Fall 2014 Blog – Post # 7
Oct 10 THE PRINCIPLE OF “SABBATH”
The principle I have in mind as the focus for this week is simply – rest. Perhaps this is not a simple concept for such an all-consuming profession as coaching. Coaches can put in extraordinary hours in leading a team throughout a season. There is always another task available for a coach who is in season: video to watch, recruits to travel and observe if you are a college coach, or practice planning just to name a few. You are nearly two months into your season, so I am going to ask you to stop for about 30 seconds for an activity. Ready? Take a moment to get comfortable, then inhale slowly through your nose, hold it for a second, then exhale slowly through your mouth. Simple question – when was the last time you did that?
We push ourselves as coaches, much more perhaps, than we realize. I want to encourage you to put some boundaries around your time this weekend, and plan for a time of REST. Some of you may do a great job with this already – kudos to you! For many of you, this is not your norm. This is not ground breaking advice, but just in case you needed a little encouragement to take better care of yourself, I’m happy to provide that for you. While never my own strong suit, I can remember the value, especially at this time of the season, when an intentionally planned break really made a difference for me.
The other perspective I encourage you to consider relates to the well-being of your players. The phrase “less is more” didn’t resonate with me early in my coaching. I always felt that I needed (and we needed) more time in practice for one more drill, one more chalk talk, or one more conditioning activity. I also realized that some of my players felt exactly the same way. They insisted on staying after practice for ten more swings or ten more serves. In time, I came to realize that the mental and emotional state of our players was perhaps the biggest factor in their performance level in the second half of the season.
REST is a principle of training. It probably was not always emphasized as such, but I think it is pretty clear from research in the area of conditioning and performance, rest is critical.
So, here are a few simple ideas to consider:
- For the highly motivated player who has logged a ton of playing time already, you can plan a practice where they are off the court in 6 v 6 activities a little more often than usual. You can just make it subtle, although they are likely to end up standing beside you throughout the practice just in case you have “forgotten about them”.
- Maybe you want to give all your starters a little break due to an intense contest schedule over a week or ten days. At the same time, you feel a little disconnected from the reserves that typically get less playing time.
Let the starters know the day before that you are only giving them half of the next day’s practice. They will get a little extra rest, and you get to spend the second half of that practice doing a lot of individual work with the rest of the team.
These are just two examples, so you take it from here. Of course, you need to factor in the particulars of your program including your philosophy, leadership style, and program culture. Please notice one thing though, as I circle back to my introductory comments. Who is not getting a break in these two scenarios? You!
Take care of yourself coaches. A lot of people are counting on you.
Next week > Prepare for Adversity