unflattering to women’s hoops.

“Just 39% said their head coach can be trusted.

“A little more than 33% said they’d prefer to spend less time with their coaches, compared with 21% in all other women’s sports and 21% in men’s basketball.

“Only 50% of all Division I men’s basketball players said they felt their coaches were as interested in fairness as in winning. In baseball, it was 43%. Football coaches scored highest, a still-modest 57%.

“The proportion of players who trusted their coaches ran much the same: 50% in men’s basketball, 52% in baseball, 56% in football.

[NCAA survey delves into practice time, coaches’ trust, by Steve Wieberg, USA TODAY 1/15/2011]

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