Athletic coaches from all competitive levels often get caught up in the pursuit of job performance that could lead to excess that includes work weeks that include 50 or more hours, health risks caused from stress and being overworked, and loss of family time (Burgess & Masterson, 2015; Weiszer, 2013). Athletic coaching does not include the traditional 9 to 5 work life nor does it feature a time clock when work begins or ends. This type of environment could lead to coaches performing work activities at all hours of the day in order to complete the perceived amount of work needed to have a better opportunity for what is deemed success. Unfortunately, this coaching scenario eliminates time for mental and physical recovery away from coaching duties that would lead to increased health and life satisfaction. Leisure activities, hobbies, family time, and pursuing interests outside of coaching are beneficial for coaches to participate in at all levels.
Pursuing pleasurable activities away from work allows coaches to have higher levels of vigor and lower levels of fatigue upon returning to the job situation (Van Hoof, Geurts, Beckers, & Kompier, 2011). Types of activities are individually specific such as spending time with family, participating in a hobby, or engaging in a leisure activity, but the important idea within this concept is taking time away from coaching. One of the most important aspects of having interests outside of coaching is being able to psychologically detach from work during non-work time hours (Sonnentag, Kuttler, & Frtz, 2010). Mentally staying connected to your work during off-work time hours creates a situation of continued stress translating into poor well-being. Taking part in rewarding activities away from work assists in creating a healthy environment for work-family harmony.
Athletic coaching positions featuring high workloads create an even more difficult situation for coaches to take time away from their profession. An increased amount of work can lead to expanded levels of stress happening during non-work hours (Sonnentag et al., 2010). Taking work home from the office or never leaving the office may lead to decreased psychological detachment that could create a situation of less rest and recuperation. If this strategy is continued over time, it may be extremely hazardous to the health of the coach.
Research has demonstrated that mental and physical recovery for coaches is enhanced through the pursuit of off-field activities such as hobbies, family time, and leisure activities. As a coach, what are your non-negotiables as far as your coaching commitments and personal time? How much time within your week are you willing to devote towards personal development and recovery? Non-negotiables are decisions that are made in your mind based upon your values and beliefs that you will not change (What are your non-negotiables?). They assist us with deciding how we will behave without sacrificing our sense of self. Will you jeopardize your health, well-being, or personal relationships to enhance coaching success or will you value your time away from the field for mental and physical recovery and increased life satisfaction?
Ask yourself three questions to establish your non-negotiables relating to coaching versus personal activities:
- What do I believe?
- What are my values?
- What actions would I say no to no matter who asked me to do them?
Establishing non-negotiables will give you a clear path towards doing something great with your life and finding harmony within personal and professional life experiences. Whatever you decide as your non-negotiable items relating to how you organize your life, the most awareness will come from answering the three questions in a truthful and sincere manner.
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Burgess, D. M., & Masterson, G. (2006). Willing to pay the high costs of becoming a coach. Coach & Athletic Director, 76(5), 62.
Sonnentag, S., Kuttler, I., & Fritz, C. (2010). Job stressors, emotional exhaustion, and need for recovery: A multi-source study on the benefits of psychological detachment. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 76, 355-365.
Van Hoof, M. L.M., Geurts, S. A. E., Beckers, D. G. J., & Kompier, M. A. J. (2011). Daily recovery from work: The role of activities, effort and pleasure. Work and Stress, 25(1), 55-74.
Weiszer, M. (2013, November 7). Long hours, stress levels leave UGA coaches struggling to balance health, family, with work. Online Athens – Athens Banner – Herald. Retrieved from http://onlineathens.com/sports/college-sports/2013- 11-06/long-hours- stress levels- leave-uga- coaches-struggling- balance
What are your non-negotiables? FI Coaching. Retrieved from http://ficoaching.net/?p=33