Story of a Coach

Let me tell you a story about a coach who was hired by a top team a while back. Before this coach signed for the club, he had laid out a seemingly great plan for how he was going to avoid another experience of extreme fatigue and burn-out symptoms.

You see, in his previous job, this coach had held double roles, being both the General Manager and the Head Coach. As you can imagine, that meant more 80 – 100 hours workweeks, than 60 – 80 hours, and there was never a 40 hour workweek during that season as you might imagine!

After this experience, the coach promised himself that in his next job, he would limit himself to 10-12 hour workdays. He swore that he would make sure to have at least one day off, minimum every 10 days, and to have 2 succeeding days off at least once a month.

All of this elaborate thinking tells you that this coach had realized he had come extremely close to burn-out, and he didn’t want to experience that ever again. Taking this new job meant that his closest friends and family was 3 hours away. Now, of course, when the coach started the new job that didn’t matter much since he was so excited to get going. 

One of the first things this coach chose to do was to remodel the players lounge  to signal the start of a new era, an era of heightened success that would follow his assignment at the club –  at least that was his thinking at the time. Being a hands-on personality the coach spent a lot of time and energy participating in this remodeling to make it just perfect for when the players came back from holiday.

Now, the first month or so this coach was able to keep the promise he had made to himself and take one day off every 10 days or so. What the coach discovered however, was that on this day off, since he didn’t have any family or friends in the area, he suddenly found himself in the office “just doing a couple of things”. Since everything was new, his energy levels high, and he saw so many areas of possible improvement in the club, the coach didn’t give it a second thought.

However, when the competitive games came closing in, the coach would all of a sudden could go 14 days or more between having a day off. I think you’re starting to get an idea of where this story is heading…

To make a long story short, after three months of almost no time for recovery and his team having to play a cup-semifinals and then in the league during the same week, the energy levels of this coach was very low.

Even though his team progressed to the cup-final and played a very good first away game in the league, his energy levels and as a consequence his patience for what he thought was bad behavior within the organization was lost. This combination led the coach to the drastic decision of quitting the club on the flight back from the first away game, and it had nothing to do with the results…

This coach just felt so fed up and he described it as being ‘almost depressed’ with an increased amount of negative thoughts in all areas of his life. What made this coach end up like this?

Well, even with the best intentions in the world, working non-stop around the clock for three straight months just doesn’t work. You can probably recognize part of this story in yourself and your current, or former coaching situation.

Upon reflection, the coach in our story said that his biggest mistake was spending the most energy when it mattered the least, and as a consequence having the least amount of energy when it mattered the most.

My question to you is this; when your team needs you to make great decisions, do you have the energy needed to make them?

(Check out the Coach Recovery strategies by clicking here)

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