Help your athletes get better sleep when the stakes are high

Research shows athletes can improve their performance - in training and in competition - by getting extra sleep. Yet when the stakes are high at championship competitions, it can be harder and harder to fall asleep. 

Athletes can have stress and anxiety going into these competitions that make falling asleep a real challenge. If they are well rested and full of energy as coaches want them to be - ready to tap into peak performance - it can make falling asleep even harder. How do you deal with this dichotomy?

Here are 4 tips you can share with your athletes:

1. Be intentional

Set up an environment where you can:

  • Feel safe - doors locked, windows closed
  • Remain undisturbed - let people know you are going to sleep, use the restroom
  • Get comfortable and warm

Take time to create the conditions where you can be totally relaxed. If noise disturbs you try some earplugs. If there is a lot of light coming into the room, try an eye mask.

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How do you elevate others?

When I was a young swimmer, I remember one of my coaches telling our team, "You either add to and contributing or you take away from the overall mission of our team. Which will you choose to do?" 

This simple statement helped me bring more on the days I didn't have the energy to really bring 'it'. It made an impact on me. 

As a coach

One season we placed a piggy bank outside the locker room. At the end of practice each person would evaluate themselves - on a 1 to 10 scale. They put coins in or they had to make a withdrawal - based on what they had given or taken from the team that day. 

I realized how connected they were to tangible results (like how fast they had gone that day) and how disconnected they were from the bigger picture (working hard, being competitive, staying positive, encouraging others, being disciplined, etc.). This provided a great opportunity for a discussion.

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4 ways to help your athletes get better sleep when the stakes are high

Research shows athletes can improve their performance - in training and in competition - by getting extra sleep. Yet when the stakes are high at championship competitions, it can be harder and harder to fall asleep. 

Athletes can have stress and anxiety going into these competitions that make falling asleep a real challenge. If they are well rested and full of energy as coaches want them to be - ready to tap into peak performance - it can make falling asleep even harder. How do you deal with this dichotomy?

Here are 4 tips you can share with your athletes.

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3 productivity traps and 1 different approach

There are tons of books, blogs, and articles these days on productivity. There are plenty of things you can buy: day-planners, pomodoro timers, and an endless array of apps...all in an effort to try and help the most driven people in the world get more done.

Though a few of these tactics and products may be effective...there are a few traps people fall into. The most important piece I've discovered is the real productivity secret lies within you. 

TRAP #1

The belief that managing your time is only the key to being productive

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What's your vision this season?

Lots of coaches ask me how to go about writing a season plan. In my sport of swimming, I think coaches are mostly asking about the x's and o's: ie. having a structured progression based on yardage totals, the breakdown of aerobic and anaerobic training, specific test sets, taper schedule, etc.

To be honest, I was never really able to work that way as a coach. I would start out trying to write out these elaborate season plans...because I thought that's what coaches had to do. I learned that the x's and o's would come - without all the need for specificity. That - to me - was more intuitive.

What was most important - for me - was to get clear on my overall vision for the team and then reverse engineer how to build it.

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Who will you put on your board of directors

written by Erica Quam

Successful organizations - from corporations to non-profits - bring in people who play a specific role to support the overall mission and vision of the group.

Many coaches I know try to do it all themselves. And they struggle. I used to be one of those coaches.

Do you surround yourself with people who will help play different roles in your success? If not, why not?

There are so many people in this crazy world of athletics who will tear you down, drain your energy, and burn you out: from athlete and administrators to parents and other coaches. You have to be on the offensive. Be proactive - to tip the scale the other way. When 90% of the messages you hear are negative…you have to be intentional to bring in the positive.

You get to choose who “sits in your front row”: who you give your time, energy, & attention to. Make sure you surround yourself with champions!

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