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This study reports results from the first phase of a large-scale research project designed to examine burnout in competitive junior tennis players. Thirty junior tennis burnout and 32 comparison players, identified by U.S. Tennis Association personnel, voluntarily completed a battery of psychological assessments. A series of discriminant function analyses and univariate t-tests revealed that burned out, as contrasted to comparison players, had significantly: (a) higher burnout scores; (b) less input into training; (c) were more likely to have played high school tennis; (d) more likely played up in age division; (e) practiced fewer days; (f) were lower in external motivation; (g) were higher in amotivation; (h) reported being more withdrawn; (i) differed on a variety of perfectionism subscales; (j) were less likely to use planning coping strategies; and (k) were lower on positive interpretation and growth coping. It was concluded that in addition to a variety of personal and situational predictors of burnout, perfectionism plays a particularly important role.
Daniel Gould is with the Department of Exercise & Sport Science at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27412-5001. Eileen Udry is with the Department of Exercise & Movement Studies at the University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403. Suzanne Tuffey is with the Sport Science & Technology Division of the U.S. Olympic Committee. James Loehr is with Loehr-Groppel Sport Science, Orlando, FL.