How to Handle 'Back to School' Overwhelm

I work with plenty of coaches who - if they're being completely honest - struggle with feeling overwhelmed...especially at the beginning of the season.

No matter how well you've planned (or if you haven't planned at all)...and no matter how rested you feel (or if you don't feel rested at all)...the strong feelings of overwhelm can hold you back, keep you stuck, and impact the longevity of your coaching career.

Unexpected Challenges

Let's face it...the number of unexpected things you never imagined you'd have to deal with are there all of a sudden staring you square in the face. Then, you're expected to handle these situations having had no prior experience. Ready? Set? Go!

The feeling - and sometimes the brevity - is truly something you can't explain to the people in your life who aren't coaches. Your athletes certainly don't get the breadth of what you do.

The thing that can hold coaches back the most are the judgements that accompany the feelings. And the feelings of loneliness and isolation that stem from the added pressure you put on yourself...to have it all done and done perfectly.

Can you relate?

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Dealing With Feedback, Criticism, and Complaints

At the end of the season, you’re going to get feedback from your athletes, staff, and administration.

A lot of coaches - consciously or unconsciously - have a lot of stress during this time.

Couple that with the fact you’ve had a long season…and probably not much of a break.

How do you respond to criticism - from your athletes, parents, administrators, or other coaches?

Sorry to be the downer...and I'm letting you know there will always be people who judge and criticize you for actions you take and decisions you make. 

You can't escape cricitism!

It doesn't matter how hard you work, how perfect you are, or what level of success you reach...there will always be someone there to judge you.

How do you respond?

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How Do You Continue To Grow As A Coach?

Have you ever thought to yourself how amazing the coaching profession would be…if you didn’t have any difficult athletes, staff, or administrators to deal with?

Coaching is 90% how you relate to people and how they relate to you.

To be able to be relatable you have to understand yourself first. 

Plenty of coaches “hide” behind the X’s and the O’s. They think that tactics and fundamentals are the most important things and they really don’t want to even deal with other “stuff”.  

I believe it's the other “stuff” that makes a coach great!

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Your REAL Value As A Coach (HINT: It's Not What the Scoreboard Says)

I caught up with a coach the other day who was really bummed out.

She had just finished her season.

Her team had competed well, yet she was frustrated.

Her competitors also had strong performances.

Last year her team would have been four places higher in the overall team standings...with the same results. She told her team what she thought they were capable of achieving...they did it...and yet those results weren't reflected on the scoreboard.

She had originally planned to take some much needed downtime after the season.

Now, she was questioning her time off..."What would my boss say if I take time off...when what I really need is to sign another recruit to help our team next season? I don't feel we did well enough for me to deserve any kind of a break."

I'm wondering if you can relate? Have you ever felt like this? 

POST SEASON DIP

There can be a normal let down at the end of the season - no matter how well your team performed. 

Many coaches - if they're being honest - either feel flawed in some way OR feel the need to constantly prove themselves. 

Unless you've just won the national championship, there's always room to improve.

Even then, if you've talked to any national championship coach after they've won...the pressure and expectations simply go up instead of down.

It's so easy to let the results on the scoreboard define you.

It's also easy to let the outside world dictate how you FEEL about yourself.

It's easy...and it's not helpful! 

This kind of thinking makes you shrink and contract.  This kind of thinking does not move you forward. 

These kinds of thoughts don't help you grow and expand. 

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Do Your Excuses Interfere With Your Vacation?

I encourage the coaches I work with to schedule their vacations and downtime FIRST...and schedule the rest of the season around that.

It’s one of the hardest conversations that we have!

I get a lot of push back, resistance, and excuses.

Here are some typical responses (I'm wondering if you can relate?):

  1. THE NON-COMMITTAL COACH: "I can't commit to a vacation. There are way too many things that might come up."

  2. THE 'IF THEN' COACH: "If we do well enough this season, then I'll see if I can take some time off."

  3. THE PROCRASTINATOR: "I promise I'll schedule my vacation…'later'."

RESISTANCE TO VACATION IS PART OF OUR CULTURE

If you have a hard time taking vacation, you're not alone. 

In fact, the majority of Americans don't even use their hard-earned vacation time. 

Did you know that in 2015, 55 percent of Americans combined to leave 658 million vacation days unused. (GfK KnowledgePanel®)?

‘Work martyr’ an actual term. It’s a belief that vacations are difficult to take because:

  • No one else can do the work while I'm away

  • I want to show complete dedication to my job

  • I don't want others to think I'm replaceable

  • I feel guilty for using my time off

It's time to change this culture!

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5 Reminders From My 1st Year As A Head Coach

I still remember my very first day of work at Washington State University. I was a 26 year old first-year head coach.

I showed up in my boss's office on July 1st, 2002 at 8am, sharp - my backpack on, large mug of coffee in hand, ready to hit the ground running.

I was eager, wide-eyed and terrified - all at the same time.

My boss welcomed me in and then handed off to her assistant…who gave me keys to my office and a brief checklist - to set up email, schedule an HR orientation, and other 'new person' logistics. 

I walked into my dark new office that had blank walls , an empty desk, and a big ugly orange cabinet.

I didn't even have a computer yet. So, I sat there for a few minutes and just stared forward.

"Well, now what, Quam?," I asked myself. "What have you gotten yourself into?"

Here are 5 reminders I now share with new head coaches to support them through this transition:

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