My favorite productivity tricks for coaches

One of the things I work with coaches on is their mindset around time management.

It's less about managing your time. It's more about managing yourself.

A question I start with is, "What activity do you begin your day with?"

Most coaches answer, "I check my phone to see what emails or texts came in that I have to get to."

The next question I ask is,  "After you check your phone, what comes next?"

Most coaches verbalize how checking their phone leads them down a rabbit hole. Some coaches say they can easily spend the next hour on email alone. Others jump from email to text or scrolling through social media. Before they know it, it's lunch time and they haven't gotten to a single thing on their to-do list.

Once coaches realize this, the next thing that happens is they get down on themselves. They feel bad because they realize the habit, yet trying to break free is a total paradox.

As a coach, you have to check your phone because there are things you need to respond to. That's your job.

And...instead of getting pulled down the rabbit hole are there a boundaries and limits you can set to keep you in the driver's seat rather than go unconscious?

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How to weather conflict with your team

Kristin's team was a few weeks into the season. Things were going well so far and yet she sensed an undercurrent of tension after morning practice. She hadn't 'heard' anything negative...she just had a 'sense'.

Then she got a text from her team captain to confirm something was definitely up...thank GOD!

At least she had her guard up before Nell (one of her freshmen) walked into her office and promptly burst into tears.

All teams (and any group) cycle through the stages of group development:

  1. Forming
  2. Storming
  3. Norming
  4. Performing

During the forming stage, your athletes are looking for ways to belong and connect. As a coach, this is when you’ll want to build trust and set boundaries - so people feel safe.

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What habits are you bringing this season? Part 3 of 3

We're taking a closer look at your daily habits in the following 3 areas:


Being a coach, means being a leader.
Being a leader means being seen. When you are out there in front of your group, you open yourself up to criticism, opinions, and feedback - both positive and negative. 

What do you take in and what do you take on?

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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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A Lesson from a Fly

The Tale of a Fly (adapted from Price Pritchett)

There's a small fly burning out the last of its short life's energies in a futile attempt to fly THROUGH the glass of a windowpane. The whining wings tell the poignant story of the fly's strategy - try harder. But it's not working. The frenzied effort offers no hope for survival. Ironically, the struggle is part of the trap. It is impossible for the fly to try hard enough to succeed at breaking through the glass. Nevertheless, this little insect has staked its life on reaching its goal - through raw effort and determination.

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What are you avoiding?

There are plenty of things in our lives that we avoid like people, commitment, fears, decisions, & even conversations.

There are some big drawbacks to the behavior of avoidance. It can be an obstacle that keeps us stuck and holds us back from reaching our full potential. We - consciously or unconsciously - waste a lot of time and energy.

Your Avoidance Inventory

  • 3 people
  • 3 decisions
  • 3 conversations

Pick the 3 things across this list that drain you the most. What's ONE action you could take in each area to address instead of avoid? What's the ideal outcome you would want?  You may find a sense of relief, just by writing things down and getting them out of your head. They will no longer occupy all of that space in your brain.

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