Prevalence of Psychological Traits of Overtraining amongst Elite Male Field Hockey and Soccer Players in Top National Leagues in Kenya
Ndambiri, Richard Karani
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The literature supports that overtraining is characterised by psychological disturbances. The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of psychological markers of overtraining amongst elite male hockey and soccer players in top national leagues in Kenya. The study was limited to selected mood states of anger, confusion, depression, fatigue, tension and vigour that are applicable when assessing the mood states of athletes in exercise settings. Association between mood states of elite male hockey and soccer players and demographic characteristics of type of sport, age category, playing experience, playing position and starting status were also examined. The study hypothesized that there is no significant difference in players’ demographic characteristics of type of sport, age, level of experience, playing position and starting status on the mood states of anger, confusion, depression, fatigue, tension and vigour among elite male hockey and soccer players in the Kenyan top National leagues. The study provided information on markers of overtraining amongst elite male hockey and soccer players in Kenyan top National leagues. There is paucity of literature regarding overtraining in Kenya and thus a gap exists in establishing the prevalence of psychological markers of overtraining amongst elite male field hockey and soccer players in top national leagues. The target population for the study comprised elite male hockey and soccer players in top national leagues in Kenya. In both groups (hockey and soccer), a total of 324 participants (162 hockey players and 162 soccer players) were sampled through stratified random sampling at the beginning of the league (pre-test). A total of 232 participants (116 hockey players and 116 soccer players) were included in the study resulting into response rate of 71.6%. The research adopted quasi- experimental research design. The research adopted the standard version of the Profile of Mood State questionnaire (POMS). Data were coded and analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS version 22.0). T-test was used to determine whether there was any significant difference between the mood state profiles of hockey and soccer players and between starters and substitute players. One-Way ANOVA was used to test the data relating to age, playing experience and playing position and the subscales of overtraining at a significance level of P≤ 0.05. Results indicated that the two groups (elite male hockey and soccer players) differed significantly as far as mood state profiles were concerned. Also, the results indicated that in hockey, there was a significant difference in change in tension between players in 1-3 years’ level of playing experience and those who were in the 7-9 years’ level of experience. In addition, results revealed that there was a significant difference between defender and attacker positions with regards to change in fatigue in soccer. The results further showed that there were no significant differences in the mood state profiles among players in varying age groups, playing experience and starters and substitute players of hockey and soccer players. In conclusion, the study revealed that psychological markers of overtraining were prevalent among elite male hockey and soccer players unlike on the demographic characteristic of age, level of experience, playing position and starting status. The study therefore recommended that there is need for coaches and other stakeholders to assess their players’ mood states during the season, examine players’ mood states in different experience levels as well as investigate players’ mood states in different playing positions. The study makes recommendations for policy, practice and further research.