How To Take The 'Suck' Out Of Traveling With Your Team

Team travel can be stressful and challenging.

What can you do to make the best of your time on the road?

The Denver Blizzard

It was my first NCAA Championship as a head coach at WSU. We were traveling to Auburn, Alabama. I decided it would be a good opportunity for me to look especially professional - so I wore my best suit and heels. (BTW: I never ever wore a suit...or heels...I coached swimming!)

The one athlete we took that year was a senior. It was her first NCAA Championships. It would be her last. 

We flew from Seattle to Denver and were on our connecting flight from Denver to Atlanta when the pilot got on the plane and said, "I'm sorry. The Denver Airport has grounded all flights due to snow." 

Shit.

I snapped into go-mode without even thinking, called our travel agent on campus who booked the last hotel room and rental car in the Denver vicinity. We spent the next 72 hours walled up in a completely booked hotel - 7 miles from the airport - waiting out the blizzard of 2003 with only our carry-on luggage. Meaning, I was wearing the same suit and high heels for 3 days+ including the 2 hours it took me to dig our rental car out of the snow to get back to the Denver Airport.

There's a very happy ending to that awful story: Lindsay Henahan (now Tuschong...who eventually came back to WSU as my assistant coach for 3 years) finally made it to the NCAA Championships in time to swim her best event - the 100 Butterfly.

We arrived into Auburn at 2am that morning. With as little warm-up as possible, Lindsay shot out of the blocks...like a bullet. Not even an epic blizzard stopped her from reaching her goal of becoming an NCAA All-American. She made it into the consolation finals in the 15th spot and scored 1 point that year for WSU!

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How to take the 'suck' out of traveling with your team

Travel can be stressful and challenging. Especially for coaches traveling with teams! There's no way around it. You are going to have some competitions at home. You are going to have some competitions away. What can you do to make the best of your time on the road?

Travel horror story

It was my first NCAA Championship as a head coach at WSU. We were traveling to Auburn, Alabama. I decided it would be a good opportunity for me to look especially professional - so I wore my best suit and heels. (BTW: I never ever wore a suit...or heels...I coached swimming!)

The one athlete we took that year was a senior. It was her first NCAA Championships. It would be her last. 

We flew from Seattle to Denver and were on our connecting flight from Denver to Atlanta when the pilot got on the plane and said, "I'm sorry. The Denver Airport has grounded all flights due to snow." 

Shit.

I snapped into go-mode without even thinking, called our travel agent on campus who booked the last hotel room and rental car in the Denver vicinity. We spent the next 72 hours walled up in a completely booked hotel - 7 miles from the airport - waiting out the blizzard of 2003 with only our carry-on luggage. Meaning, I was wearing the same suit and high heels for 3 days+ including the 2 hours it took me to dig our rental car out of the snow to get back to the Denver Airport.

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3 ways to shift your pattern of reacting to maintain a sense of calm as you travel

These days traveling can be a challenge. Especially for those of us who like to have a lot of control. How many variables - during our travel day - are actually out of our control? The list is long! 

On the way to the airport, we don't have control of how much traffic we'll face.  At the airport, we can't control long lines, stressed out people, or flight cancellations & delays.  Once we're on the plane, there's no way to control the people we're around much less how long we'll sit on the runway as we wait in line to takeoff.

A long day of travel - by yourself or with a whole team - can leave you stressed with anxiety and depleted of patience. It's really easy to get hooked or triggered into a pattern of reacting to all of the many circumstances - that are actually out of our control. 

Is there a way to change our perspective and stay grounded?

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