Perfectionistic athletes may train harder and for longer than non-perfectionistic athletes, leaving them susceptible to elevated levels of training distress. So far, however, no study has investigated the relationships between perfectionism and training distress, a key indicator of overtraining syndrome. Furthermore, no study has determined psychological predictors of overtraining syndrome. Using a two-wave design, the present study examined perfectionistic strivings, perfectionistic concerns and training distress in 141 junior athletes (mean age = 17.3 years, range = 16-19 years) over 3 months of active training. Multiple regression analyses were employed to test cross-sectional and longitudinal relationships between perfectionism and training distress. In all analyses, perfectionism emerged as a significant predictor, but strivings and concerns showed differential relationships. When the cross-sectional relationships were regarded, perfectionistic concerns positively predicted training distress (P < .001), whereas perfectionistic strivings negatively predicted training distress (P < .01). When the longitudinal relationships were regarded, only perfectionistic concerns predicted increases in training distress (P < .05), whereas perfectionistic strivings did not (P > .05). The findings suggest that sports scientists who wish to identify athletes at risk of overtraining syndrome may monitor athletes' perfectionistic concerns as a possible risk factor.
Keywords: Perfectionistic strivings; junior athletes; longitudinal study; overtraining; perfectionistic concerns; training distress.