With the increased demands of school, club and county commitments many GAA players as young as 16 are already feeling the effects of overtraining on body and mind. Here is our specific guide to what to look for at all age levels.

GAA players are being asked to train longer and harder to match what the other team is doing, but conditioning in any sport requires a balance between overload and recovery, too much hard training without adequate rest and recovery can actually lead to a decrease in performance.



The best way of objectively measure signs of overtraining is by documenting your heart rates over time. If your resting heart rate increases over a period of time and you are experiencing some of the above symptoms then you may be heading for overtraining syndrome.

Tracking your resting heart rate each morning is another way of testing for burnout – if over time there is an increase from the norm this may indicate that you aren’t fully recovered from training.

It is important to learn to listen to what your body is signalling to you and rest when you feel tired.

Common warning signs and symptoms:

  1. Tired, drained, lack of energy
  2. Mild muscle aches and pains
  3. Joint pain
  4. Sudden drop in performance
  5. Decrease in training capacity/ intensity
  6. Less immune to illness (increased colds and sore throats etc)
  7. Irritable and moody
  8. Loss of enthusiasm for sport
  9. Loss of appetite
  10. Increased instances of injury


If you suspect you are overtraining, start the following.

  1. Rest and Recover - Reduce or stop exercise and allow yourself a few days rest.
  2. Hydrate - Drink plenty of fluids and alter your diet if necessary.
  3. Get a sports massage - Helps relax you mind and body.
  4. Cross Training - Been hard at it on the club pitch for too long? What about a swim or hill walk? – lift your mind and exert different muscle groups

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