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Daniel Gould, Suzanne Tuffey, Eileen Udry and James Loehr

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practiced fewer days; (f) were lower in external motivation; (g) were higher in amotivation; (h) reported being more withdrawn; (i) differed on a variety of perfectionism subscales; (j) were less likely to use planning coping strategies; and (k) were lower on positive interpretation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.

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Daniel Gould, Suzanne Tuffey, Eileen Udry and James Loehr

This article reports findings from the second phase of a larger research project designed to examine burnout in competitive junior tennis players. This phase of the project was qualitative in nature and involved two components. First, interviews were conducted with 10 individuals who were identified as being most burned out in the quantitative phase (Phase 1) of the project. Content analyses of the 10 respondents’ interviews identified mental and physical characteristics of burnout, as well as reasons for burning out. Recommendations for preventing burnout in players, parents, and coaches also were gleaned. Second, the 10 individual cases were examined in light of the major tenants of the three existing models of athlete burnout. Results from the examination of the burnout models suggested that burnout is best thought of in terms of Smith’s (1986) chronic stress model with physical and social psychological strains falling under it.

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Daniel Gould, Eileen Udry, Suzanne Tuffey and James Loehr

This is the third in a series of manuscripts reporting results from a research project designed to examine burnout in competitive junior tennis players. Individual differences in burnout are examined by discussing idiographic profiles from three athletes who were identified as having burned out in the earlier phases of the project. These cases were chosen as they represented different substrains of social psychologically driven and physically driven burnout. In particular, the three cases included: (a) a player characterized by high levels of perfectionism and overtraining; (b) a player who experienced pressure from others and a need for a social life; and (c) a player who was physically overtrained and had inappropriate goals. It was concluded that although important patterns result from content analyses across participants, the unique experience of each individual must be recognized.