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Rediscovering Your Passion

There are many things that can make a coach’s day, season, or year. Whether it’s winning a championship, creating new relationships, or even just watching a student-athlete grow. But with these exciting moments come many lows as well. And these lows can sometimes make it hard to remember why you chose to become a coach in the first place. When this happens, you may want to give up, but quitting isn’t always the answer.

In a blog for Coaching Sports Today, longtime college crew coach Mike Davenport offers some steps to help coaches get through the hardest moments of their career. First, is to take some time to think of the exact reasons why you decided to become a sports coach. Maybe your athletes are making the wrong choices off of the field, or they haven’t been listening to your lessons and training tips. Going back to the basics of why coaching is important to you can help you get through these moments.

If you have remembered your “why,” but you are still struggling to find excitement in your daily duties, Davenport suggests taking a little break. Coaches rarely take a moment for themselves, and sometimes taking even a short rest from your duties can help boost your passion and even have physical benefits. This can be anything from taking a night to go to the movies with family or friends to something as simple as reading your favorite book.

“When I need a quick break, I juggle,” writes Davenport. “...I usually keep three juggling-balls in my pack and sneak away for a few minutes for a toss. I’m not very good and drop more than I keep afloat, but the juggling engages and distracts me."

The next step is to watch how you talk to yourself. There is so much information that can be found on how to correctly speak with athletes, but have you ever paid attention to the thoughts directed at your own coaching? Especially when experiencing a losing season or struggling with athletes not behaving, coaches can be very critical of themselves. And one of Davenport’s methods for dealing with this is to take a hard look
at himself.

“When my self-talk goes sour, and I want to give up, I look into a mirror and say a few of my negative thoughts out loud,” he writes. “I look myself in the eyes, and slowly say the thought. I have found that within seconds I stop myself, and replace the negative comments with positive ones. Most of the time it works, this reflection trick, for me.”

If this doesn’t work, Davenport suggests talking with someone you trust. It’s important for coaches to have a social support network of friends and family who will be there for you when you are feeling low. Whether it’s shooting off a quick text or having a conversation over your favorite meal, having someone who will truly listen to your struggles can help get some stress off of your back and brighten your attitude. When all
else fails—if all you feel is trapped—Davenport recommends writing out an exit map from your current situation.

“Fifth grade was like that for me,” he writes. “I wanted to give up. I still remember those days of despair and dreading school every morning. It was the school counselor who really helped me get over the dread. She and I sat down one day and drew a map of the rest of my fifth grade year, ending with dismissal for summer vacation. I carried that map in my little notebook, pulling it out whenever I started to feel trapped and wanted to
give up. It really helped.”

Click here to read the rest of the article.

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