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Ryan C. Luke, Joanna L. Morrissey, Erin J. Reinke, Trish G. Sevene, Judith E. Canner, and Kent J. Adams

Many athletes deal with the dilemma of a short pre-season followed by a long and grueling competitive season. Unfortunately, this type of schedule puts athletes at greater risk of injury and/or development of overtraining syndrome. In order for athletes to realize optimal performance, it is vital that a coaching staff engages in and understands the rationale (physiological and psychological) behind best coaching practices to ensure that athletes are mentally and physically prepared for competition. This requires managing athletes’ mental and physical fatigue over the duration of a competitive season, which involves applying effective coaching strategies during the off-season and pre-season. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of coaching methods the Kinesiology Department faculty and the coaching staff of the women’s soccer team at California State University Monterey Bay collaborated to measure athlete preparedness for competition on a weekly basis over the duration of a competitive season. The following article is a discussion of coaching methods that are considered an example of best practice and the physiological and psychological rationale behind what we would consider to be effective strategies for managing athletes’ mental and physical fatigue and thereby increasing the chances for an athlete to realize optimal performance.