Passing this along.
As sweeping cancellations have rocked the world and made a huge impact in the sports world this week...my heart goes out to all of the coaches who are reeling in reality.
No matter what kind of season your team was having…when your goals, hopes, and expectations are so out of line with the reality that unfolds, it can lead to serious disappointment, devastation, and grief.
Though we all may feel disappointment from time to time. Some disappointments will not make much of a difference to us.
Other disappointments change the course of our lives.
This is a season that may live on in the memory of your student-athletes for a lifetime as the world faces a historic period of global stress.
Biology of uncertainty
Studies show how uncertainty is even more stressful than knowing something bad is definitely going to happen.
Coaches talk to athletes about controlling the controllable’s and letting go of things beyond their control. Right now many circumstances are totally beyond our control. And that can feel stressful and overwhelming.
Our brains like complete stories which have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Incomplete stories drive our brains crazy! So our thoughts race out of control as our brains try to fill in the blanks on their own.
Take care of you first
As a coach, you invest a tremendous amount of your physical, mental, and emotional energy into the lives and results of your student-athletes.
Any “normal” season can have leave you drained and running on fumes.
Now, having to step up as a leader, personally process this new challenge, and figure out how to navigate the inevitable question, “Now what, coach?” with your team must feel overwhelming.
Practice extreme self care.
Rest, eat well, hydrate, journal, take breaks and unplug from news and social media, take walks outside, meditate, workout, do yoga, practice conscious breathing.
Commit to something specific you will do for your own self care. Find an accountability partner to connect with.
Maintain social distance and stay connected so you aren't feeling isolated.
Have a place and space to process
So many coaches across the country must be struggling and dealing with all this uncertainty. It can be easy to think you have to have all the answers and feel like you're in this alone.
You're not! We're all in this together.
We have an opportunity to stay connected, support one another, and collaborate through these challenging times.
Leading through chaos
Instead of plowing forward - feeling like you have to be the one with all the answers - give your athletes a space to share what they’re going through to help them process.
Ask more questions.
Find out what they’re thinking, feeling, and wanting.
Check in with individuals who are more quiet. They sometimes have a powerful perspective to share that’s valuable to everyone else on your team. Or they may need something they’re not speaking up to verbalize.
Support your athletes as they reframe these challenges and write their own new endings.
Maybe they want to journal or even write a letter to their sport. Perhaps they can choose a word or an object that helps them feel strong, calm, or grounded in the days and weeks ahead.
Not being able to practice, play, or compete may shift their perspective in positive ways. Maybe they'll be more energized and focused when they come back. This time away could give them more clarity on what sport and being on a team actually means to them.
It's all how they process and translate these circumstances...with the leadership, support, and guidance coaches provide along the way.
Coaching is not cancelled
It may seem like everything has been cancelled and everyone is in lockdown right now. If you need some support, want to talk through your situation, and get an outside perspective, please let me know.
I read every single email and answer every single text.
You can also click here to get on my schedule.
I plan on leading some special group coaching sessions over the next weeks. If you’d like to participate, hit reply and I’ll make sure to send you the details.
Covid-19 might be the current story. The real stories will be about the grit, determination, persistence, and resiliency that come out of these challenging times.
Take care and stay connected. We are stronger together!
See you soon,