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Overtraining Syndrome

A successful training involves a progressive loading with periods of overloading to increase the body’s performance capacity. This overtraining phase is beneficial when followed by adequate rest periods to allow the body to recuperate or supercompensate to achieve an increase in performance. This process is referred
to as functional overreaching and it engages the 3 key recovery pillers (nutrition, hydration, sleep) amongst others.

Failure to involve rest periods or an insufficient recovery leads to maladaptation which in the long run results in overtraining syndrome which has undesirable effects on athletes performance. Common errors that may predispose to this include: lack of progression in training load, a load-rest imbalance or too many competitions,
poor nutrition and psychosocial problems (relationship problems, problems at home or with teammates, the coach or parents).

Overtraining Syndrome is preceeded by a period of non-functional stagnation in performance and the athlete usually has fatigue, constant muscle soreness, poor sleep and high stress levels. If identified early and addressed recovery can be achieved within a few weeks time. If not corrected it leads to a Prolonged state of overtraining syndrome characterized by hormonal, neuroendocrine dysfunction, glycogen depletion and chronic stress and the athlete develops persistent fatigue, mood disturbance, hormonal and metabolic disturbance which ultimately affects their performance due to inability to sustain intense exercises over a prolonged period. Recovery from overtraining syndrome take several months therefore it is important to prevent this.

Periodization refers to a concept of systematic progression or planned manipulation of training variables (load, sets and repetitions) in order to maximize training adaptations and to prevent onset of overtraining syndrome.

There are different models that can be adopted and this is quite handy to apply especially during the return
to play period and these may also be used in rehabilitation of an injured athlete. Periodized training works by varying the load on the neuromuscular system in order to drive adaptation and minimize fatigue. Along with that
it has an added benefit in avoiding training plateus or boredom for the athlete due to its variability.

As the BFA medical committee along with PCMA, Health and safety compliance plus Injury prevention methods we advice teams to engage with their physical trainers to look into football periodization and its different models for adoption in their training routine for maximal athlete performance benefits.

NB: It is important to have the athlete with prolonged fatigue to be evaluated by a sports physician to rule out any other associated medical, nutritional or psychosocial deficiencies that may present this way.


Preparations going accordingly

Zebras assistant coach Keitumetse Paul says Batswana should not be bothered by Zambia and support their team at this point in time. Paul said the technical team had to strategize on how they will get the team in the shape that is needed ahead of the AFCON qualifier.

Paul, who is also the national under 20 head coach, said he was currently taking charge of the Zebras in the absence of head-coach Adel Amrouche. Amrouche is set to return from Belgium this Friday. Paul highlighted that the head-coach is very much in charge of the team as he gives direction on training session, and is consulted on daily progress.

Paul highlighted the importance of supporting the Zebras. He said the Zebras have the heart and they are fearless as they continue to prepare for Novembers international games.

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