Friday 9 December 2016

Colm O'Rourke: Ignoring the burnout problem won't make it go away

The spring fixtures logjam is a symptom of a greater malaise, says Colm O'Rourke

Published 11/12/2011 | 05:00

The closed season in football is as open as it could possibly be. All right, there are no games but almost everything else goes for county teams. There are very few counties, if any, not training in some collective form or other as county boards have decided to ignore one of their own regulations.

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Of course they will argue that these sessions are not sanctioned by them, they are not paying travelling, medical or any other expenses so even if all the players show up at the same place at the same time it does not mean they are engaging in some form of collective training. In the same way, just because something looks like a duck and walks like a duck does not mean it is a duck.

It looks as if the days of the blanket closed season are numbered anyway. This was only part of a wide-ranging strategy of a committee that I was part of a few years ago. Many of the more important items were defeated at Congress which left the idea of a closed season look a little foolish in isolation. Its main purpose was to give some form of a break in activity to players who were feeling the effects of burnout, a phrase coined to describe the harmful effects of too much training and competition on both the body and mind of a young player.

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