Tips to Help Overcome Coach Burnout
Yesterday Florida Head Football Coach Urban Meyer unexpectedly announced his coach sports retirement from his position, citing the stress and demands from the job preventing him from spending important time with his family. While Coach Meyer may not have specifically used the word “burnout” as his reason for leaving Florida, it’s clear to sport psychologists that burnout is precisely what stopped his coaching career at this time (Peak performance for Coaches).
Today, I wrote an article for The National Examiner that includes my thoughts on coaching burnout, and some of the issues coaches commonly experience when faced by big expectations from both themselves and their team. While Urban Meyer is in the news for talking about his reasons for needing to leave Florida, many more thousands of less visible coaches nationwide not at the D1 level continue to struggle with keeping a balanced lifestyle that includes success both on and off the field. Unfortunately, no coach is immune from coaching burnout, regardless of what level they coach.In order to prevent coaching burnout from happening, coaches can benefit dramatically by following the tips provided below:
- Before taking a coaching job, be sure to balance the likely expectations that will come with the job. It’s no secret that with high profile positions comes more expectations, and more people to answer to as well. Coaches need to think about these factors before quickly jumping into a job that might soon jeopardize their health, or time that they will have to spend with their family and other loved ones.
- All coaches can benefit by making down time a priority, and not an afterthought. When coaches make it a point to regularly leave the office, shut off the cell phone, and steer clear of discussions around their sport, in essence it “recharges the battery” and helps ward off coaching burnout.
- Coaches who learn how to communicate effectively (both verbally and through other electronic means), as well as learn how to successfully multi-task and delegate duties to subordinates, are far less at risk for coach burnout. Fortunately, these are skills that can be learned and mastered.
- Coaches who feel the stress of the job also need to develop healthy and effective means for coping with stressors. When thinking about ways to cope, it is important that the activity is effective (in that it allows your mind to get away from things for a short while), as well as healthy (obviously using alcohol or drugs would not qualify).
- In really tough times, coaches should consider professional assistance – especially if the job is contributing to health problems or negative issues at home. Professional counselors can help in a number of ways, including by teaching life skills that can assist with all the non “X’s and O’s” that come with the job.
Coach burnout is a very serious concern, and one that is not going away anytime soon. It is very likely that we will only see more coaches step down in the future, as the demands of coaching and expectations for positive role modeling continue to increase – especially in high profile positions. Fortunately, there are many things coaches can do to both prevent burnout from occurring, as well as respond successfully when experiencing the symptoms of burnout.