March 26, 2024

How to deal with the increasingly complex scheduling of games? A potential approach from the field of Psychology

March 26, 2024

How to deal with the increasingly complex scheduling of games? A potential approach from the field of Psychology

The interest of Psychology in Professional Football is not new, although we have witnessed in recent years a growing evolution regarding concerns about the mental health of players.

As a science, the sub-specialty of Sports Psychology focuses on identifying the psychological factors that promote excellence in performance, and in a second stage, in conjunction with other scientific areas associated with sports training, drives learning processes and training of the necessary skills to develop a successful career on the big sports stages.

For this reason, given the increasingly complex and congested season for players (and, by the way, for all those involved in their sporting performance – coaching, medical and other staff), this is naturally an area of greater concern for sports psychology specialists who are on the ground.


Burnout or Overtraining?

Although these two terms tend to be used interchangeably, in reality, overtraining is a type of physical stress (beyond what the body can bear), while burnout is a type of psychological stress characterized by physical and emotional exhaustion.

From this perspective, we could assume that if we expose athletes to a higher level of physical stress, the possibility of experiencing burnout increases exponentially.

Unlike overtraining, where taking one or two weeks off can allow the body to heal, recovering from burnout is not a quick process because it impacts two dimensions - physical and psychological - which means that the time needed to return to 100% is not a matter of weeks, but of months.



Since the source of stress (the scheduling of matches) is not controlled by the individual, the most effective measure will always be prevention, adopting lifestyles that can enhance better energy management to respond to the physical and psycho-emotional demands that an extensive schedule entails.

In practice, and as an example, some important measures to implement would be: 

  • Sleep: optimization of the number of hours and quality thereof, through the implementation of specific routines that enhance its regenerative character;
  • Nutrition: contrary to the more common "common sense" approach seen in this scientific discipline (percentage of body fat and control of skinfolds), its contribution is absolutely fundamental for introducing the energy that the body will need to cope with the physical and psycho-emotional challenges;
  • Training of psycho-emotional skills, completely overlooked in academic and even sports areas (which is why most athletes do not have sufficient mastery over them), translates into the acquisition of a set of skills that enhance better energy management in a context of continued stress, so as not to harm health (physical and mental).

In conclusion, it is worth noting that this is not just a matter for "athletes" – coaches, medical teams, and other staff are equally at risk, compromising the desired outcome.


Ana Bispo Ramires

Sports Psychology and Performance

Performance Psychology is aimed at optimizing the psycho-emotional skills of individuals (such as leadership, motivation, resilience, effort development in frustration contexts, confidence, among others), with the aim of enhancing their performance (in sports, academic, artistic, or business contexts), quality of life, and well-being.