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Coaching Management 23.2

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be due to the way you view your athletes. For example, are there times when you don't care all that much about them? Do you have moments when you feel the ath- letes are solely to blame for the team losing? Perhaps you only see them as a means to advance your career. If you find yourself viewing the athletes as objects, it's likely that you are withdraw- ing from the critical athlete-coach relation- ship. That could have significant negative impact on your job performance. It is often Circle No. 116 Circle No. 115 a sign of stress, overwork, and possibly burnout. I felt this way during my fifth year of coaching. I remember it well because my depersonalization and withdrawal were so significant that I temporarily left coaching after that year. If you find yourself in this boat—not interested in answering your athletes' ques- tions and not caring enough to ask them about their lives away from the sport—one solution is to take some time away. As the say- ing goes, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder." Walking away for a short period of time can also help you rediscover what kind of coach you really want to be. Taking a yearlong leave gave me the opportunity to gain perspective on what coaching meant to me. Being a spectator dur- ing that time made me realize that coaching was part of my DNA—the career I wanted more than anything else. But I had to get the right mindset about my athletes. I had to remember every day that a coach's job is to serve the athletes, not the other way around. AM I gettIng Into the "flow" At prActIce? How often do you become fully immersed in practice? I mean totally engaged—so deeply that you need to be reminded when practice is over. I'm not talking about contests. It is easy to get absorbed in the excitement of a competi- tion. Coaches spend most of their time in practices, and they can morph into a monot- onous grind. In Flow in Sport, Susan Jackson and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi write about a phe- nomenon called "flow." They characterize it as, "a state of consciousness where one becomes totally absorbed in what one is doing, to the exclusion of all other thoughts and emotions." Flow is a harmonious expe- rience, an immersion, leaving the coach feeling that something special has hap- pened. A sign that you're in a flow state is forget- ting the time. Practice starts, and two hours go by without you once looking at your watch or thinking, "How much longer?" Flow is important because it indicates you have achieved a balance between the challenges you face and the skills you have to handle those challenges. When there is a positive challenge-skills balance, deep immersion can happen. When the balance is negative, flow will be elusive. AM I tAkIng cAre of Myself? It is not uncommon for coaches, who focus so much on the conditioning of their athletes, to neglect their own physical condi- tion. Being on the road and constantly feel- ing the pressure to succeed can derail even the most well-intentioned health goals. But you must make yourself a priority. Here are two big reasons why: your team is watching, and your health is at stake. The bonus is that taking care of yourself reduces stress, which can help you perform your job better. This means making time to exercise and eat right, as well as handle any mental health AVAILABLE IN BULK NATIONWIDE STAY CONNECTED RED INFIELD CONDITIONER BULK DELIVERY 10 15 AND 24 TONS CALL TOLL FREE: (866) 243-6387 Shop Online at www.spinets.net T: 956-2769598 • F: 956-2769691 • 2001 Amistad Dr. San Benito, Texas 78586 • Batting Cages • Protective Screens • Backstops & Barrier Nets • Field Maintenance Supplies • Pitching Machines & Accessories • Custom Size Netting Available

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