In the previous 2 posts, Diagnosing and Monitoring Overtraining we have looked at the issues surrounding overtraining and how we can detect when it is occurring. This is more of a treatment of an issue more than a prevention.
This post will look at how to prevent it from happening in the first place. This is the best course of action as it creates a sustainable environment to ensure training can carry on at full intensity without the athlete burning out and needing to take prolonged rests or unnecessarily miss training through injury.
So what factors are import to avoid overtraining?
If you train one muscle everyday and give it no time to recover it will fatigue. This also occurs mentally, if you are doing the same training all the time, the player will become bored, mentally tired, and lacking in motivation. This will affect training levels and improvement. Varying training styles, exercises, areas of focus will help avoid this. It also makes more efficient training, from muscle standpoints. different types of training will work different muscles and therefore allow some of the muscles to recover. As any bodybuilder will tell you, you never train everything
Keep A Diary!
I mentioned this in the last post for monitoring for overtraining but it is so important that it is worth mentioning again. If you keep a diary of your training, your diet, your emotions you will be able to notice the normal patterns and then plan ahead to suit your training to these patterns. If training in the evening is leaving you consistently over-exhausted then look at if it is possible to train earlier. Focusing on improving weaknesses before matches is consistently leaving you low on confidence in those matches, alter your training plan to work on them earlier and strengths closer to the matches. (Look out for an upcoming post giving an example of training diaries I have used with athletes and better idea of how and what to include)
Train Smarter not always Harder!
I have a whole series of seminars based on this principle. Even the top professionals of any sport will not train more than 8 hours a day for any extended period of time. If that is your only job, then you might wonder why more people don't decide to train 9 or 10 hours a day to get an advantage over the others... the reason- because humans only have so much physical and mental capacity to train. Therefore the key is to make those hours more effective than other competitors. Having clear goals to each training session, spending time away from the actual training analysing training and matches, there are many things you can do to train smarter. (Check out the services part of this website to look into booking the TRAIN SMART, PLAY SMART seminars).
Factor sufficient rest into your regular training plan!
Pushing yourself is a key component of improving, in anything you do. However, if you push too far something will break! Instead of working out your rest days/sessions/holidays as and when you feel you need them, plan them in advance. Often you can be swayed by your motivation levels, pressure to improve your poor recent performances, the fact you do not feel `toooo bad` and do that extra training session that you regret the morning after when it means you are too stiff or sore or tired and have to miss twice as many sessions than you had planned to in order to recover.
This is not saying that you shouldn't alter your training plan. The opposite! Your training plan should be constantly evolving to suit your body and mind! But this should be done over a longer period of time. The technical terms some coaches use is macro- and micro-cycles, but basically it means long-term and short-term plans to enable you to play your best when you need to. Changing training plans every week will not provide a sustainable, stable base of training from which to improve most efficiently.
So that is the end of the Overtraining series. Did you find this helpful? Is there anything you have learned from your experience you can add to this? Leave comments below!
As always check out the rest of the website for more tips and also how you can contact me for more individualised performance enhancement training... There is only so much general principles can help unique individuals.
Think your way to a better performance!
Looking to gain that extra edge on your sporting performance? Trying to calm that temper? Or hold back those nerves?
Trying to train your players more efficiently? and help them deal better in match situations?
Then this is the place for you! Brain SPEC is the product of Mark Simpson. A table tennis player himself he is using his experiences and what he has learned from his sport psychology training to help you enhance your own or your players' performances!