I know many programs are into their prescribed “dead week”… the mandatory week off dictated by state high school activity associations. I just finished up a few days away in tropical Key West (see post The View From 30,000 Feet) myself. Here is what I have come to really realize over the last few months.
I think coaches, for the most part, are worriers. I am for sure. As coaches we are putting a piece of ourselves out on display, and that alone is a stressful thing.
We worry about …
- the weather,
- our athlete’s grades,
- practice plans,
- installation progression,
- our assistant coaches,
- our athletes making good decisions,
- scholarship opportunities for our athletes,
- lesson plans,
- scouting reports… and much more!
Even though some of it is well placed, all that worrying clogs up your brain. I know that is not the scientific name for what happens, but that is what it feels like in my brain. And a good chunk of these worries are things that we as coaches (or athletes) have no control over. So worrying is wasted mental effort.
When I have been able to really free my mind from worries, productive, creative, problem solving, intuitive, work follows…. it literally spews.
The trick is how to do that. I don’t have any great answers. I do know that when I can completely “get away”, I return refreshed and more productive (see post Recharging). The problem is, of course, that you can’t completely “get away” in the middle of your season. Maybe your individual answer is to find a way to take small “mental vacations” during the grind that we love. Maybe a quick run or workout is a way to do that… maybe meditation is your answer… maybe a break where you pull out a good book (one that is not related to your sport!) and read for few minutes can be your mental vacation ticket. I had a visit with Bob Stoops during recruiting one year, and he said that when he was at the University of Florida with Steve Spurrier, he (coach Spurrier) encouraged the entire staff to get out and play golf once a week.
I am not sure about the best method to get there, but I am quite sure about the results. I am a much better teacher and coach when I can leave worry behind.
Jeff Floyd – firstname.lastname@example.org