I’ve seen it time and time again, and you have too—coaches who struggle to sleep. Particularly in-season. Late night film, crazy travel schedules and the pressure to win (and keep their job) are just a few of the reasons coaches find it tough to sleep well.
The results? Moodiness. Caffeine addiction. Increased stress. Slower thinking and reactions. Health issues. You get the picture!
So what’s a coach to do? Some of the challenges, like difficult travel schedules, can’t be avoided. And you’ve probably seen advice on creating a consistent pre-bed routine, turning off technology, etc.—many of which are founded in great research and definitely work.
But there are also strategies you can use to create more mental space and reduce your anxiety, which will help prepare your body and mind to sleep better whether you’re in season on not. These small adjustments can make a big difference in your ability to sleep, which will make you a more effective coach.
Reduce energy drainers: Identify things that sap your energy and get rid of them. For some, a messy desk or car can be a drain. If every time you walk in your office or get in your car, you’re thinking “I’ve got to clean this up” then the disarray of that space subtly hinders you from a clear mind. It takes physical and mental energy away from your most important things.
Eliminating energy drainers not only increases your effectiveness during the day, it frees up space in your head. And that can help you sleep better.
Delegate: This is a tricky one because some of you work on small coaching staffs or perhaps you’re an assistant and don’t feel like there is anyone to delegate to. Yet, even some with the resources of many staff struggle here.
One key to delegation is determining what you MUST do—the things only you can do.
Head coaches, this list might be shorter than you think! If you’ve hired well, then you have capable people around you. You do them a disservice when you don’t give them ownership over meaningful responsibilities. For you assistant coaches, perhaps you could solicit managers, volunteers or even players to take on some responsibilities. Think creatively!
Good delegation will result in more margin in your schedule and the likelihood of better rest.
Hire a life coach: Many coaches feel alone and without a safe place to process the challenges they face. Some issues you just can’t discuss with your athletic director, staff or even coaching peers. So you mull issues over and over in your mind at all hours of the night.
A personal coach offers safe, confidential space for you to talk about these struggles. Through powerful questions a coach can bring clarity to your confusion and help you define courses of action. Get those swirling thoughts out of your head and you’ll feel better, and when you feel better, you’ll sleep better.
Remember that small adjustments make a big difference in the end! Implement strategies like these to free up your mind and it will impact your sleep and overall health. Sweet dreams!