As coaches we are undeniably role models. It’s in what choices we make every day, what we say, and how we act. Kids follow our cues when we respect or don’t respect officials. They show up late if we wonder in late and distracted for practice and they get rattled when we are nervous or upset.
But what if we stand in front of them talking about fueling their bodies, working in the off season, putting in more effort, but fail to model a healthy lifestyle ourselves? “You guys are slow as mud!” (pant pant, hold on Im trying to tie my own shoe and it’s so far away….”) This problem has several layers to it – no pun intended. Not only does it take away from our players’ confidence that we know what we are talking about (even when we do!) but it also kind of says we don’t buy into what we are saying ourselves or that it’s not that important beyond their game. Then there’s the issue that if we really don’t put our health on our priority list, one of these days that AED we keep on hand for our players may very well be getting stuck to us! Have you seen what it does to teams when their coach suddenly passes away due to a heart attack, stroke, or other health tragedy? It’s not something we want to put our players (and of course our families through) And it’s no good to just know that once upon a time we were lean mean fighting athletic machines, if what we have to represent ourselves today is a not so fit version of ourselves. We know we can do better for ourselves and our players!
Here’s the catch 22 with coaching, you need to really focus on your health but you have less time than ever! It’s stressful! It raises blood pressure. The hours are brutal, often on top of other jobs and family responsibilities. We deal with a lot of angry and frustrated people, which just adds to the stress. Even if we tend to be healthy most of the year, our season of coaching can often become the time of year we put ourselves last. I often joke about the lacrosse season 10. The girls lose 10 from all the conditioning and I gain it from the stress and late take out dinners. If you coach girls then you’ve learned that it’s always someones birthday and they of course have to bring treats!
I’m getting ready to turn 39 tomorrow and I still jump into the sprints on occasion with the team. I only do part of the conditioning and every year the recovery the next few days gets a little more brutal. I’ve learned that I have to stretch before randomly joining a drill, and yes I learned that the hard way as usual.
I’m throwing out a challenge to all the coaches out there. As a fitness trainer in addition to being a coach I’ve definitely felt like I haven’t been walking the walk consistency enough as of lately. There have bee more and more days that I’ve thrown caution to the wind and thought – “Oh i’ll get back on track tomorrow!” I have a long list of excuses. Well first of all, I had a pulmonary embolism that damaged my lungs, so there’s that. Then I was on blood thinners, had a gastric bleed from those. Then my autoimmune system decided to play games with my joints, namely my back, feet, and hands. We moved across the country, my daughter got really sick. I’m sure I could think of more. So yea, I could use those and probably get a lot of sympathy nods and continue to train clients and coach even though I know I’m feeling really out of shape right now and call them valid. But in all honesty, if I want to train OTHERS effectively, be an energetic mom, and a role model for my players, then these excuses are really pretty useless. Staying out of shape isn’t going to help any of my excuses go away, and actually it will make them much worse. Having crappy lungs is more reason then ever to make sure the healthy lung tissue is in peak condition. Time figuratively to take my own medicine!
So coaches, are you in? I’m passing along 7 challenges to get you going so that when your season starts you’ll be high energy and looking the part! (Swag looks better on muscles anyway, am I right?) This time when you tell those kids that you understand that training and fueling their bodies in a healthy way is TOUGH but that they can do it and that it’s worth it– well they will believe you truly get it.
Many of you have been athletes. You may be in various forms of health and conditioning at this very moment; you may have a bum knee, a wrecked shoulder, a herniated disc in your back, or even a giant bunion. But you don’t have to train to compete in the Olympics, just enough to be a healthier version of yourself for you and your players. (and for those coaches out there who are ripped, shredded, competing in crossfit competitions, running Ironman’s and putting us all to shame – congrats, that’s awesome, now take a hike and stop making the rest of us normal people look bad, sheesh!)
Take each challenge one at a time. Once you complete one successfully, keep doing it but add on the next challenge until you are doing them all.
Challenge 1: Get a 32 ounce water bottle. Fill it 3 times over the course of the day with water. Don’t have any other beverages outside of water (except maybe ONE morning coffee, Im not heartless…)
Challenge 2: Whatever you sit down to eat today, cut it in half. Eat only half of it. If you’re still hungry add a vegetable or fruit and eat until you feel content. So if you sit down to two slices of pizza, put one back, grab any raw or steamed veggie or fruit to take its place and eat until youre comfortably full.
Challenge 3: Park in the farthest spot everywhere you go and take the stairs for anything under 5 or less stories. But you’re running late? Ya better run then!! 😛
Challenge 4: Get a pedometer if you don’t have one. Get in 8,000 steps before bedtime. If you get over 10,000 – phone a friend and brag about it, they’ll understand. If not tweet me, I’ll high five ya!
Challenge 5: Cook or prepare your own meals 4 days a week (IE: not eating out) You can pre-prepare and freeze or store in the fridge to help with time. Try cooking in bulk with a friend and splitting up meals.
Challenge 6: Clock your mile time. Either walk, jog, or sprint it depending on your fitness level. Crawl if you have too. Find out what your mile time is and then make a goal to shave time off of it by the time your season starts.
Challenge 7: Tell your players you are trying to get in shape. They will love you for joining in their journey to become better athletes.
Ok Coaches, there’s no better time to be a healthy role model for the youth athletes in our lives, our own kids, our spouses, our pets…and ourselves!
Oh Im sorry were you saying something? I think I’ve heard those before from my players, sounds like an excuse to me…. Get going – I don’t care about your blister or that you forgot your socks! 😉