The less stressed you are the better you coach. So, with that in mind, here are 10 ways to reduce your softball coaching stress…
- Stop Trying to Please Everyone – I actually have an entire blog post about that here.
- Choose Your Battles – There’s no way you can possibly cover everything there is to know about this game in one season, so don’t try. Choose your battles wisely so you can win the war. You don’t want your team to be “Jack of all trades, master of none.” Help them master essential skills then go on from there.
- Prioritize – As a continuation from the tip above, prioritize the issues you know your team needs to work on and attack that list. I heard Cindy Bristow talk about coming up with a list of things you want your team to be able to do by the start of the season. Then making another list for where you want them to be by mid-season, and finally by the end of the season. You can also decide what’s most important for you to work on this week and plan your practices around that. Then do the same for the following week and the following week and so on.
- Assess – The lists we talked about in the tip above, be ready and willing to relentlessly assess and reassess those lists! Make adjustments when and where necessary.
- Maximize – Do not try to do all and be all to your team. Utilize and maximize the resources you have (especially your assistants!). You don’t have to figure everything out by yourself. Utilize the strengths you do have to the fullest, get help with everything else from others who are strong in those areas. There are lots of ways to do that! Network with others in person or online. Use google. Read books. Talk with your assistants, they will probably have some great feedback and ideas, but you may not know if you never ask.
- Track Progress – Celebrate victories along the way. Track your progress and your teams progress. Did you make less errors than last week? Did you get more hits than last week? Did you score more runs than last week? Did you have less missed signals than last week? Paying attention to some of these small indicators can be great motivation. It’s like taking before, during, and after pictures when you’re working out and trying to lose weight. There are times when you feel like nothing is happening, like no progress is being made because you see no evidence of it, but when you take a look at those snapshots and compare them to the previous set, you realize that progress IS being made and that helps motivate you (and your team) to keep on pushing!
- Stay in Control – Your players are not the only one that need a strong mental game. You do too. As much as your players need to remain composed in the face of adversity, you need to do the same. Flipping out makes things tougher on everyone!
- Make Notes – Either keep a note pad handy or if you have a smart phone that you can keep notes on, use that. When you have ideas or have things you want to remember, jot it down! Don’t try to keep it all in your head. You’ll waste a lot of brain power trying to make sure nothing is forgotten and you’ll use up a lot of energy worrying about whether or not you got it all. Write down the important things. This will help clear your mind to address issues in a efficient manner and help make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
- Remember Than You’re Human – Remember that even the best, most respected coaches make mistakes and get criticized. So you’re definitely not a failure just because it happens to you. Not making every right choice or criticism from parents or fans comes with the territory. Never base your worth as a coach on the fact that you mess up from time to time or that others second guess you.
- Mentor – Find a mentor. Whether it’s a person you know or just great sources of information you can draw on to help you grow as a coach, find something you can turn to for answers. It may be a person. It may be another softball coach. It may be a coach from another sport. It may be a website. I may be coaching books written by great coaches. It may be a discussion board. Find something you can turn to when you have questions or doubts to help lift ease of the burden.
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Stacie Mahoe shares lessons learned from decades around the diamond. Enjoy her unique insights on softball and life from years as a player, coach, parent, and fan of the game.