For numerous reasons, martial art classes have a reputation for a high dropout rate. Often it is the fault of the instructor for not responding to the individual needs of the students. Sometimes it is the fault of the students having an unrealistic view of what Taekwondo training is all about. But what about those students who are progressing well, training hard, and then, suddenly, they just disappear. These are the students who are usually victims of "overtraining burnout."
Overtraining can take many forms such as training extra hard for an upcoming belt exam. Some students seem to eat, sleep, and live Taekwondo. Constant heavy training may stress the mind and the body to the point of injury, illness, or mental exhaustion. This in turn, may result in long layoffs, setbacks in training, and ultimately depression and drop out.
Two things instructors may do to avoid overtraining burnout are: teaching students how to recognize and avoid the problem, and teaching them patience and the idea that training is a lifelong pursuit.
Symptoms of overtraining may be physical fatigue, mental fatigue, recurring muscle strains, weight loss, increase in blood pressure, frustration, depression, or a marked lack of progress in spite of constant, hard training. Often, if students do not recognize these as symptoms of overtraining, they will increase their training to reverse the symptoms, which increases the deleterious effects.
To avoid overtraining, teach students to allow time for both physical and mental rebuilding between workouts. Teach them to read their bodies so that they can effectively vary their training intensity, duration, and frequency. Mentally, they must have other interests to occupy their minds and allow them to rest.
Training is a means to an end, but an end that can never be attained. Training is a lifetime endeavor. Attaining a black belt is not the end, attaining a ninth degree black belt is not the end. The end comes when we die. Since training never ends, overtraining will not get you to end quicker. What is a normal training level for a 20 year old may be overtraining for a 50 year old. Students must learn to pace themselves for a lifetime of training.